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Laura O'Brien

Senior UN Advocacy Officer

Laura is Access Now’s Senior UN Advocacy Officer, where she advances international law and norms on digital rights at international organizations, particularly the United Nations. Her work focuses on a range of issues including: internet shutdowns, connectivity, cyber and digital security, privacy and surveillance, shrinking civic space, sustainability, and freedom of peaceful assembly and association in the digital age — where she co-authored Access Now’s first report on the topic. Laura also represents Access Now on the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) Advisory Network and the FOC’s Task Force on Internet Shutdowns, which Access Now serves as co-chair with the United Kingdom and the Global Network Initiative. Prior to Access Now, Laura dedicated her human rights advocacy efforts through strategic litigation support, including at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and providing legal research support to human rights organizations, clinics, and experts — including two U.N. Special Rapporteurs — on a range of topics, namely business and human rights. Laura holds an LL.M. from Columbia Law School where she graduated with honors as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and with a Parker School Certificate of Achievement in International and Comparative Law. In 2019, Laura was awarded a Columbia Law School LL.M. Public Interest and Government Fellowship at Access Now. She also holds a J.D. from the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, an M.A. in International Development from the University of Kent, Brussels School of International Studies, and a B.A. Honors Specialization in Social Justice and Peace Studies from King’s University College at Western University. She is a licensed barrister and solicitor with the Law Society of Ontario. Laura is a former ballet dancer, avid matcha drinker, and enjoys yoga, art, and photography.
Watermark and generative AI

Joint statement: Finding the good in the first UN General Assembly resolution on artificial intelligence

10 Apr 2024

We, the undersigned civil society organizations, welcome the United States-led United Nations (UN) General Assembly resolution “Seizing the opportunities of safe, secure and trustworthy artificial intelligence systems for sustainable development.”

Press Release
Joint statement: Finding the good in the first UN General Assembly resolution on artificial intelligence
10 Apr 2024
Joint statement: Finding the good in the first UN General Assembly resolution on artificial intelligence
Human Rights 75 Pledges

Internet shutdowns and the UDHR: why internet access matters for human rights in the digital age

11 Dec 2023

On the 75th anniversary of the UDHR, we explain why stopping internet shutdowns is key for upholding fundamental human rights in the digital age.

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Internet shutdowns and the UDHR: why internet access matters for human rights in the digital age
11 Dec 2023
Internet shutdowns and the UDHR: why internet access matters for human rights in the digital age
Russia #KeepItOn elections

Before critical year for democracy, 38 States condemn internet shutdowns amid elections

10 Oct 2023

Today, thirty-eight governments, who compose the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC), condemn internet shutdowns and network disruptions amid elections.

Press Release
Before critical year for democracy, 38 States condemn internet shutdowns amid elections
10 Oct 2023
Before critical year for democracy, 38 States condemn internet shutdowns amid elections
Digital rights

Oral Statement – UN Ad Hoc Committee on Cybercrime 6th Session (NY) Arts 6-10, 36

29 Aug 2023
Publication
Oral Statement – UN Ad Hoc Committee on Cybercrime 6th Session (NY) Arts 6-10, 36
29 Aug 2023
Oral Statement – UN Ad Hoc Committee on Cybercrime 6th Session (NY) Arts 6-10, 36
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Oral Statement – UN Global Digital Compact Thematic Deep Dives – 24 April 2023

24 Apr 2023
Publication
Oral Statement – UN Global Digital Compact Thematic Deep Dives – 24 April 2023
24 Apr 2023
Oral Statement – UN Global Digital Compact Thematic Deep Dives – 24 April 2023
International Womens Day Header

Silenced, spied on, and stalked: why we’re taking the fight for gender equality to the UN

6 Mar 2023
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Silenced, spied on, and stalked: why we’re taking the fight for gender equality to the UN
6 Mar 2023
Silenced, spied on, and stalked: why we’re taking the fight for gender equality to the UN
Regulating digital platforms

Las directrices de la UNESCO para regular las plataformas digitales deben centrarse en los derechos humanos para todas las personas, en todas partes

21 Feb 2023
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Las directrices de la UNESCO para regular las plataformas digitales deben centrarse en los derechos humanos para todas las personas, en todas partes
21 Feb 2023
Las directrices de la UNESCO para regular las plataformas digitales deben centrarse en los derechos humanos para todas las personas, en todas partes
Regulating digital platforms

UNESCO’s guidelines for regulating digital platforms must center human rights for everyone, everywhere

21 Feb 2023
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UNESCO’s guidelines for regulating digital platforms must center human rights for everyone, everywhere
21 Feb 2023
UNESCO’s guidelines for regulating digital platforms must center human rights for everyone, everywhere
European Media Freedom Act

Submission to the UNESCO Consultation on “Internet for Trust – Towards Guidelines for Regulating Digital Platforms for Information as a Public Good”

24 Jan 2023
Publication
Submission to the UNESCO Consultation on “Internet for Trust – Towards Guidelines for Regulating Digital Platforms for Information as a Public Good”
24 Jan 2023
Submission to the UNESCO Consultation on “Internet for Trust – Towards Guidelines for Regulating Digital Platforms for Information as a Public Good”
Image: Taxonomy of internet shutdowns

#KeepItOn: 34 governments demand Iran ends internet restrictions

21 Oct 2022

Access Now welcomes the growing global pressure on Iranian authorities to immediately reinstate internet access across the nation.

Press Release
#KeepItOn: 34 governments demand Iran ends internet restrictions
21 Oct 2022
#KeepItOn: 34 governments demand Iran ends internet restrictions