Rohan Grover

PhD Candidate @ USC Annenberg · Los Angeles, CA

About Me

Hi, I'm Rohan! I'm a doctoral candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC.

I study how human-data relations are constructed and (de)stabilized. I am especially interested in understanding how this happens by looking at internet policy and platform governance both in the US and transnationally.

My dissertation explores how data privacy regulations, such as the GDPR and CCPA, evolve through (mis)translated expectations and expertise among activists and policymakers, software engineers and platforms, and regulators and users—all while groups' distinct geopolitical and social dispositions contribute to shaping human-data relations and the future of privacy. My approach to this topic comes from my interest in building equitable sociotechnical systems that contribute to transnational social justice. Therefore, I draw from scholarship on critical data studies, platform studies and internet governance, policy and legal analysis, and science and technology studies (STS).

I also have secondary interests in political communication, journalism, and Indian technopolitics. For example, I have explored microtargeting practices on Facebook Ads by political campaigns, how state actors digitally mediate citizenship and political participation by promoting open source platforms and internet shutdowns, and digital news organizations' economic and technological responses to platform power. Many of these projects are directly inspired by my prior work experience as a product manager, data analyst, and digital strategist for digital media or advocacy organizations such as HuffPost, MoveOn, Planned Parenthood, and Upworthy.

My work has been published in New Media & Society, Political Communication, Telecommunications Policy; Information, Communication & Society; and the Asian American Policy Review; and has been presented at conferences such as ICA, APSA, AoIR, AEJMC, IAMCR, and TPRC. I am fortunate to have received research grants from APSA, AEJMC, the Center on Science, Technology, and Public Life, the Asian/Pacific/American Institute, and the Membership Puzzle Project. I am also affiliated with the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) and a member of the Global Internet Governance Network (GigaNet).

I hold a Master of Arts in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Please feel free to get in touch!


    Coming Up

    2024: A new journal article, "Beyond digital protection(ism)? Comparing data governance frameworks in Asia" (co-authored with Kyooeun Jang and Li Wen Su), is scheduled to be published in the Journal of Information Policy

    May 2024: A new journal article, "Platforms as templates: Emerging datafication dynamics in digital news outlets’ datawalls" (co-authored with Jeeyun (Sophia) Baik), is scheduled to be published in The Information Society

    May 11–16, 2024: Scheduled to present a paper on data protection compliance work at the annual ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Honolulu

    May 30–31, 2024: Scheduled to present a paper on privacy engineering expertise at the Privacy Law Scholars Conference in Washington, DC

    June 20–24, 2024: Scheduled to present two papers on privacy engineering expertise and metadata privacy at the International Communication Association (ICA) annual conference in Gold Coast, Australia


    January: Recognized as a Rock Star Reviewer by ICA's Communication Law & Policy Division


    December: Defended my qualifying exams and prospectus to my committee (Mike Ananny, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Christina Dunbar-Hester, Hernan Galperin, Jennifer Petersen)

    November: Awarded a Special Recognition for Outstanding Review by ACM CHI

    November: Organized two panels (with Pratik Nyaupane) on emerging dynamics of digital citizenship at the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) annual conference in Honolulu

    August: Began working as a research assistant with the newly founded research center, AI for Media & Storytelling (AIMS), an initiative of the USC Center for Generative AI & Society led by Mike Ananny and Holly Willis

    June: Published a journal article, "Contingent connectivity: Internet shutdowns and the infrastructural precarity of digital citizenship", in New Media & Society

    May: Awarded the Top Student Paper Award from ICA's Communication Law & Policy Division!

    May: Awarded the Top Student Paper Award from ICA's Philosophy, Theory, and Critique Division!

    April: Awarded 2 research grants from USC Annenberg and from the Center on Science, Technology, and Public Life

    April: Published a journal article, "Destabilizing race: Social movements as sites of political imagination" (co-authored with Rachel Kuo), in Political Communication

    January: Delivered a research presentation, "The trouble with transparency(ies) in data protection compliance work", at the USC Center on Science, Technology and Public Life's Graduate Student Research Symposium

    January: Participated in a hosted discussion of my research on transparency in data governance at the Media Law & Policy Scholars Conference (MLPSC)


    October: Delivered a research presentation, "From paywalls to datawalls? Platformization and datafication in digital news", at the USC Annenberg Research Seminar

    September: Published a journal article, "The geopolitics of digital rights activism: Evaluating civil society's role in the promises of multistakeholder internet governance", in Telecommunications Policy

    August: Began working as an assistant editor with the International Journal of Communication, led by Mike Ananny and Holly Willis

    July: Participated in a hosted discussion of my research on developers' experiences with data protection regulations at the UC Berkeley School of Information

    July: Published a book review of The Promise of Access by Daniel Greene in Information, Communication & Society

    May: Awarded 3 research grants from USC Annenberg, from the Center on Science, Technology, and Public Life, and (with Jeeyun (Sophia) Baik) from the AEJMC Newspaper and Online News Division

    April: Participated in a workshop on Triangulating Race, Capital, and Technology at CHI 2022 with a travel grant from SIGCHI

    January: Awarded a research grant from the AEJMC Law & Policy Division


    October: Published a conference paper, "Internet governance for whom? Civil society, representation, and digital rights", in AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research

    August: Began the PhD program at USC Annenberg

    August: Published a report, "Building healthy membership communities" (co-authored with Jennifer Kho), with the Membership Puzzle Project

    July: Awarded a research grant from the APSA Political Organizations and Parties Section

    May: Graduated with a Master of Arts in Media, Culture, and Communication from NYU

    May: Awarded the Distinguished Thesis Award from the NYU Department of Media, Culture, and Communication!

    May: Awarded a research grant from the Asian/Pacific/American Institute

    March: Awarded a research grant (with Jennifer Kho) from the Membership Puzzle Project

    February: Left my job as Senior Product Manager at HuffPost


    August: Began the MA program at the NYU Department of Media, Culture, and Communication

    May: Awarded a $20,000 merit scholarship, the Rosenberg Award, from NYU