DPI-684: New Media, Surveillance, Access, Propaganda, and Democracy

Semester: Fall

Credit: 1.0

Syllabus: Click here for syllabus

Faculty: Nolan Bowie


Day Time Location
First Day 9/4
Meet Day T/Th 1:10 PM - 2:30 PM T301


In a viable democracy, citizens must not only be sufficiently informed and effectively engaged in the process of self-governance and self-government, but must also be reasonably free of both government and private sector surveillance, from excessive propaganda, disinformation, and manipulation. In the 21st century they ought to have ready access to affordable communications networks and to tools and skills necessary to empower themselves and their communities democratically. The course will examine various assumptions concerning the digital age and information society, First Amendment law and practice, intellectual property, minority viewpoint access opportunities and barriers (winners and losers), and media justice issues, generally. Does government have an affirmative role to produce and deploy information and communication products, services, applications, and infrastructure as public services and public goods, or not? If so, what are the tipping points of market failure necessary to justify and provoke effective government action -- national defense rationale, public interest rationale, human rights rationale, sustainable development rationale, global competitiveness rationale, etc.? The role of social and community mesh networks, crowd sourcing news, immersive education, e-government, e-democracy, censorship, and the disruptive nature of new technology and constant change will be discussed in the context of democratic institutions and procedures.






John F. Kennedy School of Government 79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-495-1100 Get Directions Visit Contact Page