Becky Hogge is a writer and former activist specialising in the social impact of new technology. Her writing on information politics, human rights and technology appeared regularly in UK political magazine the New Statesman. She has also been published in, among others, The Atlantic, Index on Censorship, the Guardian, Prospect, Arc and (way back in the day) Dazed and Confused and The Face. View her portfolio.
Her book about hacker culture, Barefoot into Cyberspace: Adventures in search of techno-Utopia, was flash-published in the Summer of 2011. The book was well-received, variously described as “brave” (Steven Poole), “brilliant” (Paul Mason), “readable and informative” (Bill Thompson), “colourful” (Rebecca MacKinnon) and “nifty” (Stewart Brand).
As one happy reader observed at the time:
Frankly, anyone who can build the movie Easy Rider into her story, quote Steppenwolf lyrics and name-check the great Enlightenment radical Tom Paine deserves to be read.
For two years, Becky was the managing editor, and then technology director, of the award-winning global politics magazine openDemocracy. During her time with openDemocracy she helped launch the China environment website chinadialogue.net – the world’s first truly bilingual blog – along with editor Isabel Hilton.
In 2007, Becky joined then-fledgling digital rights advocacy organisation the Open Rights Group, as its first full time Executive Director. During the two years she did this job, she made frequent radio and television appearances and was quoted in every broadsheet and tabloid in Britain. Her proudest moment was unveiling a giant picture of Gordon Brown made out of CCTV cameras on Parliament Square, although changing UK policy on electronic voting and communications surveillance also felt good.
For four years from 2018, Becky worked as a Program Officer for the Open Society Foundations’ Information Program, engaging with issues of discrimination in automated decision-making, algorithmic transparency and narrow AI, and managing an annual grant-making budget of over $2m. It was a special time, and some of the groups she funded during her tenure have risen to define the field.
In between these startling lapses into salaried employment, as well as ploughing her furrow as a writer and raising a couple of children, Becky has consulted for NGOs, media companies and major grant-giving foundations, and played clarinet in the Brighton-based post-punk anarcho-folk band Pog. For a while, Becky appeared alongside Neil Denny as a regular presenter of Little Atoms, a radio show about ideas of the Enlightenment that is broadcast on London’s Resonance 104.4. Audio is the killer app of the digital age, and she hopes one day to return to this kind of work.
Becky was a board member of the Open Knowledge Foundation until 2013, and she has sat on the Advisory Council of that organisation, as well as for the Foundation for Information Policy Research and the Open Rights Group. She was a member of the UK telecommunications regulator OfCom’s Advisory Committee for England from 2012 until 2018. She is currently an Honorary Research Fellow in technology and law at the University of Sussex.