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Rebecca MacKinnon

Lecturer in Law

Rebecca MacKinnon is a Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation where she conducts research, writing, and advocacy at the intersection of networked technologies, human rights, and corporate accountability. She is author of the award-winning book, Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle For Internet Freedom (Basic Books, 2012) and is co-founder of Global Voices Online, a path-breaking international citizen media network and digital rights advocacy organization.

MacKinnon is a lecturer at Penn Law and visiting affiliate at the Center for Global Communications Studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, where she leads a university-wide interdisciplinary project called New Technologies, Human Rights, and Transparency, part of a new international research project focused on developing a methodology for assessing ranking Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector companies on free expression and privacy criteria called Ranking Digital Rights.

A founding board member of the Global Network Initiative, a multi-stakeholder organization that advances corporate responsibility and human rights in the technology sector, MacKinnon also serves on the Board of Directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists and chairs the board of Global Voices Online.

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 was 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.


  • Free Speech
  • Human Rights
  • Global Human Rights
  • Foreign Policy
  • Cyberlaw
  • Copyright
  • Privacy Law
  • Corporations
  • Non-Profit Organizations

Research Areas

  • The intersection of networked technologies, human rights, and corporate responsibility. See:


Senior Research Fellow, New America Foundation

Co-Founder, Global Voices Online (

Founding Board Member, Global Network Initiative (

Project Lead, Ranking Digital Rights (


  • 987001- Human Rights, Corporate Responsibility, and Information Communications Technology (ICT) - with Cynthia Wong

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