Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT 6.805/6.806/STS085: Ethics and Law on the Electronic Frontier (3-0-9)
Readings and Source Material
Here is background for some of the individual course topics.
Specific items will be indicated in the weekly assignments.
Other sources of general course material
- Wired Magazine
displays the Gucci look for cyberspace (and Hal wrote this before
they were purchased by Condé -Nast), with almost as many fonts per
issue as the MIT Admissions Office's publicity booklet. You'll have
to dig up more serious material for the course, but Wired is
OK for general reading and there are occasional excellent articles.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation maintains extensive on-line
archives. These will be useful throughout the semester,
especially the collections on Legislation and Legal issues, and the Privacy, Security, Crypto, and
Surveillance Archive. You should also check out current and past
issues of their newsletter, the
Center for Democracy and Technology
is an organization concerned with civil liberties in
computer and communcations technologies. Their home page is a good
place to look for information on current legislative action.
Electronic Privacy Information Center Is a public-interest group
that deals with civil liberty issues relating the National Information
Infrastructure. It is also the Washington Office of Privacy
International. There are good on-line collection on computer security, privacy, cryptography policy, and free speech.
Lexis/Nexis: Law review articles, court rulings, and many other resources can be
Lexis-Nexis Universe. Subscriptions to Lexis/Nexis are licensed
by institutions and are restricted. The links to Lexis/Nexis
resources in this archive work at MIT only -- they can be accessed
only from within the MIT network. Other people who wish to get hold
of the Lexis/Nexis material cited in this archive will need to arrange
for their own access.
The US Congress Thomas (Jefferson)
public information system provides keyword searches of the
Here are two classic science-fiction works that don't have anything to
do with the course directly -- or maybe they have everything to do
with the course directly, since they describe the futures we may be
laying the groundwork for with today's network technology. Food for
William Gibson, Neuromancer. From the man who
invented the word "cyberspace." If you've read the book and liked it,
you may want to look at the sequels, Count Zero and Mona
Vernor Vinge, "True Names," in the collection True Names and
other Dangers. Written in the early 80s, this short story is
frighteningly prophetic of current issues having to do with
anonymity, privacy, and security on the network.