TPW 41: Book Corner Featuring John Palfrey, author of Born Digital

by on February 9, 2009 · 21 comments

John Palfrey, co-author of Born DigitalOn this episode of “Tech Policy Weekly,” we’re launching a new format called “Tech Book Corner” that will feature occasional conversations with the authors of important new books about technology policy and the other issues that we debate frequently at the Tech Liberation Front blog.

On this debut episode of Book Corner, we are joined by John Palfrey, a professor of law at Harvard University and the co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard. Along with his Berkman Center colleague Urs Gasser, Prof. Palfrey has recently co-authored Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives, which was published last summer by Basic Books and which you can find out more information about at [Incidentally, I reviewed Born Digital here last October and I also named it one of the most important technology policy books of 2008.]

Born Digital cover

In our discussion, Prof. Palfrey explains who exactly counts as a “digital native” and tells us why he decided to write a book about them. He discusses why he believes that there has been some overreaction by older generations to fears about this Digital Generation and he argues that we need “to separate what we need to worry about from what’s not so scary” and “what we ought to resist from what we ought to embrace.” He then outlines how we should think about these issues and concerns going forward, and he stresses the importance of “balancing caution with encouragement” as we do so. Finally, he then applies that framework to three specific issues: privacy, child safety, and copyright.

It’s an interesting conversation and you can begin listening to it immediately by downloading the MP3 file here or by just clicking the play button below!


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