Rebecca MacKinnon: a Fangirl’s Post for Ada Lovelace Day

Suw Charman-Anderson of Open Rights Group fame, announced her pledgeto publish a blog post on Tuesday 24th March about a woman in technology whom I admire but only if 1,000 other people will do the same.”

Well, I’m not usually one to take the girl-power bait, but Ada Lovelace Day seems like a fun opportunity to out myself as a fangirl. The gender debates have by no means reached a catharsis, but rather than tangling myself in that web today, I’ll dedicate a post to a Lady of the Interwebs that I admire: Rebecca MacKinnon.

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To start off, Rebecca has a CV that makes your jaw drop: former head of CNN’s Beijing and Tokyo bureaus, Assistant Professor at the Journalism and Media Studies Center, Fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and Open Society, a member of the inaugural Wikimedia Foundation Advisory Board, and and and.

But more important than just a resume laundry list, Rebecca’s been a tremendous force in amplifying voices from regions underrepresented in Western media. In December 2004, Rebecca and Ethan Zuckerman launched Global Voices Online, an international network of bloggers and citizen journalists reporting, summarizing, and translating the news and blogosphere opinion around the world.

Beyond journalism, Rebecca dedicated a lot of energy to lowering legal and technical barriers to sharing creative content. She’s been involved in a project near and dear to my heart, Creative Commons. In October 2008, CC Hong Kong launched as Creative Commons’ 50th jurisdiction. Rebecca was behind the effort to bring CC to Hong Kong since Day 1, and she’s been curating good arguments for it ever since.

In the meanwhile, she finds time to publish articles on censorship, China, and other juicy internets topics. What’s more, despite all the high-brow accomplishments, Rebecca is an incredibly down-to-earth person, articulate, smart, and judging from the brief time we worked together, very kind.

So there you have it. The fangirl is outed; you’ve heard my high praise for a woman in tech I admire. Now what about you? Join the pledge and tell the ‘webs about your geek heroine!

Image: “Rebecca MacKinnon” by Joi, available under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Unported license.

One comment

  1. hongkongphooey · March 24, 2009

    Ya, fan of Rebecca here.