Law, Policy -- and IT?

Law, Policy -- and IT?

Tracy Mitrano explores the intersection where higher education, the Internet and the world meet (and sometimes collide).

May 14, 2012 - 11:09am
"Technology is neither good nor bad, only thinking makes it so" is a paraphrase from Hamlet that crossed this English major's mind a number of years ago when I began working in this field. It came to mind again recently as I have been reflecting on the irony of how technology has affected higher education. When in 2001 I became aquatinted with EDUCAUSE, and by that I mean the larger thinking about information technology in higher ed, I was not only thrilled to be part of a world where people talked about big ideas but in a community that swelled with optimism and hope about the transformation that technology would bring to my calling.  The underlying assumption was loud and clearly a positive one. The transformation would take us all to a new and better level.
April 22, 2012 - 9:34pm
In a good NYT analysis today, Quentin Hardy makes noteworthy points about Internet companies and their place in the world. Internet "builders of the technology barely understand the effect they are having, the regulators of the status quo can seem clueless" is the most succinct statement of how technology, the market, law and user experience interact at this time in history.  
April 18, 2012 - 7:05am
For the foreseeable future, this blog will be the last in my little trilogy of comments related to a discussion last week with network, content owners and higher education folks in D.C. It is my proposal for a Grander Bargain.
April 17, 2012 - 11:23am
From philosophy classes to street corners, one can hear Niccolo Machiavelli's famous dilemma between love and fear regaled. Machiavelli instructed "the prince" that it was better to be feared than loved by the people, because in his view compliance derived more from the latter than the former. What is often forgotten about Machiavelli's formulation was his additional comment: the prince should never be hated. Perhaps what he meant ultimately was that the prince should be "respected," but that concept may be more dependent on a democratic society and therefore not even thinkable in the wildly volatile political landscape of Machiavelli's day in fifteenth century Florence.  
April 15, 2012 - 9:16pm
My friend Joe Storch, who works as an attorney at the SUNY System Office, calls an idea that has been floating around regarding copyright infringement on campus networks for some time the "Grand Bargain." The idea is that content owners should provide students with free content through a portal that becomes a paid service once they leave college. I say "floating around" because some of us proposed this idea a number of years ago, when it was a fresh issue, but it was received then as a grand absurdity.
March 27, 2012 - 7:26am
It goes both ways. You can't do one properly without the other. The challenge is how the CIO manages this reality when the "I" in their title is often a misnomer? CIOs seemingly have all the responsibility for information, but often none of the authority.
March 15, 2012 - 9:26am
In 2009, when the clouds were just emerging on the horizon of higher education, I drafted a windy document which can be found here: A new chapter brings some fresh air to senior higher education leaders, CIOs and their staff struggling with how to manage cloud computing now that the storm is upon us.
March 6, 2012 - 10:41am
Here is where law, policy and technology get interesting: When can a government entity shut down service in the name of social order? Some might raise the bar of the question and ask: Should a government entity have the ability to shut down a communication service?  If so, what is the "test," i.e. under what circumstances? The inquiry gets even better: Who gets to the define and set the bar?
February 19, 2012 - 6:20pm
Drones.  Both of my boys are inveterate video game players, so I am long familiar with them.  When Nikko was 10, we gave him a hover craft.  Over all of these years, it is still my favorite gift to him.  As the Air Force began to deploy them in our Middle Eastern conflicts, I had a reaction that was ill-formed but instinctive.  I was relieved for U.S. lives saved and yet wary about something spookily inhuman.  The philosopher Peter W.
February 12, 2012 - 9:01pm
The content industry has come out barreling after the failure of their pet bills, SOPA and Protect IP.  Carey Sherman writes with real feeling in his NYT Op-Ed Column last week, and the movie industry, with its representative Alfred P. Perry, has reached out in a softer mode to legal scholars, many of whom have criticized either, or both, these industries and current U.S. Copyright law.

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