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Research Fellow - Ranking Digital Rights

Location: Washington, DC

Department: Ranking Digital Rights - OTI

Type: Temporary

Min. Experience: Mid Level

Ranking Digital Rights (RDR), a non-profit human rights and corporate accountability project affiliated with New America’s Open Technology Institute, recently partnered with Consumer Reports and several other leading privacy, security, and human rights organizations to develop a “digital standard” for measuring the privacy and security of products, apps, and services.  The goal is to encourage companies to prioritize consumers’ data security and privacy needs, and to help consumers make informed choices. The first version of the standard was unveiled in March 2017 at thedigitalstandard.org. More information about RDR can be found at rankingdigitalrights.org.

Starting in the summer of 2017 RDR will work with Consumer Reports to test elements of the standard drawn from RDR’s own research indicators (see rankingdigitalrights.org/2017-indicators) and methodology on selected services, apps and other products. We seek an experienced researcher who is passionate about getting companies to better protect users’ privacy and security, and who is excited about the power of research to raise consumer awareness, for a one-year fellowship position. A creative thinker with strong writing and communication skills, this Research Fellow will work with RDR and Consumer Reports staff to determine the scope and direction of the two organizations’ future collaboration. 

In addition to producing articles and reports for publication by Consumer Reports, the fellow may also participate in related RDR research that directly contributes to or enhances their research for Consumer Reports, publish articles about their research for other outlets, and/or participate in relevant conferences, media interviews, and other professional opportunities.

This fellowship is a paid, full-time commitment for approximately one year with a monthly stipend. The fellow may work from New America’s offices in Washington DC or remotely from other locations. Precise details such as location, start date, exact duration, and stipend will depend on the successful candidate’s location, availability, and experience. 

Application instructions: In addition to cover letter (explaining why you are qualified for this fellowship) and CV, please submit a short memo (maximum 2000 words) that will: 

1.    analyze the relationship between the RDR indicators (rankingdigitalrights.org/2017-indicators) and the digital standard (www.thedigitalstandard.org/the-standard); 

2.    describe what you think should be the primary goal of a partnership between RDR and Consumer Reports; and 

3.    propose 2-3 distinct research project ideas that would apply selected criteria from the standard to a particular set of services, apps, or devices and which would further the goal articulated in #2.

Please also provide two writing samples or other work product samples that showcase your ability to research and write about consumer privacy and security issues.

Application Deadline: June 15, 2017.

About Ranking Digital Rights
Ranking Digital Rights is a non-profit research initiative housed at New America’s Open Technology Institute, working with an international network of partners to set global standards for how companies in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector should respect freedom of expression and privacy. The project produces a Corporate Accountability Index which in 2017 ranked 22 of the world's most powerful Internet and telecommunications companies on their disclosed commitments, policies, and practices affecting freedom of expression and privacy. 

About the Open Technology Institute:
The Open Technology Institute at New America is committed to freedom and social justice in the digital age. To achieve these goals, it intervenes in traditional policy debates, builds technology, and deploys tools with communities.

About New America:
New America is dedicated to the renewal of American politics, prosperity, and purpose in the Digital Age. We carry out our mission as a nonprofit civic enterprise: an intellectual venture capital fund, think tank, technology laboratory, public forum, and media platform. Our hallmarks are big ideas, impartial analysis, pragmatic policy solutions, technological innovation, next generation politics, and creative engagement with broad audiences.


New America is an equal opportunity employer committed to hiring a diverse workforce at all levels of the organization thereby creating a culture that allows us to better serve our clientele, our employees and our communities. We value and encourage the contributions of our employees and strive to create an environment where everyone can reach their full potential and drive outstanding results. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, gender identity or expression, or any other basis protected by local, state, or federal law. This policy applies with regard to all aspects of one’s employment, including hiring, transfer, promotion, compensation, eligibility for benefits, and termination.

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Please submit a short memo (maximum 2000 words) that will:

1. analyze the relationship between the RDR indicators (rankingdigitalrights.org/2017-indicators) and the digital standard (www.thedigitalstandard.org/the-standard);

2. describe what you think should be the primary goal of a partnership between RDR and Consumer Reports; and

3. propose 2-3 distinct research project ideas that would apply selected criteria from the standard to a particular set of services, apps, or devices and which would further the goal articulated in #2.*
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