Susan Crawford

John A. Reilly Clinical Professor of Law

Biography

Susan Crawford is the John A. Reilly Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and a co-director of the Berkman Center. She is the author of Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age, co-author of The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance, and a contributor to Medium.com’s Backchannel. She served as Special Assistant to the President for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (2009) and co-led the FCC transition team between the Bush and Obama administrations. She also served as a member of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Advisory Council on Technology and Innovation and is now a member of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Broadband Task Force. Ms. Crawford was formerly a (Visiting) Stanton Professor of the First Amendment at Harvard’s Kennedy School, a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School, and a Professor at the University of Michigan Law School (2008-2010). As an academic, she teaches courses about city uses of technology, Internet law, and communications law. She was a member of the board of directors of ICANN from 2005-2008 and is the founder of OneWebDay, a global Earth Day for the internet that takes place each Sept. 22. One of Politico’s 50 Thinkers, Doers and Visionaries Transforming Politics in 2015; one of Fast Company’s Most Influential Women in Technology (2009); IP3 Awardee (2010); one of Prospect Magazine’s Top Ten Brains of the Digital Future (2011); and one of TIME Magazine’s Tech 40: The Most Influential Minds in Tech (2013). Ms. Crawford received her B.A. and J.D. from Yale University. She served as a clerk for Judge Raymond J. Dearie of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and was a partner at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now WilmerHale) (Washington, D.C.) until the end of 2002, when she left that firm to enter the legal academy. 

Susan Crawford & Stephen Goldsmith, The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance (Wiley 2014).
Categories:
Government & Politics
,
Technology & Law
Sub-Categories:
State & Local Government
,
Networked Society
Type: Book
Abstract
The Responsive City is a guide to civic engagement and governance in the digital age that will help leaders link important breakthroughs in technology and data analytics with age-old lessons of small-group community input to create more agile, competitive, and economically resilient cities. Featuring vivid case studies highlighting the work of pioneers in New York, Boston, Chicago and more, the book provides a compelling model for the future of governance. The book will help mayors, chief technology officers, city administrators, agency directors, civic groups and nonprofit leaders break out of current paradigms to collectively address civic problems. The Responsive City is the culmination of research originating from the Data-Smart City Solutions initiative, an ongoing project at Harvard Kennedy School working to catalyze adoption of data projects on the city level. The book is co-authored by Professor Stephen Goldsmith, director of Data-Smart City Solutions at Harvard Kennedy School, and Professor Susan Crawford, co-director of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg penned the book’s foreword.
Susan P. Crawford, First Amendment Common Sense, 127 Harv. L. Rev. 2343 (2014).
Categories:
Constitutional Law
,
Technology & Law
Sub-Categories:
First Amendment
,
Communications Law
,
Networked Society
Type: Article
Susan P. Crawford, Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age (Yale Univ. Press 2013).
Categories:
Technology & Law
Sub-Categories:
Networked Society
,
Communications Law
Type: Book
Abstract
Ten years ago, the United States stood at the forefront of the Internet revolution. With some of the fastest speeds and lowest prices in the world for high-speed Internet access, the nation was poised to be the global leader in the new knowledge-based economy. Today that global competitive advantage has all but vanished because of a series of government decisions and resulting monopolies that have allowed dozens of countries, including Japan and South Korea, to pass us in both speed and price of broadband. This steady slide backward not only deprives consumers of vital services needed in a competitive employment and business market—it also threatens the economic future of the nation. This important book by leading telecommunications policy expert Susan Crawford explores why Americans are now paying much more but getting much less when it comes to high-speed Internet access. Using the 2011 merger between Comcast and NBC Universal as a lens, Crawford examines how we have created the biggest monopoly since the breakup of Standard Oil a century ago. In the clearest terms, this book explores how telecommunications monopolies have affected the daily lives of consumers and America's global economic standing.
Susan P. Crawford & Laura Adler, Culture Change and Digital Technology: The NYPD Under Commissioner William Bratton, 2014-2016 (Berkman Klein Ctr. Res. Pub. No. 2016-13, Sept. 12, 2016).
Categories:
Technology & Law
,
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
State & Local Government
,
Networked Society
,
Science & Technology
Type: Other
Abstract
New Yorkers are now safer in the city than they have been in years. Yet tensions between police officers and the communities in which they work have continued to mount in New York, as in other cities across the country. Just this past summer, racial violence erupted in Milwaukee and Baton Rouge in response to the fatal shooting of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. Milwaukee joined other cities like Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo., in which police killings have been seen as brutal evidence of the disrespect that many African Americans say the police show them. The challenge facing the NYPD today is to maintain safe streets while ushering in a new era of mutual respect between officers and local communities. At this early stage of digital technology adoption, the NYPD’s attempt under Commr. William Bratton (2014-2016) to change the culture of policing by enriching communications between police and neighborhoods holds lessons for public agencies across the U.S. during a period of intense volatility. This white paper explores NYPD’s adoption of Twitter and an ideation platform called IdeaScale that was aimed at allowing community members to nominate “quality of life” issues for resolution by the police. It examines the department's pivot to Facebook as an interactive communications platform following its experience with IdeaScale. It connects these initiatives to the NYPD’s overall push for Neighborhood Coordination Officers throughout the city. Finally, it pulls together information about NYPD’s revisions to its training and recruitment programs and the department’s ongoing efforts to upgrade its basic digital assets, from precinct Internet access to smartphones. These programs, all made possible by Commr. Bratton’s strong leadership, were designed to create a virtuous cycle: The NYPD’s social media, neighborhood policing, and new recruiting and training programs aimed to increase mutual respect by helping officers understand and enhance their responsibility to serve and protect New York City communities — and help community members see police officers as human beings. Stronger community relations may, in turn, support crime prevention. Shifting from a confrontational to a collaborative approach may encourage community members to come forward when they learn about crime. And all of these steps are designed to lead policing away from an exclusive focus on crime reduction and towards a balanced strategy of crime prevention and community outreach — an effort, in Commr. Bratton’s words, to move from a “warrior” to a “guardian” policing mindset.
David Talbot, Waide Warner & Susan Crawford, WiredWest: a Cooperative of Municipalities to Build a Fiber Optic Network (Berkman Ctr. for Internet & Soc’y at Harv. U., Case Study, Apr. 20, 2016).
Categories:
Technology & Law
Sub-Categories:
Communications Law
,
Networked Society
Type: Other
Susan P. Crawford, Mary-Catherine Lader & Maria Smith, On the Road to ‘Pre-K For All’: The Launch of UPK in New York City (Berkman Center Research Publication No. 2015-9, May 24, 2015).
Categories:
Government & Politics
,
Family Law
Sub-Categories:
Education Law
,
State & Local Government
Type: Other
Abstract
Over the spring and summer of 2014, New York City put in place a full-day universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) program. The blistering pace, enormous scale, and administrative complexity of this rollout were all striking: a program that did not exist when funding for it was finalized in March 2014 had put 53,250 four-year-olds in more than 1700 new full-day programs by the first day of school in September. This report provides a detailed account of the launch. It includes an extensive discussion of the city’s use of data science techniques; the city was able to combine and analyze databases in such a way that outreach teams could contact households that were likely to include four-year-olds and help interest parents sign up, all with a sharp eye for the privacy of New Yorkers. The launch as a whole combined the energy of a micro-targeted political campaign with service-oriented, street-level energy, and the lessons New York City learned in the course of this work should be useful to other cities and states.
Susan P. Crawford, John S. Connolly, Melissa Nally & Travis West, Community Fiber in Washington, D.C., Seattle, WA, and San Francisco, CA: Developments and Lessons Learned (Berkman Ctr. Res. Pub. No. 2014-9, May 27, 2014).
Categories:
Technology & Law
Sub-Categories:
Communications Law
,
Networked Society
Type: Article
Abstract
This report provides detailed accounts of planning carried out in connection with community fiber networks in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, CA, and Seattle, WA. It includes information about existing fiber assets that the cities identified, funding mechanisms that were considered, and roadblocks that were encountered. Our hope is that this report will be helpful to other cities that are considering launching fiber optic networks. Key findings: The cities profiled in this report have each approached the question of community fiber differently. Washington, D.C. made concessions and arrangements that allowed it to build a robust public-safety-quality fiber network, but limitations on the use of that network have made it unavailable to residents and businesses. Additionally, prices charged non-profits for use of the network are currently too high to be competitive with incumbent products. San Francisco has been highly innovative in expanding fiber to public housing, aggressively leasing dark fiber to community anchor institutions such as libraries and schools, and ensuring free public Wi-Fi, but has not yet cracked the nut of alternative community residential or business fiber access. Seattle has had an extensive city fiber loop in place since 1986, but regulations limiting use of poles and approvals for cabinets have slowed the rollout of competitive last-mile service. Seattle's recent negative experience with Gigabit Squared (which was unable to execute on its last-mile promises and subsequently vanished from the scene) casts a shadow. Seattle's current mayor appears to be determined to ameliorate both the regulatory burdens and the information asymmetries that have dogged the city.
Susan P. Crawford, The Communications Crisis in America, 5 Harv. L. & Pol'y Rev. 245 (2011).
Categories:
Technology & Law
Sub-Categories:
Networked Society
,
Communications Law
Type: Article
Susan P. Crawford, Transporting Communications, 89 B.U. L. Rev. 871 (2009).
Categories:
Technology & Law
Sub-Categories:
Communications Law
Type: Article
Abstract
The Comcast Situation, the latest development in a story of increasing private control over access to basic communications functions, has brought national attention to the way in which this country conducts its communications policy. In this Article, Professor Crawford suggests that Comcast's blocking activities, and the FCC's ad hoc treatment of Comcast, reveal the fundamental incoherence of current communications law. After tracing the history of the non-discrimination principle in U.S. treatment of telegraphy and telephony, Professor Crawford suggests that regulatory gymnastics and credulous courts have caused us to forget that private discriminatory control over basic communications networks has never been acceptable. At the same time, public uproar over growing private domination of this basic service is rising to the level that caused the U.S. to create its communications legal structure in the first place. Professor Crawford calls for reforms that will restore the role of basic non-discriminatory transport that the framers of U.S. communications law had in mind.
Susan P. Crawford, The Looming Cable Monopoly, 29 Yale L. & Pol'y Rev. Inter Alia (2010).
Categories:
Technology & Law
Sub-Categories:
Communications Law
,
Networked Society
Type: Article
Abstract
Labels are important in policy debates. The “broadcast flag” effort was very nearly successful in forcing all devices capable of receiving television broadcasts (including PCs) to be designed in order to protect “flagged” content. Who could be against a flag? By contrast, “net neutrality” advocates have had difficulty convincing anyone to care about something that sounds so, well, neutral. One effective label that has often been used during the first two years of the Obama administration is the “looming spectrum crisis.” FCC Chairman Genachowski said in October 2009: “I believe that that the biggest threat to the future of mobile in America is the looming spectrum crisis.” As the crisis loomed, the administration—worried about the lack of spectrum allocated for high-speed Internet access—declared it would re-allocate 500 MHz of spectrum. There is a hunt on for spectrum: Every closet in every agency is being searched. Looming. Crisis. It may be time for yet another label to enter the lists: “the looming cable monopoly.” It is gaining strength, and it is not terribly interested in the future of the Internet. This is the central crisis of our communications era.

Education History

Current Courses

Course Catalog View