Cameran Ashraf is an assistant professor of new media and global communications, human rights activist, and social entrepreneur. His research is focused on the current and historical relationship between space, technology, and the state as well as the broader psycho-political and psycho-social impacts of technology.
In 2009 he assembled a team providing digital security and Internet filter circumvention to high-value activists, journalists, and individuals in closed societies - facilitating freedom of information for millions of people around the world. Cameran and his team defended critical websites from state-sponsored attacks, provided personal communications security for hundreds of vulnerable activists and journalists, distributed proxy servers used by over 40,000 people daily, and enabled more than 3 million video downloads from behind the firewall.
His work led Cameran to co-found AccessNow, an international human rights organization dedicated to defending and extending the digital rights of users at risk around the world. In recognition of his work, the European Parliament selected AccessNow as a finalist for the 2010 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, Europe's highest human rights honor.
Cameran has been invited to speak at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, UC Berkeley, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, UCLA, and elsewhere. He has appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, National Public Radio, Wired Magazine, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the New Internationalist, and the Global Mail. In 2017, Cameran participated in the 57th Venice Biennale as part of the Hungarian National Pavilion with his essay "I Want to Know Everything!" on the psycho-social history of technological development.
He is a recipient of the University of California's Herbert F. York Global Security Fellowship, a selected participant for Oxford University's Summer Internet Institute, Senior Fellow at the Alliance for Youth Movements, awardee of a "Break the Blackout" grant from Avaaz.org. His most recent work, appearing on Global Voices, examines the loss of personal identity from Internet censorship and was awarded First Place in the 2015 Global Voices Advocacy Essay awards sponsored by Google. Other recent work, which appeared on Slate, opened an important dialogue on the psychological toll of digital activism.
He completed his Ph.D. at UCLA on the geopolitics of Internet censorship and cyberwar.