In a recent paper published in the December issue of Science magazine, Harvard Law School Professors Jonathan Zittrain ‘95 and John Palfrey ’01 examine how better forms of measurement of the Internet and the Web can inform Internet policy and regulations. Their paper, titled “Better Data for a Better Internet,” is available on the journal’s website.

“[W]e should begin a concerted push for highly reliable and publicly available forms of measurement of the Internet and the Web and how we use them, including the flows of information we generate and consume. Better data would do more than just help the state meet its regulatory obligations; better data would also improve self-regulation by private sector players and empower individuals to make better decisions. In the meantime, we as researchers need to work harder to translate the good data that we do have into terms that can directly inform policy-making,” they write.

Zittrain and Palfrey are faculty co-directors of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and co-editors (with Ron Deibert and Rafal Rohozinski) of and contributors to “Access Denied: The Practice and Politics of Internet Filtering” (MIT Press, 2008).

Read more coverage of the report in the Harvard Crimson in an article, “HLS professors push for data-use in Internet policy,” by Cynthia W. Shih (excerpted here).

HLS Professors Push for Data-Use in Internet Policy

by Cynthia W. Shih

Harvard Law School professors John G. Palfrey ’94 and Jonathan L. Zittrain ’95 challenged policy-makers last week to use more independently-collected data in formulating internet regulations and policy.

Palfrey and Zittrain published a paper in Science magazine titled “Better Data for a Better Internet,” which examines how internet policy can be better informed by improved data and research methods.

While huge quantities of data about personal internet usage has been collected by corporations, independently-collected information rarely makes it into the hands of policy-makers, according to Palfrey and Zittrain, who are faculty co-directors of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. … Read the full article »