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Susan Crawford

  • iPhone 11 Pro showing Social media applications on its screen

    Should the internet be treated like a public utility?

    April 20, 2021

    At the annual Klinsky Lecture, Visiting Professor John G. Palfrey ’01, president of the MacArthur Foundation, says we need a regulatory regime for technology.

  • A line of people waiting to get their vaccine.

    Calling the shots

    March 17, 2021

    Disheartened by tales from family and friends frustrated by his home state of Pennsylvania's vaccine distribution system, Seth Rubinstein ’22, a second year student at Harvard Law School, knew he wanted to get involved.

  • Links America’s Digital Divide, One Internet Connection At A Time

    January 4, 2021

    There is much to be down about in 2020. Yet, America’s heart broke when the story of two elementary school girls spending hours to complete their homework outside of a Taco Bell made national news. Why were those girls in, of all places, a fast-food restaurant to study?  The children did not have internet access at home. Taco Bell was the only place nearby that had a free, stable Wi-Fi connection. Who knew the difference between accessing education during a global pandemic would be found in a fast-food parking lot? America must build better for our nation’s children. Our country can build better for its young...The lack of competition to contest these giant cable corporations’ monopolies destroys any incentive to improve their services, especially in rural areas...Susan P. Crawford, the John A. Reilly Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, details the actions taken by cable incumbents during Kennard’s tenure as the FCC General Counsel (1993-1997) and Chairman (1997-2001). She states, “The major cable providers in this country do not compete with one another. The operators clustered all cable into regional monopolies during the summer of 1997—Leo Hindery, then-President of Tele-Communications, Inc., and the architect of the effort, calls that summer the “Summer of Love”—pursuing swaps and partnerships that put every market in the United States except four in the hands of a single operator.”

  • Has COVID-19 confirmed it’s time to make high-speed internet a public utility?

    December 8, 2020

    Early worries about whether U.S. internet infrastructure could accommodate an unprecedented surge in usage as COVID-19 restrictions pushed tens of millions of Americans to working and learning from home have, for the most part, proven unfounded. However, that new pandemic-induced dependence on robust internet connectivity has shone a light on the stark inequities of broadband access and helped spur a new focus on addressing a long-standing question — why isn’t internet service a public utility with the same support, disbursement and regulation afforded to other basic necessities like water, electricity and telephone service? ... Harvard University researcher Susan Crawford has been investigating internet access issues for years and taken a close look at how U.S. broadband service has evolved as well as alternative approaches by countries in Europe and Asia that have embraced the development of high-speed internet access as a basic — and critical — public utility. Crawford says the models that work best leverage public/private partnerships to get internet infrastructure like fiber optic cable running to every household and business, then opening access to those lines via lease with private sector service providers. The systems, she said, bear a lot of resemblance to how domestic electricity and telephone systems were built out by private entities but backed by public financing and oversight.

  • Why Is America’s Internet So Slow? with Susan Crawford

    December 4, 2020

    Harvard law professor Susan Crawford joins Adam this week to discuss why America – the country that invented the internet – struggles to provide access to affordable, high-speed internet. She explains why just a few telecom companies monopolize the industry, fiber vs. wireless, the real deal with 5G, and why the internet should become a public utility.

  • In Chicago, 90% of voters agreed the internet should be a public utility

    November 5, 2020

    Chicago voters faced a simple question on their 2020 ballots: “Should the City of Chicago act to ensure that all the City’s community areas have access to broadband internet?” By a nine-to-one margin, they answered “yes.” The result is significant for what it says about public attitudes toward the internet. In the context of a broader debate about whether we should treat the internet like a public utility, Chicago voters signaled that the most basic formulation of this idea—that the government should make sure citizens have internet access—is overwhelmingly popular...The Chicago ballot measure, by itself, won’t make citywide broadband a reality. The referendum was non-binding, meaning city officials are free to ignore it, and voters only supported internet access in the abstract, without having to actually think through the cost of making universal broadband access a reality. But it does give mayor Lori Lightfoot political cover for more projects like the $50 million public private partnership the city unveiled in July to bring broadband into the homes of 100,000 students...Harvard law professor Susan Crawford argues that the internet must follow the path other basic services, like electricity, took from being a demand-driven luxury to a publicly regulated utility. Governments in South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore made that shift early, and their residents have widespread access to low-cost fiber optic internet. With continued investments in initiatives like Chicago’s broadband project and federal grants for rural internet co-ops, the US could follow suit.

  • The Tech Antitrust Problem No One Is Talking About

    October 29, 2020

    After years of building political pressure for antitrust scrutiny of major tech companies, this month Congress and the US government delivered. The House Antitrust Subcommittee released a report accusing Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook of monopolistic behavior. The Department of Justice filed a complaint against Google alleging the company prevents consumers from sampling other search engines. The new fervor for tech antitrust has so far overlooked an equally obvious target: US broadband providers...Critics of the four companies that dominate US broadband—Verizon, Comcast, Charter Communications, and AT&T—argue that antitrust intervention has been needed for years to lower prices and widen internet access. A Microsoft study estimated last year that as many as 162.8 million Americans lack meaningful broadband, and New America’s Open Technology Institute recently found that US consumers pay, on average, more than those in Europe, Asia, or elsewhere in North America...The Institute for Local Self Reliance, which promotes community broadband projects, recently estimated from Federal Communications Commission data that some 80 million Americans can only get high-speed broadband service from one provider. “That is quite intentional on the part of cable operators,” says Susan Crawford, a professor at Harvard Law School. “These companies are extracting rent from Americans based on their monopoly positions.” ... Crawford and other industry critics say cable companies have used that freedom to erode choice through mergers, and have deployed a deep bench of lobbyists to steer lawmakers to lighten oversight and ban cities from building their own networks. Cities that have done so, like Wilson, North Carolina, generally have higher speeds at lower prices and less restrictive terms, Crawford says.

  • Your internet is terrible during COVID-19 pandemic. But you already knew that, right?

    September 22, 2020

    It was 8:03 a.m., and the screen of Carlos Cano’s laptop was black. This meant he was three minutes late for his eighth-grade science class. In the next room, beneath a painting of Jesus, Cano’s mother kneeled on the hardwood floor. She was not praying to God. Instead, she faced a white internet router as big as a kitchen blender. She unplugged the power cord, then plugged it in. “Is it working, Carlos?” asked Adriana Medina, Cano’s mother. “Nope,” Cano said. “Oh, come on!” Medina said. “This is supposed to be Verizon’s biggest, fastest router. And every day, it doesn’t work! Why am I paying for this?” As the COVID-19 pandemic forces millions of American families to try online learning for the first time, many are discovering their internet service is not up to the task. Nor is it cheap. Medina has Verizon’s “Fios Gigabit Connection,” supposedly enough broadband to support 100 computers. Along with two cellphones, router rental and other fees, Medina pays $400 every month to connect her family to the world. Yet she can’t even connect to teachers at her son’s middle school, a half-mile away. “I don’t blame the school. I blame the internet service companies,” Medina said. “These people are making billions of dollars during this pandemic, but my kids can’t even go to school.” America, the nation that invented the internet, has terrible internet. Experts who study internet performance find that service in the United States is often too slow for the modern world of constant connection and two-way video chats. “Our telecommunications network, when it first launched, was the envy of the world,” said Susan Crawford, a professor at Harvard Law School who studies internet access worldwide. “Now it’s more like a Third-World nation.” For millions of families, internet service isn’t available at all.

  • Give everybody the internet

    September 10, 2020

    Since the pandemic set in, Grace Riario and Melissa Morrone have witnessed a similar phenomenon at the libraries they work at in New York: people gathering around to try to catch the wifi outside their doors because indoor service is largely shut down...Riario oversees nine libraries in the Catskills region, where some areas don’t have access to broadband internet at all. Morrone is a supervising librarian in Brooklyn, where even if people do theoretically have access, many can’t afford it. They’re both seeing the real-life manifestations of the so-called “digital divide.” The divide is both rural and urban and tied to both access and inclusion. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 21 million Americans don’t have access to quality broadband internet, though some estimates suggest that number is much higher, even double. Millions of people simply can’t access broadband because the infrastructure isn’t in place. Then there’s the question of cost — just because a wire runs by someone’s house doesn’t mean they can use it...Many Republicans and Democrats have taken a lax attitude toward the telecom industry, allowing companies to get big and powerful — the Telecommunications Act of 1996 allowed for an enormous amount of consolidation in the industry. On top of that, at the local level, many municipalities have signed franchise agreements with ISPs to wire up their areas, further locking in monopolies with little negotiating power. “If you leave these guys to their own devices, they will divide up markets, consolidate, and charge as much as they possibly can,” said Susan Crawford, a law professor at Harvard and the author of multiple books about the telecom industry. Crawford has long advocated for nationwide high-speed fiber internet, which would allow for basically limitless amounts of data to travel...The good news, Crawford said, is that communities taking the issue of internet access into their own hands may help shame the federal government into a better policy eventually. The bad news is it’s likely to be a “heartbreakingly slow process.”

  • ‘People need broadband’: Internet projects are taking place or in pipeline, but some concerned about their closed structure

    July 31, 2020

    There are two projects underway in western Nevada County to bring stronger internet to select homes and businesses. The first is a $27 million Bright Fiber project, connecting 2,000 households in six zones along Highway 174 — from Idaho Maryland to Chicago Park — to high-speed internet. The second is run by Nevada County Fiber Inc., using the county’s Last Mile Broadband program to bring underground fiber optic to 25 homes and businesses in the Red Dog and Banner Quaker Hill Road areas. But more projects are potentially in the works...Harvard law professor Susan Crawford believes the reason rural areas do not yet have strong, reliable internet is due to a lack of regulation over privately controlled telecommunication companies. “The completely deregulated private companies on which we depend for wired communications have systemically divided markets, avoided competition and established monopolies in their geographic footprints,” she writes in her 2018 book “Fiber.” “The results are terrible: very expensive yet second-rate data services, mostly from local cable monopolists, in richer neighborhoods; the vast majority of Americans unable to buy a fiber optic subscription at any price; and many Americans, particularly in rural and poorer areas, completely left behind.” The spaces in the U.S., and around the world, that have provided affordable and universal access to strong internet are where the service is treated like a utility, and run by a democratically operated and owned entity via either a cooperative or government agency, she argues. Kristin York, vice president of business innovation for the Sierra Business Council, said her organization shares many of Crawford’s concerns.

  • Want affordable, abundant internet access? Competition’s the key.

    June 25, 2020

    All this week, we’ve been looking at internet access, cost, infrastructure, and today, competition. Actually, the almost complete lack of competition.  According to a 2017 study from the nonprofit Institute for Local Self-Reliance, more than 129 million people in the U.S. only have one option for broadband. Is that a government problem or a free market problem? I spoke with Susan Crawford, a law professor at Harvard and the author of the book “Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution — and Why America Might Miss It.” The following is an edited transcript of our conversation.

  • A third of Dallas families are without home internet, making online learning all the more difficult

    May 11, 2020

    Rocio Lopez paused for a second before heading into Dallas ISD’s Young Women’s STEAM Academy in Balch Springs. A handful of parents had lined up on April 24, crammed in a tight vestibule outside the school’s main office, waiting to pick up a mobile hotspot — a device that can connect computers and tablets to the internet through a cellular network...Schools in Dallas and the rest of the country are closed for the year. Learning, such as it is, now happens online. But logging online isn’t a given for many families in Dallas, where approximately 1 of every 3 people lack fixed access to the internet, Lopez included...These differences between digital haves and have-nots worry experts and educators, who see the COVID-19 crisis as a potential accelerant to existing learning and opportunity gaps. In truth, said Susan Crawford, a Harvard University law professor, author and WIRED columnist who focuses on tech and telecom policy, the inequities in broadband access were already causing problems. “Three-quarters of American teachers assume that their students have access to the internet, and hand out homework accordingly,” said Crawford, who served as former President Barack Obama’s special assistant for science, technology and innovation policy during his first year in office. “Families were already scrambling to cope with this gap in internet access, and the pandemic has shone a bright light on the terrible state of internet access in America. We have all these poor kids in America, all these kids who deserve an opportunity, not being able to exist above a subsistence level. And from the beginning of the Republic, access to education has been a central tenet to the American experiment. And here we are denying that access to potentially half of American schoolchildren.”

  • Internet access proves necessary to ‘participate in life’ during pandemic

    April 29, 2020

    Reliable, reasonably priced, high-speed internet access has been an issue in the United States for quite some time, but the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ are even more evident during the pandemic. Susan Crawford, a professor at Harvard Law School and author of Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age joined KIRO Nights to discuss the digital divide. “Like many other fragile structures in American life, like our public health infrastructure, and our ability to vote securely, internet access is turning up to be a giant, difficult issue for America,” Crawford said. “It’s been in place as a huge issue for years and years, but the pandemic reveals that those who have it and have it inexpensively are able to educate their children at home…are able to visit doctors at a reasonable price without having to go directly to the hospital in person, are able to participate in life.” The coronavirus pandemic has proved the centrality of internet access to our daily lives, and Crawford said has shown we are failing as a country to make sure everyone has access. To understand the internet access situation today, Crawford went back to 2004.

  • ‘We Can Do Better’: One Plan to Erase America’s Digital Divide

    April 15, 2020

    With many millions of Americans working or attending virtual school from home during the coronavirus pandemic, the longstanding gap between those who have reliable, affordable internet and those who don’t has never been so clear. Susan Crawford, a Harvard Law School professor, has said for years that America’s internet system is broken. She advocates government intervention to help finance and oversee online pipelines, as happened previously for essential services like telephone lines and electricity. Susan’s critics say she’s proposing an unviable government overreach. But it’s clear the status quo isn’t working, so I talked to Susan about her proposed solutions. How big is the problem, exactly? No one really knows, Susan says. Microsoft estimates that 157 million Americans — about half the population — aren’t using relatively fast internet connections. The government, using different counting methods, says more than 21 million Americans, mostly in rural areas, don’t have access to fast internet. Either way, a lot of people are being left behind. In rural and suburban areas, people may have the choice of only a modern version of dial-up internet. In cities where fast internet is widespread, many lower-income people can’t afford it. Americans pay more for worse service than our counterparts in many affluent countries.

  • Maybe COVID-19 will remind us why government is not the enemy

    March 16, 2020

    An op-ed by Susan CrawfordAfter the stock market collapsed in late 1929, many people in the United States lost their jobs. By 1932, one in four Americans was suffering from lack of food. President Hoover, enamored of the efficiency of the private market and suspicious of all foreign countries, raised tariffs and waited, confident that the market would recover and all would be well again. Government intervention, he warned, would plunge the country “into socialism and collectivism.” The world seemed dark. With the COVID-19 crisis growing worse by the hour, the federal government’s colossal mishandling of it from the start — with faulty and too few tests and President Trump’s false claims that the virus was contained — may finally wake up our complacent country. We desperately need competence and courage in our government. In 1932, Franklin Roosevelt trumpeted this message before cheering crowds, and went on to swiftly create a set of government structures based on the idea that government planning and support are necessary to keep us safe, provide opportunities to all, and ensure that no one is left out. It’s too bad that it takes a crisis to remind us what government is good for, but that’s where we are today.

  • Facial Recognition Laws Are (Literally) All Over the Map

    December 16, 2019

    An article by Susan Crawford:  The current state of rules for use of facial recognition technology is literally all over the map. Next month, the city council in Portland, Oregon will hold a public meeting about blocking use of the technology by private companies, as well as by the government. San Francisco, Oakland, Calfornia, and Somerville, Massachusetts, already have banned the use of facial recognition technology by city agencies; Seattle’s police stopped using it last year; and Detroit has said facial recognition can be used only in connection with investigation of violent crimes and home invasions (and not in real time). State governments have their own rules too. In October, California joined New Hampshire and Oregon in prohibiting law enforcement from using facial recognition and other biometric tracking technology in body cameras. Illinois passed a law that permits individuals to sue over the collection and use of a range of biometric data, including fingerprints and retinal scans as well as facial recognition technology. Washington and Texas have laws similar to the one in Illinois, but don't allow for private suits. In other words, we’re headed for a major clash.

  • Do You Want Your Apps to Know About Your Last Doctor’s Visit?

    October 7, 2019

    An article by Susan Crawford: It sounds amazing. You sign up for an app that tracks your robust heart rate, your 10,000 daily steps, and other minute-by-minute data, and then, with a few short clicks, you can also download the years of medical records that show your struggles with cholesterol and the procedures you’ve had with a variety of specialists. It’s all in one convenient spot. You’ll have that option soon, by way of a little-noticed federal regulation that is winding its way toward final approval later this year. The rule would effectively wrest control over your health records from health-service providers. The idea is that, with a single click, you would be able to transfer those records to a third-party app—say, Apple Health—that could aggregate everything from every doctor you’ve ever seen.

  • Classroom of students

    JET-Powered Learning

    August 21, 2019

    1L January Experiential Term courses focus on skills-building, collaboration and self-reflection

  • Are Americans Getting Enough Fiber [Optics]?

    July 30, 2019

    Imagine an internet connection so fast and clear that all the musicians in an orchestra can play their instruments from their own homes in perfect time with colleagues scattered across the country. Imagine students in a tiny rural school taking high-level science classes taught by expert teachers 2,000 miles away, with such visual clarity that they can participate in real-time scientific experiments. That level of internet connectivity is standard in South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sweden and China. But internet service in most parts of the U.S. continues to be slow, unreliable and expensive. Because of a series of telecom policy decisions, the U.S. is falling further and further behind other nations, with a host of serious implications that affect not only the economy, education, health, and well-being but also the fabric of democracy, says Susan Crawford, clinical professor at Harvard Law School. On the national level, almost no one is paying attention, says Crawford. And she is out to change that.

  • illustration of houses and network

    Are Americans Getting Enough Fiber?

    July 23, 2019

    The U.S. is falling behind in fiber optic technology, but cities and localities are leading the way.

  • Portland is Again Blazing Trails for Open Internet Access

    May 6, 2019

    An op-ed by Susan Crawford: "Net neutrality" still gets people mad. Millions have the vague sense that the high prices, frustration over sheer unavailability, awful customer service, and feeling of helplessness associated with internet access in America would be fixed if only net neutrality were the law of the land. As I've written here in the past, that's not exactly true: Without classifying high-speed internet access as a utility and taking meaningful policy steps to ensure publicly overseen, open, reasonably priced, last-mile fiber is in place everywhere, we'll be stuck with the service we’ve got. A rule guaranteeing net neutrality–which would cover only how network providers treat content going over their lines–won’t solve the larger, structural issues of noncompetitive, high-priced access.

  • Big Telecom companies are suppressing fast internet

    April 8, 2019

    The internet is an ethereal concept. The language we use to describe it contributes to that etherealness: we speak of servers being in "the cloud," as though they were weightless in heaven, and most if not all of our internet access happens wirelessly. ... Susan Crawford, the author of “Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution—And Why America Might Miss It,” has spent years studying the business of these underground fiber optic cables that make fast internet possible. As it turns out, the internet infrastructure situation in the United States is almost hopelessly compromised by the oligopolistic telecom industry, which, due to lack of competition and deregulation, is hesitant to invest in their aging infrastructure. “That would never happen," Crawford told me. "We saw that with electricity. We’ve seen it with internet access in America already.” This is going to pose a huge problem for the future, Crawford warns, noting that politicians as well as the telecom industry are largely inept when it comes to prepping us for a well-connected future. I spoke with Crawford via phone about her new book and the myriad problems with internet infrastructure in the US. This interview has been edited for clarity.

  • National links: Empty trains and the new Eye of Sauron

    April 5, 2019

    This small town in Denmark is getting a skyscraper, and it's not the only rural town with a tower. Maybe it's not such a good idea to get rid of transit drivers after all. Street grids are great, but sometimes you need an architechtural escape....This week on the podcast, Harvard Law Professor Susan Crawford talks about her new book Fiber about fiberoptic cables.

  • Why 5G Makes Me Reconsider the Health Effects of Cell Phones

    April 4, 2019

    An op-ed by Susan Crawford: Over the past couple of weeks, I've been reading The Uninhabitable Earth. The author, David Wallace-Wells, had me from his first sentence ("It is worse, much worse, than you think"). Wallace-Wells has done us all the great favor of clearly laying out incontestable evidence for what global warming will mean to the way we live. The book's chapters focus on humanity's ability to work and survive in increasingly hot environments, climate-change-driven effects on agriculture, the striking pace of sea-level rise, increasingly "normal" natural disasters, choking pollution, and much more. It's not an easy read emotionally. But it forces the reader to look squarely in the face of the science. Wallace-Wells points out that even though thousands of scientists, perhaps hundreds of thousands, are daily trying to impress on lay readers the urgency of collective action, the religion (his word) of technology creates a belief that, to the extent there is some distant-and-disputed problem, everything will be mysteriously solved by some combination of machine learning and post-Earth survival. We'll live in spaceships and eat lab-printed meat, and Elon Musk will fix things.I see a parallel in another big news story: the hype and enthusiasm about 5G wireless as the “thing that will make the existing [communications] model obsolete.”

  • Talking Headways Podcast: The Potential of a Fiberoptic Future

    March 21, 2019

    This week, we’re joined by Susan Crawford, the John A. Reilly Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard School of Law. Crawford talks about her new book Fiber, which focuses on how cities in the United States are trying to build communications networks with this seemingly limitless technology, yet still get pushback from regulators and incumbent companies alike.

  • Fiber Optic: The Power and Potential of Fiber Optics To Transform Communities

    March 13, 2019

    Guest Susan Crawford explains how giant corporations in the United State have held back the infrastructure improvements necessary for the country to move forward, and she describes how a few cities and towns are fighting to bring the fiber optic revolution to their communities.

  • The Race Is On For Control Of 5G Wireless Communications — And China Is In The Lead

    March 12, 2019

    The Chinese telecom giant Huawei is winning the race to build 5G networks worldwide. NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with Harvard Law professor Susan Crawford about why that's a national security threat.

  • A Harvard professor warns that the US is falling behind in deploying fiber-optic networks, and it could make inequality here even worse

    March 11, 2019

    The biggest tech problem facing the US is that it doesn't have universal access to super-fast fiber-optic internet connections, according to Susan Crawford, a telecommunication expert and professor at Harvard Law School. (Subscription required)

  • China Will Likely Corner the 5G Market—and the US Has No Plan

    February 25, 2019

    An op-ed by Susan Crawford: You may have heard that China has cornered much of the world’s supply of strategic metals and minerals crucial for new technology, including lithium, rare earths, copper, and manganese used in everything from smartphones to electric cars. ... But you may not know that China is also on track to control most of the world's flow of high-capacity online services—the new industries, relying on the immediate communication among humans and machines, that will provide the jobs and opportunities of the future.

  • Video: Susan Crawford on why America may miss the fiber revolution

    Video: Susan Crawford on why America may miss the fiber revolution

    February 22, 2019

    On February 13, the Harvard Law School Library hosted Prof. Susan Crawford for a book talk and discussion on her newly-released title, "Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution—and Why America Might Miss It."

  • Race is on for global 5G dominance — and Trump is cheering from the sidelines

    February 22, 2019

    President Donald Trump on Thursday brought renewed national attention to what has emerged as one of the most hotly debated technological and geopolitical challenges — the race to build a next-generation 5G wireless internet network. ...  While major U.S. telecommunications companies have touted their investments in 5G technology, China's firms are by some measures a step ahead, causing concern that the U.S. could fall behind in building new technology off the next-generation networks. “The implication is that new industries of the future, the new ways of making a living, will be in China and not here. They’ll have this huge sandbox to play with and a lot of control over the market,” said Susan Crawford, author of “Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution — and Why America Might Miss It" and a professor at Harvard Law School focusing on technology policy.

  • Is America Missing The Future Of The Internet?

    February 13, 2019

    The world of fiber optics is expanding the reach and power of the internet — and has the potential to revolutionize our homes and businesses. Fiber optics carry virtually unlimited amounts of data and will radically transform health care, education, stores and the way our cities and town are run. But, Harvard Law School Professor Susan Crawford argues it's a tech revolution that America is at risk of missing.

  • Trump pledges investment, but is silent on key tech issues

    February 6, 2019

    In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Trump promised legislation to invest in "the cutting edge industries of the future." But the speech was characteristically backward-looking. Trump talked up gains in manufacturing jobs and oil and gas exports, but didn't once mention the word "technology," nor any other tech policy issue, such as privacy, broadband, or antitrust. ...Last year, leaked documents revealed a proposal for the government to build a 5G network to complement commercial networks. The idea was widely panned across the political spectrum, and the White House denied that the idea was ever seriously considered. But, as Harvard Law professor Susan Crawford wrote for WIRED last year, a national program to build more fiber optic networks isn't a crazy idea.

  • The Price Of America’s Poor Internet Connection

    February 5, 2019

    The United States prides itself on being a country of innovation. But in the land that built the internet, our ability to get access to high speed quality service is not on par with other countries in Europe and Asia. Harvard law professor Susan Crawford says as the country slips further behind, we jeopardize our place as a leader in the tech revolution. Susan Crawford’s new book is called “Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution―And Why America Might Miss It.” GUESTS Susan Crawford, Professor, Harvard Law School; author of “Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution—and Why America Might Miss It” and “Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded”

  • How America’s internet connectivity issues are holding the country back

    January 31, 2019

    Harvard Law School professor Susan Crawford explains how America’s internet connectivity issues and corrosive infrastructure are holding the country back and how we can rally to fix it. She and Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel also discuss the Huawei scandal, politicians’ roles in improving broadband internet, and her new book Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution—and Why America Might Miss It.

  • The Future Is Fiber – And The U.S. Is Falling Behind

    January 30, 2019

    The expanded use of fiber-optic connections has opened up new possibilities to health care, education, retail and other fields. Harvard Law professor Susan Crawford joins host Krys Boyd to explain why we need to approach fiber with an increased urgency or risk falling behind other developed nations.

  • America Is Lagging In The 5G Race: Harvard’s Crawford (Podcast)

    January 28, 2019

    Susan Crawford, Harvard Law professor and former Special Asst. for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy during the Obama administration, discusses her new book, "FIBER: The Coming Tech Revolution—And Why America Might Miss It." Bill Barker, Portfolio Manager of the Motley Fool Small Mid-Cap Growth Fund, on why it’s a good time for both growth and value investors in mid-caps.

  • Susan Crawford On How The US Is Already Behind On The Fiber Optic Movement

    January 16, 2019

    The internet revolution changed American political, social and cultural life. But as Harvard Law School professor and author Susan Crawford argues, the United States is still far behind other countries in taking that change to the next level, with a nationwide fiber optic network similar to other public utilities. As a result, she writes, we are missing out on upgrades in our education system, civic life and economy that we need to truly compete in the 21st century.

  • ‘Fiber’ Is a Wakeup Call to our Digital Learning Community

    January 14, 2019

    Our digital learning community needs a cause. Some fight that strikes an optimal balance between self-interest and doing the right thing. Reading Susan Crawford's deeply reported and passionately argued Fiber, I think the battle for universal fiber broadband might be the fight we need.

  • America desperately needs fiber internet, and the tech giants won’t save us

    January 10, 2019

    On the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka, Recode’s Peter Kafka spoke with Harvard Law School professor Susan Crawford about her new book, Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution—And Why America Might Miss It. On the podcast, Crawford explained why nationwide access to high-speed fiber internet — already standard in parts of Asia and Europe — is important for everything from the future of work to the successful deployment of 5G wireless networks. She also talked about why Google’s ambitious attempt to compete with the telecom giants, Google Fiber, is all but dead. “They’re like Verizon, which did exactly the same thing, backed off from installing fiber,” Crawford said. “Their shareholders are impatient with the long-term capital needs involved in making sure that there’s great last-mile access in America.”

  • 5G will be the next revolution in global communications, but the U.S. may be left behind

    January 9, 2019

    In late 2017, Susan Crawford was visiting Seoul, South Korea, about six months before it hosted the 2018 Winter Olympics. Although she’s an expert in telecommunications policy, Crawford was stunned at what she witnessed in Korea, which she describes as “the most wired nation on the planet” — flawless cellphone coverage even in rural areas, real-time data transmission, driverless buses using the latest communications technology to smoothly avoid pedestrians and evade obstructions. “I’ve never been embarrassed to be American before,” Crawford told me recently. “But when Korean people tell you that going to America is like taking a rural vacation, it really makes you stop and worry about what we’re up to.”

  • Can America Really Have High Speed Internet for All?

    January 8, 2019

    If this country really has ambitions of having a 5G revolution like the one being talked about the Consumer Electronics Show this week, we need something else first. Fiber optic connections that reach everyone. "What it is is synthetic glass, in which the manufactured process is so carefully controlled that light can travel through that glass for many dozens of miles without using any of the signal that it's carrying," says Susan Crawford, a professor at Harvard Law School and the author of “Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution - and Why America Might Miss it.” ... Susan Crawford says fiber technology is the biggest tech story the United States should be paying attention to in 2019.

  • Paving the way for self-driving cars

    January 3, 2019

    Two Harvard efforts are helping craft policy before the shift gains speed. ... There is broad understanding that many pivotal issues facing the world—such as climate change, immigration, and labor shortages—are intertwined, and changes in one can affect another. The shifts don’t develop in isolation. Harvard Law School Professor Susan Crawford understands that the rise of autonomous vehicles will be no different. To properly prepare the students who will not only have to adapt to these technologies but someday help shape them, their education cannot happen in isolation either. So when Crawford, the John A. Reilly Clinical Professor of Law, designed her class “Autonomous Vehicles and Local Government Lab,” she made sure that its 80 students would be exposed to an interdisciplinary effort from a range of Schools, ensuring students would learn from each other.

  • Paving the way for self-driving cars 2

    Paving the way for self-driving cars

    January 3, 2019

    Two Harvard efforts, including Professor Susan Crawford's Autonomous Vehicles and Local Government Lab, are helping cities and towns craft AV policies while the technology is still emerging.

  • The Sneaky Fight to Give Cable Lines Free Speech Rights

    December 7, 2018

    An op-ed by Susan Crawford. When you make a phone call, I'm willing to bet you don't think of the phone line as having free speech rights of its own. That phone line has one job: getting the sound of your voice to the place you want it to go. It isn't planning to deliver a speech or getting ready to go on Broadway. Although life may be boring for the phone line as a result, it is actually getting a great deal: The phone line can't get blamed for whatever lousy thing you say during your call. But if the cable industry gets its way, internet access—today's basic utility—will be treated just like the press for First Amendment purposes, giving it a free pass in perpetuity from any governmental oversight.

  • Nearsighted Neoliberalism Helped Mobilize Today’s Far Right

    November 26, 2018

    An op-ed by Susan Crawford. I recently took a trip to Berlin that sharpened my view of America. It turned out that the blandly named conference I'd been invited to—something about digital markets—was actually a giant collective hand-wringing about the state of German politics. The far-right, populist Alternative for Germany party recently gained substantial strength, accounting for nearly 15 percent of voters nationwide (up from about 3 percent in 2015), and reshaping the political landscape as it spews malicious anti-immigrant rhetoric. The center-right and center-left parties are losing power and spinning with anxiety, trying to figure out how to win back hearts and minds.

  • Regulatory Hackers Aren’t Fixing Society. They’re Getting Rich

    October 26, 2018

    An op-ed by Susan Crawford. By temperament and by training, I am optimistic most of the time. In that room, though, I sensed the assumptions of our age operating in high, silent gear: Business is the most important agent of change in society; government exists to "cooperate" and is mostly incapable and toothless (while simultaneously, if ineptly, threatening); nothing is going to be done about the harrowing, multiple, structural unfairnesses of our time; women who want to survive and be invited to future panel discussions need to be appropriately deferential; and our destiny as a society is being charted by people who never use public transportation. Or fly commercial. I did speak up, politely, that afternoon. I said many things are profoundly wrong with the way we live in America, and that what we really need to do is make sure government has the capacity and resources to ensure—using technology as a tool, but mostly through sound policy—that everyone with a belly button can lead a thriving life.