Harvard Law School‘s Cyberlaw Clinic, based at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, provides pro bono legal services at the intersection of technology and social justice. The Cyberlaw Clinic was the first of its kind, and it continues its tradition of innovation in its areas of practice.
Technology supports most human endeavors and, as a result, offers both significant benefits and real, lasting harms. Therefore, the Cyberlaw Clinic’s work, teaching activities, and client selection decisions are animated by our core values, through which we seek to promote:
- a robust and inclusive online ecosystem for free expression and broad participation in public discourse;
- awareness of power differentials and bias in technologies and socio-technical systems, mitigation of their negative impacts, and — where harm has occurred — the provision of adequate remedies;
- equity and inclusion as necessary considerations throughout technology development and technology policy;
- respect for and protection of privacy, vis-à-vis both private and government actors;
- access to knowledge and information, including through open government and transparency with respect to public and private technical systems that impact citizens (and, in particular, members of vulnerable populations); and
- the advancement of cultural production through efficient and balanced regulatory and enforcement regimes.
Participation in the Cyberlaw Clinic helps law students prepare for practice by working on real-world client counseling, advocacy, litigation, and transactional projects. The Clinic strives to center clients in our legal work, helping them to achieve success as they define it, mindful of (and in response to) existing law.
From the Blog
Sexual Health and Wellness Ads Face Discrimination: Clinic Client CIJ Urges the FTC to Take Action
The Cyberlaw Clinic was privileged to represent the Center for Intimacy Justice in a letter of complaint to the US Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), highlighting concerns about the discriminatory treatment of social media advertisements for sexual health and wellness products targeted at women and people of underrepresented genders, vis à vis those targeted at cis men. A level playing field is uniquely needed in the realm of sexual health, because these companies deliver critical information that is otherwise not widely available or discussed. The complete letter is available here. The complaint focuses on Meta, which controls irreplaceable marketing networks for medium- and small-sized businesses. It presents evidence demonstrating that the application of Meta’s advertising policies on Facebook and Instagram systematically treats sexual health products and services directed towards women and people of underrepresented genders differently, resulting in the rejection of the ads and the banning of these companies from the platforms. To businesses of all sizes, rejected ads represent wasted resources. The Center for Intimacy Justice has documented myriad examples of companies being rejected for ads which explicitly meet Meta’s guidelines. →
Beyond the FTC: The Future of Privacy Enforcement
On March 31 and April 1, 2023, the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology and the University of Iowa Innovation, Business, and Law Center hosted Beyond the FTC: The Future of Privacy Enforcement. The symposium, planned by a number of current and former Cyberlaw Clinic students, brought together legal and computer science scholars to discuss the limitations of the FTC’s current system for enforcing privacy protections and proposals for ensuring protections through avenues other than FTC enforcement. The moderators and keynote speakers included BKC Faculty Director Jonathan Zittrain and Cindy Cohn, Executive Director of longtime Clinic client the Electronic Frontier Foundation.→