Daniel Weitzner
MIT Laboratory for Computer Science
200 Technology Square
Room NE43-358
Cambridge, MA 02139
MIT : 617-253-8036
DC: 202-364-4750

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.