Jessica Dheere is director of Ranking Digital Rights at New America, a program that works to promote freedom of expression and privacy on the internet by creating global standards and incentives for companies to respect and protect users’ rights. She is founder, former executive director, and board member of SMEX, the Middle East’s leading digital rights research and advocacy organization. As a 2018–19 research fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, she launched the CYRILLA Collaborative, a growing community of practice and open legal database dedicated to identifying legal trends at the intersection of human rights and cyberlaw. She is also a member of the 2019-20 class of Technology and Human Rights Fellow at Harvard’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, where she is researching technology policy as a form of political power in the Gulf states.
Dheere has presented at the Internet Governance Forum, the Milton Wolf Seminar on Media and Diplomacy, RightsCon, and the International Journalism Festival, on a range of internet policy and human rights topics, including the impact of national law on multistakeholder internet governance, the implications of extraterritorial jurisdiction in the Global South, and the challenges of upholding human rights standards on the Arab internet. Her recent publications include “Misguiding Multistakeholderism: A Nongovernmental Perspective on the Arab IGF,” and a legal research methodology for locating digital rights-related law.
She is a member of the inaugural advisory Network to the Freedom Online Coalition, a partnership of 30 governments working to advance internet freedom, and co-chair of the policy committee of the Global Network Initiative, a multistakeholder alliance that helps companies respect freedom of expression and privacy rights in the face of increasing government demands.
She graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in art history and Latin American studies, and earned her master’s in media studies from the New School in New York City. In 2014, she was awarded a scholarship to study intensive Arabic as a Middlebury College Kathryn Davis Fellow for Peace.