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Home >> Projects >> Projects by Theme >> New Technologies, Human Rights, and Transparency

New Technologies, Human Rights, and Transparency

New Technologies, Human Rights, and Transparency

This cross-disciplinary project supported by a grant from the provost's Global Engagement Fund in partnership with Wharton, Annenberg, PennLaw, and Engineering will examine the relationship between government and corporate power in today’s digitally networked world. Specifically, the project will bring together research partners from across the university and around the world to develop a methodology to evaluate and compare the policies and practices of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies as they affect Internet users' freedom expression and privacy in a human rights context.

The project also includes a cross-institution research group to explore free expression and privacy online, associated public policy issues, and methods for educating the public about how new communications technologies affect citizens' rights and liberties in the Internet age. In Spring and Fall of 2013 it will organize two related research workshops and two university-wide high-profile public speaker events with noted experts.

For more information about the project please visit



Rebecca MacKinnon is a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation where she conducts research, writing, and advocacy projects focused on the intersection of networked technologies, human rights, and corporate accountability. She is author of Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle For Internet Freedom (Basic Books, 2012). In 2013 she is working with CGCS on the interdisciplinary project, New Technologies, Human Rights and Transparency.

From September 2010-August 2012 MacKinnon was a Bernard Schwartz Senior Fellow also at the New America Foundation. Concurrently in the Spring of 2012 was Hearst Professional-in-residence at 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 co-founder of Global Voices Online (, a path-breaking global online citizen media network.  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 and was Beijing Bureau Chief and Correspondent from 1998-2001, then served as CNN’s Tokyo Bureau Chief and Correspondent from 2001-03.  From 2004-06 she was a fellow at Harvard, first at the Shorenstein Center on the Press and Publicy Policy and then at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. In 2007-08 she taught online journalism at the University of Hong Kong’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre. In 2009 she conducted research and writing as an Open Society Fellow, and in the Spring of 2010 she was a Visiting Fellow at Princeton’s Center or Information Technology Policy. MacKinnon received her AB magna cum laude from Harvard University and was a Fullbright scholar in Taiwan in 1991-92. She currently lives in Washington DC.