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Rebecca MacKinnon

Director, Ranking Digital Rights at New America

Rebecca MacKinnon is a leading advocate for digital freedom of expression and privacy around the world. She is author of the award-winning book, Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle For Internet Freedom (Basic Books, 2012). From New America, a civic enterprise in Washington DC, she directs the Ranking Digital Rights project whose Corporate Accountability Index works with an international research network to evaluate the world’s most powerful internet, mobile, and telecommunications companies on commitments and policies affecting users’ freedom of expression and privacy.

MacKinnon is co-founder of the citizen media network Global Voices, a borderless community of writers, digital media experts, activists and translators who give voice to the stories of marginalized and misrepresented communities and who advocate for the free expression rights of internet users. She also serves on the board of the Committee to Protect Journalists and is a founding member of the Global Network Initiative, a multi-stakeholder organization focused on upholding principles of freedom of expression and privacy in the ICT sector.

Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, MacKinnon was CNN’s Beijing Bureau Chief from 1998-2001 and Tokyo Bureau Chief from 2001-2003. Since leaving CNN in 2004 she has held fellowships at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press and Public Policy, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, the Open Society Foundations, and Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy.  For two years (2007-08) she served on the faculty of the University of Hong Kong’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre, taught as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in Fall 2013, and was a visiting affiliate at University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication’s Center for Global Communications Studies from 2012-2014.  MacKinnon received her AB magna cum laude from Harvard University and was a Fulbright scholar in Taiwan. She presently lives in Washington DC.