Staff Biography

Rebecca MacKinnon

New America Foundation

Rebecca MacKinnon

New America Foundation

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 (2012) and co-founder of Global Voices Online, the citizen media network and digital rights advocacy organization.

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. She is concurrently an adjunct lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and affiliate at the Annenberg School for Communication’s Center for Global Communications Studies where she leads a new project, Ranking Digital Rights.

MacKinnon’s 2011 TED Talk on the struggle for freedom and control in cyberspace was chosen by the Huffington Post and TED as one of the 18 “groundbreaking ideas that will reshape the world in 2012.” In 2012 the Columbia Journalism Review listed her as one of “40 women who changed the media business in the past 40 years.” She has testified in Congress several times on matters related to global Internet freedom and US policy, is quoted regularly by the world’s most influential newspapers, and appears frequently as a commentator about Internet issues on radio and television.

Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, MacKinnon worked as a journalist for CNN in Northeast Asia for 12 years, including as Beijing Bureau Chief and Correspondent from 1998–2001, and Tokyo Bureau Chief and Correspondent from 2001–03. She has held fellowships at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press and Publicy Policy and Berkman Center for Internet and Society, the Open Society Fellowship, and Princeton’s Center or Information Technology Policy. For two years from 2007–08 she taught online journalism and conducted research on Chinese Internet censorship at the University of Hong Kong’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre. 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.