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Seeta Peña Gangadharan is a Senior Research Fellow with the Field Team at the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute (OTI). Her research lies at the intersection of technology, civil society, and communication policy. She researches the nature of digital inequalities, data and discrimination, social dynamics of technology adoption, communication rights, and media justice. She also writes about the politics of communication policymaking, who’s heard, and who has power in debate and decision making.
Since joining OTI in July 2011, she has written and spoken widely about digital inclusion, privacy, surveillance, and marginal Internet users. Her work has identified privacy and surveillance norms and practices among members of underserved populations and exposed the lack of privacy and surveillance knowledge among frontline staff at digital literacy organizations. She has also compared current-day data profiling to pre-digital examples of surveillance of poor people and communities of color. With colleagues, she has looked at individuals reliant on public Internet access and the challenges they face in adopting end-user solutions to improve privacy and security. Between 2011 and 2013, she led an extensive evaluation of the impacts of Broadband Technology Opportunities Program-funded digital literacy projects and public computer centers in Philadelphia, which demonstrated the critical importance of social support networks to the success of broadband adoption in underserved populations.
Prior to OTI, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, where she initiated a project on the tension between digital inclusion and data profiling. Her PhD work, completed at Stanford University, investigated the politics of communication policymaking, with a focus on the rulemaking process at the Federal Communications Commission.
Her work has appeared in the International Journal of Communication, First Monday, Communication, Culture & Critique, New Media & Society, and Journal of Communication Inquiry, and she as co-edited two books, Online Deliberation: Design, Research, and Practice, and Alternatives on Media Content, Journalism, and Regulation.
She is a visiting fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School.