Hal's been interested in the policy side of the house for a while now,
dating back at least to when he & I stirred the PGP/RSADSI pot in late '93.
Check out http://www-swiss.ai.mit.edu/6805/, home page for "Ethics & Law
on the Electronic Frontier," which he's taught a few times now.
In this case, what you're seeing is a result of both Hal & Jim Miller being
involved teaching 6.001 (S&ICP) this term.