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2017 Class: Internet & Society


This course was part of the 2017 Assembly program, and it was co-taught by Professor Jonathan Zittrain, co-founder of the Berkman Klein Center, and Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab.

This class offers a rigorous introduction to the field of cyberlaw and gives participants a sense of the historical battles of the Internet, what different actors were thinking, what they were trying to accomplish, and what levers they pulled in order to select for specific outcomes.


Course themes include the complex interaction between Internet governance organizations and sovereign states, the search for balance between the ease of disseminating information online and the interest of copyright holders, privacy advocates, and others in controlling that dissemination, and the roles of intermediaries and platforms in shaping what people can and cannot do online. The course will include an array of learning and teaching methods. Students will be expected to participate in a variety of activities.

Download a PDF version of the 2017 full class syllabus (including readings) here.


Day 1:    Introduction, Right to Be Forgotten, and Jurisdiction

Day 2:    Copyright, DRM debate between Professor Ito and Professor Zittrain

Day 3:    Cryptocurrency

Day 4:    Private Infrastructures for Government Surveillance (Guest Lecturers: Bruce Schneier & John DeLong)

Day 5:    Net Neutrality and Internet Architecture (Dialogue with Andy Ellis)

Day 6:    Weaponized Social Networks

Day 7:    Free vs. Proprietary Code and Content (Dialogue with David Clark)

Day 8:    Governance and Artificial Intelligence

Day 9:    Conclusion

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