Daniel J. Weitzner

Founding Director, MIT Internet Policy Research Initiative (IPRI)
Principal Research Scientist, MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Research Lab (CSAIL)

Photograph of Daniel Weitzner, founding director of MIT IPRI.
About
Welcome to my homepage. My major activity is running the MIT Internet Policy Research Initiative, a disciplinary effort producing technically-grounded research to address critical Internet public policy questions such as privacy, information accountability, cybersecurity, surveillance, network management, and trustworthy AI systems. You can find short descriptions and publications from my own major research projects, recent publications in the popular press, assorted videos, and information about my outside professional service and consulting.
Research Areas
Accountable Systems: How can we make the information systems we use more accountable to privacy and other rules that they are supposed to be following. In Information Accountability we defined what it means for a system to be accountable, built some examples, and more recently developed a cryptographic technique for Practical Accountability of Secret Processes.
Encryption and Surveillance: What should technology designers and policy makers do about the fact that end-to-end encryption is essential to cybersecurity but also increases the difficulty of certain law enforcement investigations. We investigated the technical risks of exceptional access systems in Keys Under Doormats and then explored some of the challenges of working across the legal and technical domains in On the incommensurability of laws and technical mechanisms: Lessons for encryption and surveillance.
HCI and Privacy: In designing systems and laws to protect privacy, we really should know more about how individual users react to different privacy contexts. When does this behavior change? Where are there chilling effects? We’ve been studying what shapes users privacy choices and indicators that might help users make informed decisions (not that consent is ever a complete privacy solution).
Internet Policy: I did some work on early Freedom of Expression frameworks for the Internet (when it was simpler) and am interested in what we can learn from current Internet policy for challenges ahead.

Web Science: As the Web started to get bigger in the 2000s, some of us felt that we need to Create a Science of the Web. Lots of my work since then has been influenced by this need for interdisciplinary approaches to the interaction between computing and society.
In all of these areas, I’ve benefited from collaborations with an extraordinary group of faculty and student collaborators from around the world. They’re named in the documents behind the above links.

Some More Popular, General-Audience Writing:
Congressional Testimony (Selected):
· United States House of Representatives, Committee on Energy and Commerce, Hearing on “Deciphering the Debate Over Encryption: Industry and Law Enforcement Perspectives” ­­ April 19, 2016.
· United States House of Representatives, Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, Do Not Track Privacy Legislation, 2 December 2010.
· United States Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, Human Rights Challenges Facing the Technology Industry, 2 March 2010.

Popular Press (Selected):
· Rulemaking and its discontents: Moving from principle to practice in federal privacy legislation, Brookings Techtank, June 5, 2019. (with Cameron Kerry)
· Perspectives on Encryption and Surveillance, Lawfare Special Series, November 29, 2018.
· How Cambridge Analytica, Facebook and Other Privacy Abuses Could Have Been Prevented, Lawfare, April 4, 2018.
· Ted Cruz is wrong about how free speech is censored on the Internet, Washington Post, September 20, 2016 (with Tim Berners-Lee)
· Encryption solution in wake of Paris should come from Washington not Silicon Valley, Washington Post, November 24, 2015
· Foreign Policy of the Internet, Washington Post, July 14, 2011 (with Karen Kornbluh)
Videos (Selected):
· CSPAN Communicators and the State of the Net Conference (January 2019)
· Ford Foundation, Privacy and Policy: A New School of Thought, Public Internet Technology Series (February 2019) Boston
Speeches and Slides (Selected):
· U.S. Privacy Legislation: Now Is The Time. Keynote, Boston Bar Association Privacy and Cybersecurity Annual Conference (May 2018)
· Data Governance Challenges: Earning Trust with Users, Customers and Governments Around the World Fujitsu Laboratories Advanced Technology Symposium 2019 [slides]
Teaching
· 6.805: Foundations of Internet Policy
· 6.S978: Privacy Legislation Law and Technology (joint between MIT and Georgetown Law School. Profs. Bedoya, Moy and Vladeck)
Students
· Current: Mike Specter (EECS PhD), Jonathan Frankle (EECS PhD), Nic Rothbacher (TPP & EECS S.M.),
· Alumni: Grace Abuhamad, Michael Specter, TPP S.M, EECS S.M 9/2014 – 6/2016, Elizabeth Dethy (EECS M.Eng), Amn Rahman, TPP S.M 9/2014 – 6/2016, Ryan Wagner, M.Eng 9/2003 – 6/2004, Harvey Jones, M.Eng
Professional Service (Selected)
· Program Co-chair. ACM Inaugural Symposium on Computer Science and Law (2019)
· Co-Chair, EU-US Privacy Bridges Project, University of Amsterdam, MIT, Dutch Data Protection · Commission, International Data Protection Commissioners Convention (2013 – 2016)
· Computing Community Consortium (CCC), Privacy Research Agenda Workshops and Report
· Member, National Academy of Sciences Study Committee on Technical and Privacy Dimensions of Information for Terrorism Prevention and Other National Goals (2006 – 2008)
· Member, National Academy of Sciences Study Committee on Authentication Technologies and their Privacy Implications (2000 – 2003)
Outside Activities: Board Service, Consulting
· Founding Board Member, Web Science Trust (2006-present)
· Founder and Member, Board of Directors, Center for Democracy and Technology (1998 – 2009, 2013-16)
· Founding Member, Board of Directors, Software Freedom Law Center (2005 – 2009, 2017-)
· Founding Member, Board of Directors, Congressional Internet Caucus Academy & Internet Education Foundation (1998 – 2009)
· Ethyca outside advisor (compensated)
· Palantir Privacy and Civil Liberties Advisory Committee (compensated)
Jobs I’ve Held Outside MIT:
· Deputy Director and Senior Staff Counsel, Electronic Frontier Foundation (1991-1994)

· Co-Founder and Deputy Director, Center for Democracy and Technology (1994-1998)
· Technology and Society Domain Lead, World Wide Web Consortium (1998 – 2004)
· Associate Administrator, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, US Department of Commerce (2009-2010)
· White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Internet Policy (2011-2012)
Learn more
· Full Bio
· CV
· Photo
Contact:
· Email: <weitzner at mit.edu>
· Twitter: @djweitzner
· Assistant: Mel Robinson <melrob at mit.edu>
· Address: 32 Vassar St, 32-G526, Cambridge, MA 02139 USA
· Finding my office at MIT: Enter the MIT Stata building and take the elevator in the Gates tower to the fifth floor. Upon exiting the elevator, take a right. When you see office number 523, take another right. My office will be the last one on your left.