Seminars / Events

Security, Privacy and the Internet (video)
Wednesday, 30 Nov 2016, 7:00-8:30 PM (open to the public)
E15-070, (20 Ames St, Cambridge, MA)

Wonks, Engineers, and Innovators: Bringing New Perspectives to Governing (website, livestream)
Tuesday July 19 at 3:00 PM (open to the public)
6th floor of  E-52 (MIT Samberg Center, 50 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA)

Who should make decisions about our governing our digital future? And how? Current and former Obama Administration officials reflect on how the federal government, private sector, and academia have worked to bring new voices to the table, expanding and innovating on what it means to make policy about this changing thing called the Internet. Looking back on initiatives like recruiting technologists for “tours of duty” in the federal government and making federal data open and available, panelists will ask how technological change created both opportunities and imperatives for new forms of governance.

Is Internet Policy Economic Policy? (website, livestream)
Monday July 18 at 5:30 PM (open to the public)
6th floor of  E-52 (MIT Samberg Center, 50 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA)

From the day he launched his 2008 presidential campaign, President Obama argued that the Internet was an essential tool to advance his economic agenda. Issues like broadband access, online intellectual property rights, and data privacy were about advancing economic opportunity at home as well as maintaining competitive strength on the global stage. But who made these policies and how?  Looking back on almost a decade of internal and public debates, key policy advisors to President Obama and Vice President Biden reflect on what crafting Presidential Internet policy actually meant. Addressing the question, “Is Internet Policy Economic Policy?,” panelists will show how Internet policymaking reconfigured traditional structures, methods, and modes of expertise.

Giovanni BUTTARELLI - (website, speech, flyer)
European Data Protection Supervisor
Date: 19 April 2016
Location: MIT, 32 Vassar St, Cambridge MA, Patil/Kiva Seminar Room (32-G449)

Ethics as the Root of Privacy and the Future of Data Protection
Mr. Buttarelli will discuss the changing landscape of data collection and usage, and the global impact it has on the individual. He will focus on his office’s flagship project of exploring the ethical dimension to data protection and privacy, and its implications for business, governments and regulators.

Forum on Data Privacy Convened by the Massachusetts Attorney General
Date: 24 Mar 2016
Thursday, March 24, 2016 from 8:00am to 12:00pm
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Building 10 (The Great Dome), Room 250

Forum on Data Privacy
The goal of the forum is to discuss stakeholders’ views on the risks to consumer privacy in today’s data-driven, digital economy, and the role of states and state attorneys general in addressing those risks without restricting innovation and advances that benefit consumers. The Attorney General’s Office hopes to use the forum to shape a new initiative designed to protect consumer data privacy from practices identified as particularly concerning without restricting data-driven innovations that do not carry those risks and that benefit consumers. To inform our consideration of these important issues, we invite you to join us in shaping a new partnership with a candid exchange of ideas and concerns.

RSVP via Eventbrite

European Commision Vice President Andrus Ansip and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker
11 Mar 2016
Samberg Conference Center (E52)

Why Internet policy matters for everything from MIT’s startup culture to the global economy
MIT’s Internet Policy Research Initiative (IPRI) is proud to host the European Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker for an armchair discussion to talk about the most important public policy and economic issues confronting the Internet and the broader digital economy - including issues such as security, privacy, free expression, intellectual property, and the "Internet of things”. The two leaders will also explore how the US and Europe can make common cause towards a shared vision of a free and open Internet worldwide - and the challenges it faces

Robert HANNIGAN (speech, flyer)
Director of GCHQ
Date: 07 Mar 2016
Time: 14:00 - 15:15
Location: Media Lab 6th floor lecture hall, E14-LH-633

Encryption, Privacy and Partnerships

Charlie SAVAGE (website, flyer)
Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times journalist and author of Power Wars: Inside Obama’s Post-9/11 Presidency
Date: 4 Dec 2015

Power Wars: Inside Obama’s Post-9/11 Presidency
Barack Obama campaigned on a promise of change from George W. Bush’s “global war on terror.”  Yet from drone strikes and indefinite detention to surveillance and military tribunals, Obama ended up continuing -- and in some cases expanding -- many policies he inherited.  What happened? Based on confidential interviews with more than 150 current and former officials and access to previously unreported documents, Charlie Savage tells the inside story of how the Obama administration charted its path through ceaseless dilemmas -- including its decisions to keep the then-secret National Security Agency program that collected records of every American's phone calls, raid Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan, and bomb Libya.  Savage also pieces together the first comprehensive history of how American surveillance secretly developed over the past 35 years, synthesizing recent revelations and filling in gaps with new reporting.

Professor of e-Research at University of Oxford, Director of the Oxford e-Research Centre, and Chair of Oxford’s Digital Humanities research programme.  (website , presentation)
Date 30 Oct 2015

Intersection, Scale, and Social Machines: Scholarship in the digital world
Today we are witnessing several shifts in scholarly practice, in and across multiple disciplines, as researchers embrace digital techniques to tackle established research questions in new ways and new questions afforded by digital and digitized collections, approaches, and technologies. Pervasive adoption of technology, coupled with the co-creation of new social processes, has created a new and complex space for scholarship where citizens both generate and analyse data as they interact at the intersection of the physical and digital. Drawing on a background in distributed computing, and adopting the lens of Social Machines, this talk discusses current activity in digital scholarship, framing it in its interdisciplinary settings.

Photo: Min CHEN


Professor of scientific visualization at Oxford University (website, presentation)
Date: 21 Oct 2015

Cost-benefit Analysis of Data Intelligence
All data intelligence processes are designed for processing a finite amount of data within a time period. In practice, they all encounter some difficulties, such as the lack of adequate techniques for extracting meaningful information from raw data; incomplete, incorrect or noisy data; biases encoded in computer algorithms or biases of human analysts; lack of computational resources or human resources; urgency in making a decision; and so on. While there is a great enthusiasm to develop automated data intelligence processes, it is also known that many of such processes may suffer from the phenomenon of data processing inequality, which places a fundamental doubt on the credibility of these processes. In this talk, the speaker will discuss the recent development of an information-theoretic measure (by Chen and Golan) for optimizing the cost-benefit ratio of a data intelligence process, and will illustrate its applicability using examples of data analysis and visualization processes in the literature.