John Palfrey is the Head of School at Phillips Academy, Andover. He serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Knight Foundation. He also serves as a director of the Data + Society Research Institute.
John’s research and teaching focus on new media and learning. He has written extensively on Internet law, intellectual property, and the potential of new technologies to strengthen democracies locally and around the world. He is the author or co-author of several books, including BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google (Basic Books, 2015); Interop: The Promise and Perils of Highly Interconnected Systems (Basic Books, 2012) (with Urs Gasser); Intellectual Property Strategy (MIT Press, 2012); Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives (Basic Books, 2008) (with Urs Gasser); Access Denied: The Practice and Politics of Global Internet Filtering (MIT Press, 2008); and Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces (MIT Press, 2017).
John served previously as the Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School. He is a director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, where he was executive director from 2002-2008. John came back to the Harvard Law School from the law firm Ropes & Gray, where he worked on intellectual property, Internet law, and private equity transactions. He also served as a Special Assistant at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration. He previously served as the founding President of the Board of Directors of the Digital Public Library of America. He also served as a venture executive at Highland Capital Partners and on the Board of Directors of the Mass2020 Foundation, the Ames Foundation, and Open Knowledge Commons, among others. John was a Visiting Professor of Information Law and Policy at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland for the 2007-2008 academic year.
John graduated from Harvard College, the University of Cambridge, and Harvard Law School. He was a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar to the University of Cambridge and the U.S. EPA Gold Medal (highest national award).
Diversity and Free Expression in Education
Safe spaces, trigger warnings, microagressions, the disinvitation of speakers, demands to rename campus landmarks—debate over these issues began in lecture halls and on college quads but ended up on op-ed pages in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, on cable news, and on social media. Some of these critiques had merit, but others took a series of cheap shots at “crybullies” who needed to be coddled and protected from the real world. Few questioned the assumption that colleges must choose between free expression and diversity.
Security, Identity, and Resistance in Asian Cyberspace
A daily battle for rights and freedoms in cyberspace is being waged in Asia. At the epicenter of this contest is China--home to the world’s largest Internet population and what is perhaps the world’s most advanced Internet censorship and surveillance regime in cyberspace. Resistance to China’s Internet controls comes from both grassroots activists and corporate giants such as Google. Meanwhile, similar struggles play out across the rest of the region, from India and Singapore to Thailand and Burma, although each national dynamic is unique.
The Shaping of Power, Rights, and Rule in Cyberspace
Foreword by Miklos Haraszti
Internet filtering, censorship of Web content, and online surveillance are increasing in scale, scope, and sophistication around the world, in democratic countries as well as in authoritarian states. The first generation of Internet controls consisted largely of building firewalls at key Internet gateways; China’s famous “Great Firewall of China” is one of the first national Internet filtering systems. Today the new tools for Internet controls that are emerging go beyond mere denial of information.
The Practice and Policy of Global Internet Filtering
Foreword by Janice Gross Stein
Many countries around the world block or filter Internet content, denying access to information that they deem too sensitive for ordinary citizens—most often about politics, but sometimes relating to sexuality, culture, or religion. Access Denied documents and analyzes Internet filtering practices in more than three dozen countries, offering the first rigorously conducted study of an accelerating trend.