Cameran Ashraf, Ph.D.


chashraf@ucla.edu | PGP key

Cameran Ashraf


Curriculum Vitae | LinkedIn | @cameranashraf

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, 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 as an invited expert for the Kofi Annan Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age. He has also appeared in the New York Times, National Public Radio, Wired Magazine, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

He has advised the International Criminal Court on digital security, given expert input to the offices of U.S. Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain on global censorship policy, 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.

Cameran continues to work for human dignity and freedom of expression through teaching, research, and meaningful 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. He completed his Ph.D. at UCLA on the geopolitics of Internet censorship and cyberwar.