Expert on Technology and Society Featured in Pew Research Internet Project Report

Lievrouw’s research examines the numerous influences that media and information technologies bring to society and culture.

Dr. Leah A. Lievrouw was one of several experts who contributed to a recent report by the Pew Research Internet Project on “Net Threats.” The professor of information studies at UCLA’s Department of Information Studies cautioned that increasing surveillance, restriction, and even criminalization of Web activity may hinder the public ability to creatively use the Internet.

“There are too many institutional players interested in restricting, controlling, and directing ‘ordinary’ people’s ability to make, access, and share knowledge and creative works online—intellectual property rights holders, law enforcement and security agencies, religious and cultural censors, political movements and parties, etc.,” Lievrouw was quoted as saying. “For a long time I’ve felt that the utopianism, libertarianism, and sheer technological skill of both professional and amateur programmers and engineers would remain the strongest counterbalance to these restrictive institutional pressures, but I’m increasingly unsure as the technologists themselves and their skills are being increasingly restricted, marginalized, and even criminalized.”

Professor Lievrouw’s research examines the numerous influences that media and information technologies bring to society and culture. She explores a number of information society issues, including social networks and social differentiation, intellectual freedom, and information equity.

Before joining the faculty of UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies in 1995, Lievrouw served on the faculty of Rutgers University and the University of Alabama. She has also taught courses in UCLA’s Communication Studies program, and has served as a visiting professor at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research, the University of Amsterdam, and at the ICT & Society Center at the University of Salzburg.

Lievrouw holds a Ph.D. in communication theory and research from the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California. She received an M.A. in biomedical communications/instructional development from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, and her Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.

In 2006, Professor Lievrouw was selected as a Fellow of the Sudikoff Family Institute for Education & New Media at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. Her most recent book is, “Challenging Communication Research,” which is part of the International Communication Association’s Theme Book series. (New York: Peter Lang International Academic Publishers. 2014). Dr. Lievrouw’s responsibilities as theme chair for ICA’s annual conference in London last year included creating this edited volume.