Citizen Lab Research Fellow Jon Penney will host a talk at 12:00pm on April 27, 2016 at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, entitled ‘Chilling Effects: Insights on how laws and surveillance impact people online.’

Talk abstract:

“With Internet censorship and mass surveillance on the rise globally, understanding regulatory ‘chilling effects’— the idea that laws, regulations, or state surveillance can deter people from exercising their freedoms or engaging in entirely legal activities— has thus today, in our Post-Snowden world, taken on greater urgency and public importance.  Yet, the notion is not uncontroversial; commentators, scholars, and researchers, from a variety of fields, have long questioned such chilling effects claims, including their existence or extent of any “chill” and related harms, particularly so in online contexts, leading to recent calls for more systematic and interdisciplinary research on point.
In this talk, Jon will draw on his doctoral research at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, to help fill in some of the gaps in our understanding of chilling effects online.  Through discussion of three empirical legal case studies— one on surveillance-related chilling effects and Wikipedia, a second on the impact of the DMCA’s copyright enforcement scheme, and a third survey-based study on “chilling effect scenarios”— Jon will offer insights on these and other questions:  What is the nature and scale of regulatory chilling effects online?  Do they persist or are they merely temporary? What factors may influence their impact?  Jon will also reflect on the importance of open data platforms like the Lumen Database and Wikimedia Foundation’s data portals to future research in this, and related, areas.”

Jon Penney is a lawyer, doctoral candidate at the Oxford Internet Institute, and a research fellow at the Citizen Lab.

The event will also be webcast live at 12:00pm EST. Please RSVP to attend in person, or read further information about the talk.

Watch the full video recording of the event.