Jon Penney is a legal scholar and social scientist based at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, in Toronto. He is also a Faculty Associate at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society and a long time Research Fellow at the Citizen Lab based at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.
A native of Halifax, Canada, he studied law at Columbia Law School as a Fulbright Scholar and at Oxford University as a Mackenzie King Scholar. He holds a doctorate in Information, Communication, and the Social Sciences from the Oxford Internet Institute and is a Senior Research Fellow on the Technology and Social Change Project at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy. Before that, was Research Affiliate of Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy.
Jon’s research and teaching expertise lies at the intersection of law, technology, and human rights, with strong interdisciplinary and empirical dimensions. From established technologies like the internet and social media to emerging ones like artificial intelligence and machine learning, he aims to understand the legal, ethical, and human rights implications of technology and its role in public and private sector practices such as surveillance, privacy/data protection, cybersecurity, disinformation/manipulation, online abuse, and automated legal enforcement. His award winning work has received national and international attention, including coverage in the Washington Post, Reuters International, New York Times, Newsweek, TIME Magazine, NBC News, and The Intercept among others.
Beyond research and teaching, Jon serves on Advisory Boards for the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI), a non-profit whose mission is to combat online abuse that threatens civil rights and civil liberties, and the Law Commission of Ontario’s AI and Administrative Decision-Making Project. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Directors for The Canadian Technology Law Association and the Steering Committee for the Free and Open Communications on the Internet (FOCI) workshop, which is co-located at the annual USENIX Security Symposium.