Roya Pakzad is the founder and director of Taraaz, a non-profit organization working at the intersection of technology and human rights. She is also the 2023-24 Practitioner Data and Democracy Fellow at the Karsh Institute of Democracy and the School of Data Science at the University of Virginia and an affiliated scholar at UC Berkeley’s CITRIS Policy Lab. Her work centers on researching human rights implications of digital technologies, corporate accountability, and human rights-centered design. 

Previously, she served as a Research Associate and Project Leader in Technology and Human Rights at Stanford University’s Global Digital Policy Incubator (GDPi). She also worked with Stanford’s program in Iranian Studies on the role of information and communication technologies and human rights in Iran. Prior to entering the human rights field, Roya was an electrical engineer at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). She holds degrees from Shahid Beheshti University in Iran (B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering), the University of Southern California (M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering) and Columbia University (M.A. in Human Rights Studies). 

Roya’s work has been featured in news and press outlets including Wired, Financial Times, BBC, CNN, and Reuters. It has also been recognized by various awards and fellowships from esteemed institutions such as the Center for Applied Data Ethics at the University of San Francisco, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, Meta, and Twitter Engineering.