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Jonathan Zittrain

Jonathan Zittrain

Founding director of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society

One of the world’s leading scholars and voices on the impact of digital technology from the Internet of Things to Big Data, to artificial intelligence, cyber threats and security – Jonathan Zittrain employs decades of experience interrogating and influencing the legal, technological and world-shaping aspects of virtual terrains.

A highly regarded teacher, speaker and master moderator, Zittrain provides diverse audiences with an inside look at the future of work, and what to expect from recent advances in AI and digital platforms. Named a “100 Top Global Thinker” (Foreign Policy, 2012), he is a founding director of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, where he anchors various disciplines throughout Harvard as professor of international law and director of the Harvard Law School Library, the largest private law library in the world; professor of computer science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; and professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Prior to joining Harvard, he was Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at Oxford University.

Zittrain has advised the U.S. government and also is a member of the boards of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Intellectual Property Watch, with a unique perspective on how policymakers grapple with cutting-edge issues such as privacy and cybersecurity. His wide-ranging research projects at Harvard give him insight into a range of digital infrastructure issues, including censorship and filtering for content control, privacy and free speech. His book, “The Future of the Internet – And How to Stop It” (Yale University Press and Penguin UK, 2009), was, in the words of critics, an “essential” work, a “resounding wake-up call” to arms to protect the Internet’s openness by rescuing it from forces that wish to constrain or privatize it – forces gaining in momentum today.

Furthering this cause, Zittrain co-edited three ground-breaking studies that were the first to quantify Internet filtering by national governments, all published by MIT Press: “Access Denied” (2008), “Access Controlled” (2010), and “Access Contested” (2011). Among his other future-thinking digital initiatives are projects to produce simple, unobtrusive, and novel collaborative tools for university classrooms (H2O); to Support open content by tracking legal threats to individual users (lumendatabase.org); to monitor Internet censorship in real time (thenetmonitor.org), and to combat extensive link rot throughout the Web (Perma.cc).

As a sought-after advisor to governments and organizations, Zittrain chaired the U.S. Federal Communication Commission’s Open Internet Advisory Committee. He has also served on the Board of Advisors for Scientific American and is a former Trustee of the Internet Society (ISOC). For more than 10 years, he has been a faculty fellow of the World Economic Forum, where he was named a Young Global Leader, chairing the Global Agenda Council on the future of the Internet. In 2017, Zittrain was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

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