Courses

Torts

Description: This course explores the American law of torts — the circumstances and theories under which people owe others money for wrongs they commit — principally as a vehicle for understanding how the law operates and how lawyers help to argue and shape it.

Syllabus (Spring 2016)

 

Contemporary Issues in Intelligence Gathering

Description: The digital environment offers greatly expanded opportunities for intelligence gathering. This seminar will explore some of the most difficult problems arising in managing the collection and use of intelligence for national security, including compliance with the law; avoidance of, and remedies for, over collection; and protection of privacy and other fundamental values. We will discuss how an intelligence community’s activities can be meaningfully communicated to the public while respecting its sources and methods; how agencies might internally reconcile their various missions to protect the public and protect public values; and what a set of authorities and limitations for intelligence collection might look like if a clean slate were available on which to develop them.

Syllabus (Spring 2017)

 

Contemporary Issues in Foreign Intelligence Gathering

Description:The digital environment offers greatly expanded opportunities for foreign intelligence gathering. This seminar will explore some of the most difficult problems arising in managing the collection and use of intelligence for national security, including compliance with the law; avoidance of, and remedies for, over collection; and protection of privacy and other fundamental values. We will discuss how an intelligence community’s activities can be meaningfully communicated to the public while respecting its sources and methods; how agencies might internally reconcile their various missions to protect the public and protect public values; and what a set of authorities and limitations for intelligence collection might look like if a clean slate were available on which to develop them.

Syllabus (Spring 2014)

 

Internet & Society: The Technologies and Politics of Control

Description:This course offers a rigorous introduction to the field of cyberlaw. We will investigate the evolving nature of online architecture and activities, and the ways in which, law has been, and will be, leveraged to influence them. 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 entail an intense array of learning and teaching methods. Students will be expected to participate in a variety of activities. May include Berkman Center fellows and affiliates.

Syllabus (Winter 2017)

 

Ideas for a Better Internet

Description: This joint Harvard/Stanford interdisciplinary seminar will continue a year-long arc of developing and building ideas for a better internet. During the fall, students will incorporate ideas identified by a public call for proposals from the previous spring, and work through the process of building out these ideas. The course will meet on alternate Mondays in the fall term. By the end of the fall session, students will have proposed a tangible means of implementing at least one idea and will have made significant progress on conceptualizing and building at least one solution. Students will interact with entrepreneurs, organizations, and policy makers with a significant stake in shaping the future of digital technology and the Internet to solicit advice, guidance, and feedback. During the winter term students will finalize the projects that they have developed throughout the fall semester, engage in visits to companies and organizations, and prepare a working demo or proposal to be presented at a culminating event with leaders of Silicon Valley and beyond. By the end of the course, students will have launched their solution-based projects to the world in conjunction with those proposing the ideas.The fall portion of the course will meet concurrently at both Harvard and Stanford. The two courses will keep in contact throughout the semester and will have a common mailing list, among other things.


Reading Groups

The 2016 Presidential Election and the Rule of Law

Description: The United States is one of the oldest presidential democracies in the world. The rhetoric around the upcoming Presidential election reflects fear that our government may not hew to the rule of law. This reading group will discuss what the rule of law means both in theory and in practice, particularly with respect to the executive branch. We’ll discuss the 2016 Presidential election and explore the source and limits of the executive’s power, taking into consideration how current events may influence the power deemed necessary to maintain order and security.

Syllabus (Fall 2016)

 

Controlling Cyberspace: Shaping Online Content

Description: Law and the Internet are commonly thought to not go well together. Many recognize how difficult it can be to regulate anonymous and faraway people clacking at terminals. But trends over time may be easing the application of law to the digital world: a handful of companies, reachable by subpoena, channel a great deal of communication, and the advertising economy inspires the creation of technologies and practices that make anonymity more rare. This reading group will look at some contemporary digital issues that cause people to ask for the law’s help in preventing or accounting for an online harm — and we’ll discuss when and how it might work. We’ll particularly focus on new efforts to shape online content, after a period of both norms and law standing back from regulation, especially through intermediaries like search engines and social media.

Syllabus (Fall 2015)