Staff Biography

Danny Weitzner

Director, Decentralized Information Group, MIT CSAIL

Danny Weitzner

Director, Decentralized Information Group, MIT CSAIL

Daniel J. Weitzner is the Director and co-founder of the MIT CSAIL Decentralized Information Group. His group studies the relationship between network architecture and public policy, and develops new Web architectures to meet policy challenges such as privacy and intellectual property rights. He teaches Internet public policy in MIT’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department.

From 2011-2012, Weitzner was the United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Internet Policy in the White House, where he led initiatives on online privacy, cybersecurity, Internet copyright, and trade policies to promote the free flow of information. Weitzner ‘s work led to the development of the Obama Administration’s Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, adoption of an international agreement on Internet Policymaking Principles by 34 OECD Countries, and the Administration position the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA). He also was Associate Administrator for Policy at the United States Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Weitzner was a member of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team.

Weitzner has been a leader in the development of Internet public policy from its inception, making fundamental contributions to the successful fight for strong online free expression protection in the United States Supreme Court, crafting laws that control government surveillance of email and web browsing data. His work on US legislation limiting the liability of Internet Service Providers created the legal foundation for social media services and global free flow of information online.

Weitzner’s computer science research introduced Accountable Systems architecture to enable better awareness legal rules and automated compliance auditing. As head of the World Wide Web Consortium’s Technology and Society group, he led the development of security and privacy standards, and new architectures used to make information on the Web easier to analyze. While at MIT he launched the Web Science Research Initiative with Tim Berners-Lee, Wendy Hall, Nigel Shadbolt and James Hendler, a cross-disciplinary research initiative promoting research on the technical and social impact of the Web.

Before joining MIT, Weitzner was founder and Deputy Director of the Center for Democracy and Technology, and Deputy Policy Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He has testified before the United States Congress, the European Commission, and leading international bodies. Weitzner has law degree from Buffalo Law School, and a B.A. in Philosophy from Swarthmore College. His writings have appeared in Science magazine, the Yale Law Review, Communications of the ACM, the Washington Post, Wired Magazine and Social Research. In 2012 he was named to the Newsweek/Daily Beast Digital Power Index as a top ‘Navigator’ of global Internet public policy.