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As a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation, Rebecca MacKinnon’s work focuses on holding technology companies accountable to universally recognized human rights standards on free expression and privacy. She is currently working with the University of Pennsylvania and Internews on a new project called Ranking Digital Rights, bringing together research partners from around the globe to develop a sound methodology to assess, compare, and ultimately rank the world’s most powerful information communications technology (ICT) companies on free expression and privacy criteria.
As a Bernard L. Schwartz senior fellow from September 2010 to August 2012, Ms. MacKinnon completed her first book, Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom (Basic Books, 2012) which was awarded the 2013 Goldsmith Book Prize. In 2012 MacKinnon was named Hearst Professional-in-residence by Columbia Journalism School and listed by the Columbia Journalism Review as one of “40 women who changed the media business in the past 40 years” primarily due to her role as cofounder of the international citizen media network, Global Voices Online. She also serves on the boards of directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Global Network Initiative, a multi-stakeholder organization that advances corporate responsibility and human rights in the technology sector.
Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, MacKinnon worked as a journalist for CNN in Beijing for nine years, serving as CNN’s Beijing bureau chief and correspondent from 1998-2001 and then as CNN’s Tokyo bureau chief and correspondent from 2001 to 2003. From 2004-06 she was a fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press and Public Policy research fellow and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, both at Harvard. In 2007 to 2008 she served on the faculty of the University of Hong Kong's Journalism and Media Studies Centre, where she taught online journalism and conducted research on Chinese Internet censorship. In 2009 she continued her research and writing as an Open Society Institute fellow, then spent the first half of 2010 as a visiting fellow at Princeton's Center for Information Technology Policy. She received her AB magna cum laude from Harvard College.