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Alec Ross (government official)

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Columbia University

Government official

Alec Ross

Organizations founded
One Economy Corporation

November 30, 1971
Charleston, West Virginia, U.S.

Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs

Northwestern University, University of Bologna

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Alec Ross (born November 30, 1971) is a technology policy expert who was Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the duration of her term as Secretary of State. After leaving the Department of State he joined Columbia University’s School of International & Public Affairs as a Senior Fellow and is the author of the book The Industries of the Future. Ross is currently a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Johns Hopkins University.


Alec Ross (government official) Alec Ross Leaving State Department for Private Sector


Alec Ross (government official) alecrossjpg

After graduating in 1994 from Northwestern University with a B.A. in history, Ross moved to Baltimore as a Teach for America corps member. Ross taught for two years and then accepted a position as special assistant to the president of the Enterprise Foundation. He focused on developing business, technology and fundraising strategies.

Alec Ross (government official) Alec Ross government official Wikipedia the free

In 2000, he co-founded the nonprofit One Economy, a global nonprofit that uses innovative approaches to deliver the power of technology and information about education, jobs, health care and other vital issues to low-income people.

Ross resides in Baltimore with his wife and three children.

Political career

Alec Ross (government official) Internet Freedom

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Ross played a key role in developing then-Sen. Barack Obama's technology and innovation plan.

In April 2009, Ross joined the State Department as Senior Advisor on Innovation. Hillary Clinton described his work by saying that "Alec Ross has been my right hand on all that we're doing for internet freedom."

Through his work at the State Department, Ross institutionalized ways to use Web video and social networking sites. In 2009 he told U.S. News and World Report, "It's about how can you reach large numbers of people who otherwise would be difficult to impossible to reach." Ross argued that governments using modern communications technologies can be more creative and responsive in how they enable people to engage directly with each other and with other countries.

Ross also drove efforts to aide other countries through digital development initiatives like wiring schools, adding wireless capacity to public works, text-message reminders to HIV patients, and leap frogging communities from cash culture to mobile banking. During the Libyan uprising, Alec drove the State Department's efforts to "restore communication networks in rebel-held territories such as Benghazi, working with the late Amb. Chris Stevens, to fight the Internet blackout imposed by Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi." Ross' team also "provided communications technologies to opposition members in the Syrian border areas and trained NGOs on how to avoid the regime's censorship and cyber snooping."

During his tenure at the State Department, Ross was a vocal critic of efforts to control or surveil the internet.

In addition to concerns over countries increasing surveillance capabilities, Ross highlighted cases where businesses prioritized profit motives over the potential harms of technologies. In 2011, he publicly "criticised the developers of internet surveillance equipment who were willing to sell their services to repressive regimes and allow governments to censor their citizens.”

Ross is the author of the forethcoming book "The Industries of the Future."


  • 2016: Alec Ross. The Industries of the Future. Simon & Schuster.
  • Articles

  • 2013: Alec Ross. Light Up the West Bank: Want to reinvigorate the Middle East peace process? Start with 3G. Foreign Policy.
  • 2012: Alec Ross. How connective tech boosts political change. CNN.
  • 2011: Alec Ross and Ben Scott. 21st Century Statecraft. NATO Review.
  • 2010: Alec Ross. Internet Freedom: Historic Roots and the Road Forward. The SAIS Review of International Affairs Volume 30, Number 2, Summer-Fall
  • 2007: Simon Rosenberg and Alec Ross. A Laptop in Every Backpack with Simon Rosenberg. NDN Globalization Initiative.
  • Awards

  • Distinguished Honor Award from the US Department of State
  • One of 40 leaders under 40 years old in International Development,
  • Disruptive Innovation Award, from the TriBeCa Film Festival.
  • Oxford Internet Institute OII Award 2013.
  • Huffington Post Game Changers 2010.
  • Foreign Policy Magazine "Top 100 Global Thinkers" 2011.
  • Newsweek Digital Power Index Top 100 2011.
  • TriBeCa Film Festival Disruptive Innovator Award 2012.
  • Politico's "50 Politicos to Watch" 2010.
  • References

    Alec Ross (government official) Wikipedia

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