6.805 / 6.806 / STS.085 Ethics and the Law on the Electronic Frontier

Fall 2005

Internet regulation has its origin in the U.S. Constitution.
The regulation of the Internet has its origin in the U.S. Constitution. Technology continues to shape policies governing the use of the electronic frontier. (Image by MIT OCW.)

Course Highlights

This course features weekly lecture notes and assignments. In addition, an extensive list of readings and resources devoted to the issues discussed in this course are available in the readings section.

Course Description

This course considers the interaction between law, policy, and technology as they relate to the evolving controversies over control of the Internet. In addition, there will be an in-depth treatment of privacy and the notion of "transparency" -- regulations and technologies that govern the use of information, as well as access to information. Topics explored will include:
  • Legal Background for Regulation of the Internet
  • Fourth Amendment Law and Electronic Surveillance
  • Profiling, Data Mining, and the U.S. PATRIOT Act
  • Technologies for Anonymity and Transparency
  • The Policy-Aware Web

*Some translations represent previous versions of courses.

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Prof. Harold Abelson
Prof. Michael M. Fischer
Prof. Daniel Weitzner

Course Meeting Times

One session / week
3 hours / session




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