Leslie Harris


Adjunct Faculty-CCT


Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
General profile

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Office hours

Thursday 12:30- 1:30 pm


Leslie Harris is an Internet freedom, civil liberties and human rights lawyer, public policy expert, lecturer and strategist. Since the Internet’s infancy, she has played a central role in building a public policy architecture for the Internet that supports free expression, innovation and openness. Harris has frequently testified before the United States Congress, Executive branch agencies and global bodies on issues ranging from cybersecurity and consumer privacy to intellectual property, electronic surveillance and global Internet freedom. She is also a regular speaker in key international forums and expert consultations on the intersection of human rights and Internet law and policy.
A pioneer on corporate social responsibility in the Internet sector, she co-led a multi-year process that lead to the creation of the Global Network Initiative (GNI) a first of its kind multi-stakeholder initiative, which advances freedom of expression, privacy and corporate accountability in the ICT sector, serving on its founding board. https://www.globalnetworkinitiative.org/

Most recently, Harris served as a visiting lecturer and researcher at the University of California at Berkeley’s School of Information and as Principal of the Harris Strategy Group. www.harrisstrategygroup.net.

From 2005 to 2014, Harris served as President /CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology, a globally respected Internet freedom organization working to keep the Internet open, innovative and free. She led the organization through a period of extraordinary growth and transformation, launching highly regarded projects on health privacy, global Internet freedom and Internet architecture and establishing a presence in Brussels, London and San Francisco. Under her guidance, the organization played a leadership role in the seminal Internet policy debates of the past decade including global Internet governance, consumer privacy, intellectual property, free expression, surveillance, cybersecurity and net neutrality.

Prior to joining CDT, Ms. Harris was the founder and President of the first woman led tech policy firm in Washington, Leslie Harris & Associates (LHA). Mission driven, LHA was committed to closing the digital divide, developing the democratic potential of the Internet, strengthening the voice of civil society and supporting innovation.

Earlier, Harris held senior policy leadership positions in two prominent civil liberties organizations, including as Chief Legislative Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington Office. She was also in private law practice in Washington, DC. Harris served in leadership positions in the American Bar Association, including as a member of the Council and as Chair of the Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities.

Previously, she was a senior adjunct fellow at the University of Colorado’s Silicon Flatirons. She also serves on the Advisory Boards of the Center for Copyright Information, http://www.copyrightinformation.org/, Ranking Digital Rights, https://rankingdigitalrights.org/, and CDT..


  • Juris Doctor (1979) Georgetown Law Center, Law
  • BA (1971) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Sociology