Cameran Ashraf is an assistant professor at the School of Public Policy, human rights defender, and co-founder of international human rights and technology organization AccessNow, one of the largest organizations defending human rights in the digital age. In recognition of his work, the European Parliament selected AccessNow as a 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 authoritarian regimes. Cameran and his team defended critical websites from state-sponsored attacks, provided personal communications security to hundreds of vulnerable activists and journalists, distributed anti-censorship tools used by over 40,000 people daily, and enabled more than 3 million human rights video downloads from inside authoritarian states.
He has been invited to speak at Harvard University, MIT, UC Berkeley, and was an invited expert for the Kofi Annan Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age. Cameran has also appeared in the New York Times, National Public Radio, Wired Magazine, and elsewhere. In 2017, he 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. His work on the loss of personal identity from Internet censorship was awarded First Place in the 2015 Global Voices Advocacy Essay awards by Google. Other work on Slate opened an important dialogue on the psychological toll of digital activism.
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.
Cameran continues to work for human dignity through teaching, consulting, research, and meaningful hands-on engagement with students.