About the Project

A global struggle for control of the Internet is now underway. At stake are no less than civil liberties, privacy and even the character of democracy in the 21st century.

Networked technologies affect global business, politics and culture in unprecedented ways. It crucial for all of us to understand how technology shapes our lives – as well as who is shaping that technology, how they are doing it, and why.  It is time to stop thinking of ourselves as passive “users” of technology and instead act like citizens of the Internet – as netizens – and take ownership and responsibility for our digital future.

If citizens in today’s globally interconnected world do not have sufficient information about how companies and governments are shaping their digital lives, they will not be in a position to defend their rights through political processes.  Since early 2013 we have shifted this project from its broader focus to a very specific part of this problem with a new research and advocacy project: Ranking Digital Rights, which brings together researchers and advocates who are now working to develop a methodology to evaluate and rank the world’s major Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies on their  policies and practices related to free expression and privacy.

In 2012 this project carried out a broader range of research, reporting and journalism: The weekly Netizen Report, produced in partnership with Global Voices Advocacy (which continues to appear every week on the GVA site); original field reports and blog updates by project contributors; and excerpts from articles commissioned by our media partners including Foreign Policy and Slate. These activities were discontinued at the end of 2012 due to lack of funding.

Project Director: Rebecca MacKinnon, a Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation, Co-founder of Global Voices Online, and author of Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom.

If you have questions or suggestions, or would like to contribute to the project, please contact us at: netizenproject AT gmail DOT com

(Updated: July 6, 2013)


  1. Why no Facebook page?

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