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 U.S. State Department and the Global Network Initiative. 

Originally from Canada, Laura attributes her commitment to human rights based on her time spent in Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and Argentina. 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.

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