MIT Laboratory for Computer Science
200 Technology Square
Cambridge, MA 02139
MIT : 617-253-8036
Title of Presentation: Socializing the Web
For all of the Web's extraordinary success at meeting
communication and information exchange goals, it has failed in equal measure
at satisfying other critical policy requirements such as privacy protection,
reasonable intellectual property rights structures, and basic security
needs. As these problems fall into the category of law & public policy, the
general impulse is to look to the law to solve them. Law is certainly a
necessary part of making the web a humane environment, but it is not alone
sufficient. For as much as there are real deficiencies in the laws that
govern online interactions, the absence of technical capacity to share basic
context information between users and services providers, and amongst users,
is a fundamental impediment to the web being an environment in which people
will feel comfortable and confident to conduct a full range of human
activities. Indeed, the focus on law as a solution to the policy-related
problems on the web risks obscuring the deep technical and functional gaps
that prevent us from having normal social interactions online.
Daniel Weitzner is Director of the World Wide Web Consortium's Technology and Society activities. As
such, he is responsible for development of technology standards that enable
the web to address social, legal, and public policy concerns such as privacy,
free speech, protection of minors, authentication, intellectual property and
identification. He is also the W3C's chief liaison to public policy
communities around the world and a member of the ICANN Protocol Supporting
Organization Protocol Council.
As one of the leading figures in the Internet public policy community, he
was the first to advocate user control technologies such as content filtering
and rating to protect children and avoid government censorship of the
Intenet. These arguments played a critical role in the 1997 US Supreme Court
case, Reno v. ACLU, awarding
the highest free speech protections to the Internet. He successfully
advocated for adoption of amendments to the Electronic Communications Privacy
Act creating new privacy protections for online transactional information
such as Web site access logs.
Weitzner holds a research appointment at MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science and
teaches Internet public policy at MIT.
Before joining the W3C, Mr. Weitzner was co-founder and Deputy Director of
the Center for Democracy and Technology, a
leading Internet civil liberties organization in Washington, DC. He was also
Deputy Policy Director of the Electronic
Frontier Foundation. Mr. Weitzner has a degree in law from Buffalo Law
School, and a B.A. in Philosophy from Swarthmore College.
His publications on communications policy have appeared in the Yale Law
Review, Global Networks, MIT Press, Computerworld, Wired Magazine, Social
Research, Electronic Networking: Research, Applications & Policy, and The
Whole Earth Review. He is also a commentator for NPR's Marketplace Radio.