Webspecial: Rebecca MacKinnon

Jip Mennema and Ramiro Gomes Monteiro ,

In her ongoing struggle to democratize the Internet Rebecca MacKinnon has earned her stripes. As a former CNN Bureau Chief and current director of Global Voices, she has undertaken various efforts to lift the worlds Internet users from virtual serfdom to citizenship. In this interview, MacKinnon talks to us about the importance of citizen media, internet surveillance in China and Russia and the implications of new laws that may restrict Internet freedom.

Rebecca MacKinnon is at the forefront of the struggle for a free and democratic Internet. A former CNN Beijing and Tokyo Bureau Chief, MacKinnon is now co-founder of Global Voices, a community of bloggers and translators whose official mission is to "aggregate, curate, and amplify the global conversation online - shining light on places and people other media often ignore." In the meantime the website has grown to include a large list of bloggers from all over the world. She is a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, where she conducting research, writing and advocacy on global Internet policy, free expression, and the impact of digital technologies on human rights. She also serves on the Boards of Directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Global Network Initiative.

'We are citizens of these digital spaces, not just users. If you just think of yourself as a user, you are no better than a medieval serf.'

The future of the Internet

In her book Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle For Internet Freedom (2012), MacKinnon looks at the big questions surrounding the future of the Internet. As we are becoming increasingly dependent on it for different aspects of our lives, she argues for a democratization of cyberspace. We need to think about the roles of companies, governments and citizens in regulating and controlling the Internet.

Interview

In the following interview, MacKinnon talks to us about the importance of citizen media, internet surveillance, the accountability of private companies and democracy, amongst other things.

Interview with Rebecca MacKinnon Part 2/5:
Internet surveillance in China and Russia

Interview with Rebecca MacKinnon Part 3/5:
Democratizing cyberspace and the implications of SOPA

Interview with Rebecca MacKinnon Part 4/5:
Facebook

Interview with Rebecca MacKinnon Part 5/5:
Towards a free Internet, from serfdom to citizenship