Harry Halpin


Picture of Harry Halpin at Occupy Wall St.


Team member of Technology and Society Domain at the World Wide Web Consortium

Visiting Researcher at L'Institut de recherche et d'innovation du Centre Pompidou (IRI)

Postdoctoral Research Associate at Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, MIT


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I'm a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Team member in the Technology and Society Domain, where I lead efforts in identity and serve as Staff Contact for the W3C Web Cryptography Working Group. Directed by the inventor of the Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the W3C is the world's leading Web standards body to bring the Web to its full potential. I'm also currently writing a book on the philosophy of the Web under the direction of Bernard Stiegler under the PHILOWEB: Philosophy of the Web Project. Overall, both my technical and philosophical work is aimed at evolving the Web towards becoming a secure platform for free communication in order to enable collective intelligence.

Up until 2010 I was a postgraduate student of computer scientist Henry S. Thompson and the philosopher Andy Clark at the University of Edinburgh. My dissertation studied the impact of the Web over traditionally difficult questions of meaning and reference in philosophy of language, with applications to creating search engines over heterogeneous data, now available as the book "Social Semantics". Before joining W3C he was a visiting researcher working at semantic search at Yahoo! Research Barcelona and was a manager for the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory at Duke University. He also done residencies at the Santa Fe Institute for Complex Systems and the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University. He has over 40 publications published in academic and technical journals, conferences, and workshops covering identity, cryptography, search engines, natural language processing, and the philosophy of cognitive science. He is also President of LEAP (LEAP Encryption Access Project), which works on letting secure communication services be widely available, including to activists in places such as Syria. The importance of the Web is further described in "Defend the Web", an article I co-authored with Tim Berners-Lee.


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