Harvard Professor Attacking Google Thrives as Web Sheriff
By John Hechinger Feb 13, 2014 9:01 PM PT.
Give yourself a treat and read the whole thing. Here are the opening paragraphs:
"Benjamin Edelman knew his way around the Internet’s ethical thickets at an early age. He also knew how to make that knowledge pay.
"As a 19-year-old Harvard sophomore, he earned $400 an hour as an expert witness for the National Football League against unauthorized Web broadcasting. By his senior year, the American Civil Liberties Union enlisted him, at $300 an hour, to oppose the government’s use of information filters in libraries.
"Now on the faculty of Harvard Business School, Edelman epitomizes a new breed of sleuths for hire, enforcing norms of online behavior.
"Edelman is “an astonishing scholar of the Internet,” said Alvin Roth, a Nobel-prize winning economist, who was a mentor and colleague at Harvard Business School. “It’s the Wild West out there, and Ben is the sheriff.”
"Edelman, a 33-year-old associate professor, mixes scholarship, lucrative consulting and a digital version of the 1960s-style activism of his family, including his aunt, Marian Wright Edelman, the civil-rights and children’s advocate. While he ferrets out misdeeds on the Internet, his multiple roles have put his own work under scrutiny.
“The Internet is what we make of it,” said Edelman, who arrived at his Ivy League office in jeans and sneakers this week after commuting by bicycle through Boston’s snowy streets. “We can shape it through diligence, by exposing the folks who are making it less good than it ought to be, like the neighborhood watch, or the busybody neighbor who yells at you when you throw your cigarette butt on the street."