A Conversation with Rebecca MacKinnon

Room 101, McKinley Building, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016

October 6, 2014 2:30pm

The Center is pleased to announce that Rebecca MacKinnon, co-founder of the citizen media network Global Voices Online and expert on journalism in the digital age, is coming to American University. She will be speaking about government and corporate control over Internet communication, the issues she explores in her book Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle For Internet Freedom.

About the book:


Many commentators have debated whether the Internet is ultimately a force for freedom of expression and political liberation, or for alienation, and repression. Rebecca MacKinnon moves the debate about the Internet’s political impact to a new level. It is time, she says, to stop arguing over whether the Internet empowers individuals and societies, and address the more fundamental and urgent question of how technology should be structured and governed to support the rights and liberties of all the world’s Internet users.

Consent of the Networked is a call to action: Our freedom in the Internet age depends on whether we defend our rights on digital platforms and networks in the same way that people fight for their rights and accountable governance in physical communities and nations. It is 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.

Read more here.

About the author:

Rebecca MacKinnon is director of the Ranking Digital Rights project at the New America Foundation, developing a system to rank the world’s most powerful Internet, telecommunications, and other ICT sector companies on free expression and privacy criteria.

MacKinnon is co-founder of the citizen media network Global Voices Online. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists and was a founding board member of the Global Network Initiative.  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 he has held fellowships at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press and Publicy Policy, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, the Open Society Foundations, Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy, and the New America Foundation. 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 Fullbright scholar in Taiwan.