Jean-François Blanchette

Jean-François Blanchette is Associate Professor in the Department of Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the author of Burdens of Proof (MIT Press).

  • Regulating the Cloud

    Regulating the Cloud

    Policy for Computing Infrastructure

    Christopher S. Yoo and Jean-François Blanchette

    The emergence of the cloud as infrastructure: experts from a range of disciplines consider policy issues including reliability, privacy, consumer protection, national security, and copyright.

    The emergence of cloud computing marks the moment when computing has become, materially and symbolically, infrastructure—a sociotechnical system that is ubiquitous, essential, and foundational. Increasingly integral to the operation of other critical infrastructures, such as transportation, energy, and finance, it functions, in effect, as a meta-infrastructure. As such, the cloud raises a variety of policy and governance issues, among them market regulation, fairness, access, reliability, privacy, national security, and copyright. In this book, experts from a range of disciplines offer their perspectives on these and other concerns.

    The contributors consider such topics as the economic implications of the cloud's shifting of computing resources from ownership to rental; the capacity of regulation to promote reliability while preserving innovation; the applicability of contract theory to enforce service guarantees; the differing approaches to privacy taken by United States and the European Union in the post-Snowden era; the delocalization or geographic dispersal of the archive; and the cloud-based virtual representations of our body in electronic health data.

    Contributors Nicholas Bauch, Jean-François Blanchette, Marjory Blumenthal, Sandra Braman, Jonathan Cave, Lothar Determann, Luciana Duranti, Svitlana Kobzar, William Lehr, David Nimmer, Andrea Renda, Neil Robinson, Helen Rebecca Schindler, Joe Weinman, Christopher S. Yoo

    • Hardcover $19.75 £14.99
    • Paperback $35.00 £27.00
  • Burdens of Proof

    Burdens of Proof

    Cryptographic Culture and Evidence Law in the Age of Electronic Documents

    Jean-François Blanchette

    An examination of the challenges of establishing the authenticity of electronic documents—in particular the design of a cryptographic equivalent to handwritten signatures.

    The gradual disappearance of paper and its familiar evidential qualities affects almost every dimension of contemporary life. From health records to ballots, almost all documents are now digitized at some point of their life cycle, easily copied, altered, and distributed. In Burdens of Proof, Jean-François Blanchette examines the challenge of defining a new evidentiary framework for electronic documents, focusing on the design of a digital equivalent to handwritten signatures.

    From the blackboards of mathematicians to the halls of legislative assemblies, Blanchette traces the path of such an equivalent: digital signatures based on the mathematics of public-key cryptography. In the mid-1990s, cryptographic signatures formed the centerpiece of a worldwide wave of legal reform and of an ambitious cryptographic research agenda that sought to build privacy, anonymity, and accountability into the very infrastructure of the Internet. Yet markets for cryptographic products collapsed in the aftermath of the dot-com boom and bust along with cryptography's social projects.

    Blanchette describes the trials of French bureaucracies as they wrestled with the application of electronic signatures to real estate contracts, birth certificates, and land titles, and tracks the convoluted paths through which electronic documents acquire moral authority. These paths suggest that the material world need not merely succumb to the virtual but, rather, can usefully inspire it. Indeed, Blanchette argues, in renewing their engagement with the material world, cryptographers might also find the key to broader acceptance of their design goals.

    • Hardcover $19.75 £14.99