I am a researcher studying digital technologies, human rights activism and authoritarian politics. My ongoing work centers on digital transnational repression and the ways authoritarian regimes use digital technologies to extend political control and repression across borders. I also work as a consultant and write journalistic articles.
Currently I work as a Senior Researcher for the Citizen Lab in a project on gender-based digital transnational repression. Between December 2019 and February 2022, I was a senior post-doctoral researcher in the research group on Law, Science, Technology and Society (LSTS) at Vrije Universiteit Brussel where I investigated digital surveillance and transnational repression against exiled activists from the Middle East, funded by a Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship of the European Union (DIGIACT). Previously, I was a Senior Information Controls Fellow with the Open Technology Fund. From 2014 until 2018 I worked as a lecturer and postdoc researcher in the Political Science Department of the University of Amsterdam, primarily in the research project “Authoritarianism in a Global Age”.
I hold a PhD in Media and Communication Studies from the University of Erfurt in Germany (2012) and a Master’s in Middle Eastern Studies from the Université de Provence Aix-Marseille in France (2003). I spent almost three years in Tehran, Iran with a research fellowship of the Institut français de recherche en Iran (IFRI) and a scholarship for Persian language studies of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). I also lived for five years in Islamabad, Pakistan, while accompanying my partner on a mission for the German development cooperation.
I grew up in East Berlin and the fall of the wall remains a defining moment of my life. The sudden opening and the fundamental change after 1989 have instilled an enthusiasm for exploration in me and a profound respect for all those who resist dictatorship.