Professor Jonathan Zittrain

Jonathan Zittrain is a Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, and co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. His interests include digital property, privacy, and speech, and the role of private 'middle people' in Internet architecture.

Jonathan is an internationally known cyberlaw scholar. On completing a first degree from Yale University in Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence, he went on to gain a JD from Harvard Law School and a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

His recent research includes the study of Internet filtering by national governments, the role of intermediaries as points of control in Internet architecture, and the taxation of Internet commerce. He is the founder of the H2O Project, which produces simple, unobtrusive but novel tools for use in classrooms, and is co-founder of the Chilling Effects website, where Google and others report requests that information be censored.

He co-founded the Berkman Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, and coordinates a significant research and teaching relationship between the Berkman Centre and the OII as the Berkman Visiting Professor at Harvard.

Jonathan is a Professorial Fellow of Keble College, which has developed a particular interest in computer science and public policy.

Research interests

Internet filtering, Internet governance, taxation of Internet commerce, digital property, privacy, speech, classroom technologies

Positions held at the OII

  • Research Associate, October 2008 –
  • Director of Graduate Studies, September 2005 – September 2008
  • Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation, September 2005 – September 2008

Current projects

Past projects

  • Internet Governance

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Professor Jonathan Zittrain, Professor Ian Brown, Desiree Miloshevic

    A programme of seminars, forums and conferences informing our research on Internet governance.

  • Networks for Web Science

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Professor Jonathan Zittrain, Professor Yorick Wilks, Tim Berners-Lee, Professor Wendy Hall

    Establishing networks of researchers from different technical and social science research disciplines to begin to develop a Web Science research agenda through the exchange of PhD students and collaborative workshops.

  • OpenNet Initiative: state-sponsored filtering of the Internet

    Participants: Professor Jonathan Zittrain

    The Open Net Initiative aims to investigate, expose and analyze Internet filtering and surveillance practices, uncovering the potential pitfalls and unintended consequences of these practices, and helping to inform better public policy and advocacy work.

  • StopBadWare.org

    Participants: Professor Jonathan Zittrain

    A leading independent authority on trends in badware and its distribution, and a focal point for the development of collaborative, community-minded approaches to stopping badware. The main focus is on research and public education.

  • Bellwether Lecture Presented by Jonathan Zittrain: What Are We Doing Here? The Future of Academia

    Recorded: 20 October 2016

    Duration: 01:31:50

    The OII Bellwether Lectures bring world-leading intellectuals to Oxford to lecture on the social implications of the Internet, and its role in shaping our economic, political, and social future.

  • The Future of the Internet: Private Sheriffs in Cyberspace

    Recorded: 19 May 2009

    Duration: 01:10:29

    Jonathan Zittrain discusses the ways in which online life will be regulated largely by people and institutions bearing no badges or government affiliation. Do private sheriffs help avoid cumbersome and ill-considered government intervention?

  • Book Launch for Jonathan Zittrain’s “The Future of the Internet”

    Recorded: 24 April 2008

    Duration: 00:33:24

    Jonathan Zittrain discusses the future of the Internet. The Internet's current trajectory is one of lost opportunity: its salvation, he argues, lies in the goodwill of its millions of users.

  • The History and Future of the Domain Name System, Part 7

    Recorded: 4 February 2008

    Duration: 00:20:36

    Jonathan Zittrain discusses the history and future of the Internet Domain Name System (DNS). The event commemorated Jon Postel by looking back at the history of the DNS, its management under ICANN, and a vision of what the future holds.

  • The History and Future of the Domain Name System, Part 1

    Recorded: 8 January 2008

    Duration: 00:11:24

    Introduction to the history and future of the Internet Domain Name System (DNS). This event commemorated Jon Postel by looking back at the 25 year history of the DNS, the 10 years of its management under ICANN, and a vision of what the future holds.

  • The History and Future of the Domain Name System, Part 8

    Recorded: 8 January 2008

    Duration: 00:45:44

    Closing notes on the history and future of the Internet Domain Name System (DNS). The event commemorated Jon Postel by looking back at the history of the DNS, its management under ICANN, and a vision of what the future holds.

  • Oxford Union Debate: Internet and Democratisation, Part 7

    Recorded: 18 May 2007

    Duration: 00:14:22

    Jonathan Zittrain speaks. Oxford Union Debate: 'This House believes that the Internet is the greatest force for democratisation in the World'

  • ONI Conference: The Future of Free Expression on the Internet (Discussion)

    Recorded: 18 May 2007

    Duration: 01:11:35

    Attendees take part in an open discussion, facilitated by Berkman Center Executive Director John Palfrey and Jonathan Zittrain. The session includes thoughts on the product of the OpenNet Initiative's study and Q&A with the principle investigators.

  • ONI Conference: The Future of Free Expression on the Internet (Presentations)

    Recorded: 7 May 2007

    Duration: 01:50:42

    Jonathan Zittrain introduces the ONI project and Principal Investigator Ron Diebert, Citizen Lab's Nart Villenuve, and ONI Research Director Rob Faris present their findings on the 41 countries studied and the methods used to achieve those findings.

  • The Future of the Internet: And How to Stop It

    Recorded: 25 April 2006

    Duration: 00:59:34

    What lies around the corner for the Internet .. and how do we avoid it? How can we study and affect the future of the Internet using the distributed power of the network itself? Prof Jonathan Zittrain's inaugural lecture at the University of Oxford.

  • CyberSafety Conference Keynote: The Secure Future of the Internet and How to Stop It

    Recorded: 9 September 2005

    Duration: 00:37:09

    Keynote by Jonathan Zittrain at the 2005 Cybersafety Conference, focusing on the complex web of issues, assumptions and trade-offs involved in improving online safety and security at a personal, national and international level.