A former international journalist who is also a leading advocate of freedom of expression on the Internet will speak about threats to those rights on Wednesday, Jan. 20.
Rebecca MacKinnon, the author of the award-winning book “Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom,” will speak from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Bronco Student Center’s Ursa Major suite.
MacKinnon was CNN’s Beijing bureau chief from 1998-2001 and the Tokyo bureau chief from 2001-2003. She will discuss the dynamics among governments, corporations and citizens in cyberspace, warning that a convergence of unchecked government actions and unaccountable company practices threatens the future of democracy and human rights.
“Is it time to stop thinking of ourselves as passive ‘users’ of technology and instead act like citizens of the Internet as netizens – and take ownership and responsibility for our digital future?” MacKinnon asks.
The speech is part of the First Year Experience Program’s Common Read events. The Office of Academic Programs encourages all first-year students to attend.
MacKinnon directs the Ranking Digital Rights project at New America, a non-partisan think tank based in Washington, D.C. The project ranks the most powerful Internet and telecommunications companies on policies and practices affecting users’ freedom of expression and privacy.
MacKinnon is co-founder of Global Voices, a community of more than 800 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 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 that is focused on upholding principles of freedom of expression and privacy in the technology sector.
After 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.
From 2007-08, she was a member of the faculty of the University of Hong Kong’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre, and taught as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She is also a visiting affiliate at the Annenberg School for Communication’s Center for Global Communications Studies at the University of Southern California.
MacKinnon received her bachelor’s magna cum laude from Harvard University and was a Fulbright scholar in Taiwan.