Rebecca MacKinnon

Director, Ranking Digital Rights

Rebecca MacKinnon is director of the Ranking Digital Rights project which works to set global standards for how companies in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector and beyond should respect freedom of expression and privacy. The project's inaugural 2015 Corporate Accountability Index ranked 16 of the world's most powerful internet and telecommunications companies on their disclosed commitments, policies, and practices affecting freedom of expression and privacy. Future iterations of the Index will expand over time to include more companies that produce a broader range of digitally networked products and services with implications for global human rights.

Author of Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom (Basic Books, 2012) MacKinnon is co-founder of the citizen media network Global Voices. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists and was a founding member of the Global Network Initiative. Before launching the Ranking Digital Rights project, she was a senior research fellow (2012-2013) and Bernard L. Schwartz senior fellow (2010-2012) at New America. She is also a visiting affiliate at the Annenberg School for Communication’s Center for Global Communications Studies.

Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, MacKinnon was CNN’s Beijing Bureau Chief from 1998-2001 and Tokyo Bureau Chief from 2001-2003. Since 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. In 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, and was a 2013 adjunct lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She received her AB magna cum laude from Harvard University and was a Fulbright scholar in Taiwan.

All Work

"China's 600 Million Searchers Push Global Internet Towards Censorship"

“There’s an effort to get American and European companies to be more transparent on how they handle government information requests,” said R

Companies Need to Work Harder to Keep the Internet Open

The aftermath of the Arab uprisings has proved that unfettered internet access does not magically produce prosperity and pluralism – yet in

Joining Zone Nine

“We want more openness, more transparency,” Ethiopian writer Endalkchew Chala observes. “People deserve choice; people deserve access to the

Google Plus finally gives up on its ineffective, dangerous real-name policy

After three years, Google finally got it. Google now admits it was wrong to require real names on Google Plus, and it’s apologized for takin

NAF Submits Comments to the European Commission on ICT Sector Guidance

Consent of the Networked

A global struggle for control of the Internet is now underway.