Benjamin Power

Position title: Ph.D. Candidate: International Relations | Comparative Politics



Research Interests:

Internet Governance, Human Rights, Surveillance, Digital Privacy, International Law, Information Politics, Blockchain Technologies


Ben is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. His research uses the frame of human rights to explore how new technologies affect the relationship between citizens and the state. His dissertation project argues that the effect of disruptive ICTs is to make citizens more legible to the state, as governments accrue new resources of informational power and constrict the size of the private sphere. This argument is built on analysis of distributed ledgers (e.g. blockchains) and anonymized browsing technologies such as Tor, and substantiated through case studies of digital identity schemes, cryptocurrencies, darknet markets, and press freedom.

Prior to commencing study at UW Ben worked on a range of development programs with the Delegation of the European Union to Timor-Leste, as a research assistant on corporate human rights issues at the Sydney University Law School, and on e-Health and electronic procurement policies for state and federal governments in Australia. He completed the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) at the Australian National University in 2010, earning the University Medal for Political Science, and the Master of International Law at Sydney University in 2012. In Fall 2018 Ben designed and lectured the course LS 409: Human Rights in Law and Society, and has also served as a Teaching Assistant for a wide range of online and offline courses within Political Science at UW and at ANU.