Friday, November 9, 2007

Reputation Economies in Cyberspace Symposium


The Information Society Project at Yale Law School is proud to present Reputation Economies in Cyberspace. The symposium will be held on December 8, 2007 at Yale Law School in New Haven, CT.

This event will bring together representatives from industry, government, and academia to explore themes in online reputation, community-mediated information production, and their implications for democracy and innovation. The symposium is made possible by the generous support of the Microsoft Corporation.

A distinguished group of experts will map out the terrain of reputation economies in four panels: (1) Making Your Name Online; (2) Privacy and Reputation Protection; (3) Reputation and Information Quality; and (4) Ownership of Cyber-Reputation. See below for more detail on each panel; a current list of confirmed speakers is available at the conference website.

Online registration is available now at: There is a $95 registration fee, which includes lunch. Yale students and faculty and members of the press may attend for free. For more information, see:


Panel I: Making Your Name Online

Jack Balkin - Director, Information Society Project and Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment, Yale Law School

Michel Bauwens - Founder, The Foundation for P2P Alternatives
Rishab A. Ghosh - Senior Researcher, United Nations University -MERIT
Auren Hofman - CEO, Rapleaf
Hassan Masum - Senior Research Co-ordinator, McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health
Beth Noveck - Professor of Law and Director, Institute for Information Law and Policy, New York Law School

This panel will discuss the shifts in the reputation economy that we are witnessing, largely the transition from accreditation to participatory, community-based modes of reputation management.

Some of the questions the panel will address include:
What are the new norms for cyber-reputation?
How do these depart from offline models?
How can reputation in one online system be transported to another?
How do SNS and reputation connect?
How do you bootstrap and cash out?

Panel II: Privacy and Reputational Protection

Michael Zimmer - Microsoft Resident Fellow, Information Society Project and Post-Doctoral Associate, Yale Law School

Alessandro Acquisti - Assistant Professor of Information Technology and Public Policy, H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University
Danielle Citron - Assistant Professor of Law, University of Maryland School of Law
William McGeveran - Associate Professor, University of Minnesota Law School
Dan Solove - Associate Professor, George Washington University Law School
Jonathan Zittrain - Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation, Oxford University; Visiting Professor for Entrepreneurial Legal Studies, Harvard Law School

Cyber-reputation management is based on transactions in information that is often sensitive and is always contextual. This brings up many questions about the need to protect one's privacy and reputation within and outside this system.

Some of the questions the panel will address:
How is participation in cyber-reputation systems related to defamation and free speech?
What happens when cyber-reputation spills over into offline activities and relationships like the political process, job applications, or school admissions?
What happens when your second life meets your first?
Requiring divulgence of real name or other personal data. Is opting out possible?
Pending legislation on S495 - data security and privacy

Panel III: Reputational Quality and Information Quality

Laura Forlano - Visiting Fellow, Information Society Project

Urs Gasser - Associate Professor of Law, University of St. Gallen
Ashish Goel - Associate Professor, Management Science and Engineering and Computer Science, Stanford University
Darko Kirovski - Senior Researcher, Microsoft Corporation
Mari Kuraishi - President, Global Giving Foundation
Vipul Ved Prakash - Founder, Cloudmark

Evidently, unlike traditional reputation mechanisms that relied on small group acquaintances and formal accreditation mechanisms, the cyber-reputation economy is heavily mediated by technology. This raises the risk of breaking the delicate checks and balances that are necessary for the system to ensure quality of both the informational outcomes and the participants' reputation. This panel will try to highlight the connections between the way the new systems are built, and the outcome they produce.

Some of the questions the panel will address:
How can we assure quality in online reputation economies?
What is the connections between the system design and the quality information?
How good are the alternative accreditation mechanisms and how easy are they to hijack?
How can employment discrimination law adapt to the realities of online reputation?

Panel IV: Ownership of Cyber-Reputation

Eddan Katz - Executive Director, Information Society
Project and Lecturer-in-Law and Associate Research Scholar, Yale Law School

John Clippinger - Senior Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School
Eric Goldman - Assistant Professor and Director, High Tech Law Institute, Santa Clara University School of Law faculty
Bob Sutor - Vice President Open Source and Standards, IBM Corporation
Mozelle Thompson - Thompson Strategic Consulting; (former FTC Commissioner)
Rebecca Tushnet - Professor, Georgetown University Law Center

The data and information that are collected in online reputation systems are both valuable and powerful. The ability to control this information, store it, process it, access it, and transport it are crucial to the maintenance of the reputation economy. This panel will address the important set of questions that concern the ownership of this information.

Some questions the panel will address:
Who owns one's online reputation? Who owns the metadata?
How portable is online reputation? Should it be transportable from one system to another?
How is reputation connected to the interoperability question? Should we have international standards governing reputation?

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