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Cameran Ashraf is an assistant professor at the School of Public Policy, Central European University, a human rights defender, and co-founder of international human rights and technology organization AccessNow. In 2009 he assembled a team providing digital security to the threatened activists, journalists, and vital leadership websites during Iran's Green Movement, "the first major world event broadcast worldwide almost entirely via social media".
Cameran and his team defended critical Green Movement websites from state-sponsored attacks, provided personal communications security for hundreds of vulnerable in-country activists and journalists, distributed proxy servers used by over 40,000 Iranians daily, facilitated more than 3 million protest video downloads from inside Iran, and played a key role in connecting millions worldwide to the peaceful protests.
This work led Cameran to co-found AccessNow, now one of the world's largest international human rights organizations dedicated to defending and extending the digital rights of users at risk. 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.
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), and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He has also appeared in the New York Times, 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 psycho-social history of technological development.
He is a recipient of the University of California's Herbert F. York Global Security Fellowship and awardee of a "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 recent 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, research, and meaningful engagement with students. He completed his Ph.D. at UCLA on the geopolitics of Internet censorship and cyberwar.