Cameran Ashraf is an assistant professor at the School of Public Policy, a human rights defender, and co-founder of AccessNow, one of the largest international human rights organizations dedicated to defending human rights in the digital age and finalist for the 2010 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, the European Union’s highest human rights honor.
In 2009 Cameran assembled a team providing digital security and Internet censorship circumvention to democracy activists, journalists, and human rights defenders in closed societies - facilitating freedom of information for millions of people around the world. His international human rights and technology work included defending critical websites from state-sponsored attacks, providing personal communications security for vulnerable activists and journalists, distributing anti-censorship tools used by thousands of people daily, and facilitating more than 3 million video downloads from inside authoritarian regimes.
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, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek. 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 psychosocial history of technology.
He is a recipient of the University of California's Herbert F. York Global Security Fellowship and awardee of the 2009 "Break the Blackout" grant from Avaaz.org. 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 work, which appeared on Slate, opened an important dialogue on the psychological toll of digital activism.
Cameran continues to work for human dignity and freedom of expression through teaching, consulting, research, and meaningful hands-on engagement with students. To that end, he recently served as Deputy Director of the Open Society Foundations Internship for Rights and Governance, helping to prepare the next generation of human rights defenders.
His research interests include human rights and the Internet, cyberconflict, and the psychosocial impacts of technology. He completed his Ph.D. at UCLA on the geopolitics of Internet censorship and cyberwar.