Brian Kahin is Senior Fellow at the Computer & Communications Industry Association and Fellow at the MIT Sloan School’s Center for Digital Business. He was recently Innovation Policy Fellow in residence at OECD’s Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry.
Kahin was founding Director of the Harvard Information Infrastructure Project (1989-1997), the first university-based program to address the social, economic, and policy implications of the Internet. He developed courses on information technology, business strategy, and public policy, initially at the Kennedy School and then jointly with faculty at Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School.
In 1997, Kahin was appointed Senior Policy Analyst at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where he was responsible for intellectual property, Internet policy, and electronic commerce. As part of the Administration’s task force on global electronic commerce, he initiated the interagency Working Group on the Digital Economy on behalf of the National Economic Council. He also served as Vice Chair of the OECD Working Party on the Information Economy, chaired the interagency working group on domain names, co-chaired the administration’s working group on database protection, initiated studies on patent quality and standards policy at OSTP’s Science and Technology Policy Institute.
After leaving the government in 2000, he became resident fellow at the Internet Policy Institute in Washington and a visiting scholar at the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy (University of California, Berkeley). He was then founding Director of the Center for Information Policy and Visiting Professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. He subsequently taught at the University of Michigan as a Visiting Professor with joint appointments in the School of Information, the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and the Department of Communication Studies, while also serving as an advisor to the Provost’s Office. He became senior fellow at CCIA in 2005, while remaining affiliated with the Michigan School of Information.
Kahin authored the principal RFC on commercialization of Internet (RFC 1192; 1990). He is the editor of Building Information Infrastructure (McGraw-Hill/Primis, 1992) and co-editor of Public Access to the Internet, (with James Keller, 1995), Standards Policy for Information Infrastructure (with Janet Abbate,1995), National Information Infrastructure Initiatives (with Ernest Wilson, 1996), Borders in Cyberspace (with Charles Nesson, 1997), Coordinating the Internet (with James Keller, 1997), Internet Publishing and Beyond (with Hal Varian, 2000), Understanding the Digital Economy (with Erik Brynjolfsson, 2000), Transforming Enterprise (with William H. Dutton, Ramon O’Callaghan, and Andrew W. Wyckoff, 2004), and Advancing Knowledge and the Knowledge Economy (with Dominique Foray, 2006). He served as co-editor of Information Infrastructure and Policy (1994-96).
Kahin’s work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the John and Mary R. Markle Foundation, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the Directorate General for Research of the European Commission. Corporate sponsors of the Information Infrastructure Project included Bellcore, AT&T, IBM, Hughes, Motorola, EDS, Nynex, DEC, Apple, McGraw-Hill, Microsoft, ANS, MITRE, and Delphi Internet.
Kahin has served on the boards of European Policy for Intellectual Property (EPIP), the Public Patent Foundation, and the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference. He served on the Association of American Universities Task Force on a National Strategy for Managing Scientific and Technical Information and the U.S. State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy, chairing the Committee’s Working Group on Intellectual Property, Interoperability and Standards. He has also served on the editorial advisory boards of the Boston University Journal of Science & Technology Law and Cyberspace Lawyer, the advisory board of the Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities, and the steering committee for the Software Patent Institute.
As an attorney, Kahin helped found the Interactive Multimedia Association (1986) and served as part-time General Counsel for ten years. He directed IMA’s Intellectual Property Project, managed testimony on patent policy, negotiated the IMA’s participation in the European IMPRIMATUR consortium, and organized public programs with the U.S. Copyright Office. He also served as principal counsel to FARNET (Federation of American Research Networks). As a consultant, Mr. Kahin’s clients included EDUCOM (now EDUCAUSE), the Council on Library Resources, and the U. S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment. Previous jobs include: coordinator for the MIT Research Program on Communications Policy and the MIT Communications Forum, director of an arts and technology project for a state arts agency, executive director of a media arts organization, lawyer in general practice, and screenwriter. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.
Kahin manages rental operations on the family ranch near Dubois, Wyoming, and is an investor in the revitalization of the historic Ramshorn Inn in downtown Dubois.