Alec Ross
Personal details
Born (1971-11-30) November 30, 1971 (age 52)
Charleston, West Virginia, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationNorthwestern University (BA)
WebsiteOfficial website

Alec Ross (born November 30, 1971) is an American author, technology policy analyst, and educator.

Ross was Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the duration of her term as Secretary of State.[1] After leaving the Department of State in 2013 he joined the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University as a Senior Fellow.[2] Ross subsequently became a visiting fellow at Johns Hopkins University.[3] Ross is currently a distinguished adjunct professor at the University of Bologna Business School[4][5] and a board partner at Amplo.[6][7]

Ross is the author of two books, The Industries of the Future and The Raging 2020s: Companies, Countries, People – and the Fight for Our Future.[8][9][10]


Ross was born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia.[11] His father was a lawyer and his mother was a paralegal.[12] At age 12 he moved to Italy for a year to live with his grandfather, Ray DePaulo, who was the commercial minister at the U.S. embassy in Rome.[12] Ross attended college at Northwestern University.[13]

After graduating in 1994 from Northwestern University with a B.A. in history,[12] Ross moved to Baltimore to work at Booker T. Washington Middle School as a Teach for America AmeriCorps Member.[12][13][14] Ross taught for two years and then accepted a position as special assistant to the president of the Enterprise Foundation.[15]

In 2000, he co-founded One Economy, a nonprofit which aimed to provide technology and information to economically-limited groups; it ceased operations in 2012.[1][16][17]

Government service

Ross teaching at Oxford University

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Ross played a role in developing then-Sen. Barack Obama's technology and innovation plan serving as the Convener for the Technology & Media Policy Committee.[18][19][20]

In April 2009, Ross joined the State Department as Senior Advisor on Innovation.[21][22] Ross was regarded as a "tech guru" at the State Department,[22] recognized by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as her "right hand" on efforts to promote "internet freedom".[23] Ross focused on ways to improve government use of Web video and social networking sites for diplomacy, as well as ways to engage the modern public.[24][25][26][27] While working as Senior Advisor on Innovation, Ross worked on initiatives such as wiring schools, adding wireless capacity to public works, text-message reminders to HIV patients, and assisting community transitions to mobile banking.[28][29] Ross received a Distinguished Honor Award for his work at the State Department.[30]

In addition to concerns over countries increasing surveillance capabilities, Ross highlighted cases where businesses prioritized profit motives over the potential harms of technologies. In 2011, he publicly "criticised the developers of internet surveillance equipment who were willing to sell their services to repressive regimes and allow governments to censor their citizens.”[31]

In 2023, Ross was appointed to serve on the Maryland Economic Council by Governor Wes Moore.[32]


In April 2017, Ross launched a campaign for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Maryland in 2018.[33][34] In February 2018 he announced as his running mate Julie Verratti, a craft brewery co-owner, former Senior Advisor at the Small Business Administration, and LGBT political activist.[35][36] In June 2018, Ross finished seventh in the nine candidate Democratic primary with 2.4% of the votes.[37]

Personal life

Ross lives in Baltimore, Maryland and in Italy with his wife and their three children.[11][38]





  1. ^ a b Kang, Cecilia (April 6, 2009), "Diplomatic Efforts Get Tech Support", The Washington Post.
  2. ^ "Alec Ross - Columbia University - Senior Fellow". Aspen Institute. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  3. ^ Patrick, Anna (March 27, 2016). "Charleston native, author Alec Ross to speak at Taylor Books". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved December 14, 2023.
  4. ^ "Alec Ross". BBS. Retrieved February 16, 2024.
  5. ^ "Ross, Alec". Bologna Business School. Retrieved December 14, 2023.
  6. ^ Geron, Tomio (May 22, 2019). "Susan Rice, Other Politicos Join Venture Firm Amplo". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved January 9, 2024.
  7. ^ "Amplo". Retrieved January 9, 2024.
  8. ^ The Industries of the Future. Simon & Schuster. February 2, 2016. ISBN 9781442399549. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  9. ^ "Best Sellers". The New York Times. February 29, 2016. Archived from the original on March 1, 2016.
  10. ^ Hill, Andrew (April 11, 2021). "A reading list to prepare for a post-pandemic age". Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  11. ^ a b Wood, Pamela. "Democrat Alec Ross, tech expert and author, says as Maryland governor he'll focus on 'what's next'". Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  12. ^ a b c d Conconi, Chuck, "WL Feature: Alec Ross, Digital Diplomat", Washington Life, March 25, 2010
  13. ^ a b Kurtz, Josh (March 7, 2017). "SCOOP: Baltimore tech entrepreneur ponders run for governor in 2018". Maryland Matters. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  14. ^ Philipsen, Klaus (March 30, 2017). "A Governor from Baltimore?". Community Architect Daily blog. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  15. ^ "Innovator Alec Ross Joins State Dept.," National Journal, April 6, 2009. "National Journal Online -- Tech Daily Dose -- Innovator Alec Ross Joins State Dept". Archived from the original on May 11, 2009. Retrieved June 3, 2009.
  16. ^ Rogin, Josh (January 12, 2024). "Tech guru Alec Ross leaves the State Department". Foreign Policy. Retrieved January 12, 2024.
  17. ^ Centri Tech (October 28, 2020). "Founding Members Of Global Non-Profit One Economy Corporation Announce Formation Of Centri Tech To Maximize The Full Potential Of Technology To Improve Lives". Retrieved August 20, 2023.
  18. ^ Alec Ross,Special to (June 20, 2012). "How connective tech boosts political change". CNN. Retrieved January 30, 2024.
  19. ^ McCauley, Mary Carole (June 18, 2016). "Book by Baltimore-based tech futurist makes global splash". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  20. ^ "Hillary Clinton Launches "21st Century Statecraft" Initiative by State Department", TechPresident, May 13, 2009.
  21. ^ "The Creative List: New Media", Washington Life, November 8, 2009.
  22. ^ a b Rogin, Josh (January 12, 2024). "Tech guru Alec Ross leaves the State Department". Foreign Policy. Retrieved January 12, 2024.
  23. ^ "SECRETARY CLINTON: REMARKS ON TECHCAMP VILNIUS JUNE 30, 2011 - Document - Gale Academic OneFile Select". Retrieved February 27, 2024.
  24. ^ "And Data for All: Why Obama's Geeky New CIO Wants to Put All Gov't Info Online | WIRED". August 28, 2018. Archived from the original on August 28, 2018. Retrieved January 18, 2024.
  25. ^ "P2P2G: The rise of e-diplomacy". POLITICO. June 4, 2009. Retrieved January 18, 2024.
  26. ^ Schwab, Nikki; Bedard, Paul (June 14, 2009). "Hillary Clinton Turns State Department Tech-Friendly". U.S. News.
  27. ^ Pavgi, Kedar (February 6, 2024). "The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers". Foreign Policy. Retrieved January 30, 2024.
  28. ^ "And Data for All: Why Obama's Geeky New CIO Wants to Put All Gov't Info Online | WIRED". August 28, 2018. Archived from the original on August 28, 2018. Retrieved January 30, 2024.
  29. ^ "Digital Diplomacy (Published 2010)". July 16, 2010. Retrieved January 30, 2024.
  30. ^ "Alec Ross". Retrieved February 27, 2024.
  31. ^ Wilson, Cherry (November 2, 2011). "Clinton adviser makes Twitter attack on surveillance equipment firms". The Guardian. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  32. ^ "Maryland Economic Council". Maryland Department of Commerce.
  33. ^ "Alec Ross for Governor". Alec Ross for Governor of Maryland. Archived from the original on July 11, 2018. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  34. ^ Kamisar, Ben (April 26, 2017). "Former State Department adviser announces run for Maryland governor". The Hill. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  35. ^ "Gubernatorial Candidate Alec Ross picks craft brewery owner Julie Verratti as his running mate". WMAR-TV. February 19, 2018. Archived from the original on February 22, 2018. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  36. ^ Cox, Erin (February 19, 2018). "Democrat Alec Ross picks Montgomery County brewer as running mate". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on February 19, 2018. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  37. ^ "Official 2018 Gubernatorial Primary Election results for Governor / Lt. Governor". Maryland State Board of Elections. Annapolis, Maryland: State Board of Elections. July 31, 2018. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  38. ^ ORSI, LUCA (November 2, 2020). "Elezioni Usa 2020, Alec Ross "La mia Bologna a stelle e strisce"". il Resto del Carlino (in Italian). Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  39. ^ "The Raging 2020s | Alec Ross | Macmillan". US Macmillan. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  40. ^ Ross, Alec (October 25, 2021). "From Cold War to 'Code War:' Why government needs tech talent now". Fast Company.
  41. ^ Ross, Alec (September 12, 2021). "The Pentagon's Army of Nerds". The Atlantic. Retrieved March 1, 2022.
  42. ^ "Want job security? Try online security". Wired UK. ISSN 1357-0978. Retrieved December 14, 2023.
  43. ^ ""Our Children and the Next Economy" by Alec Ross - Omnivoracious - The Amazon Book Review". Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  44. ^ Ross, Alec (January 29, 2016). "The Language Barrier Is About to Fall". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  45. ^ Ross, Alec (June 18, 2013). "Light Up the West Bank: Want to reinvigorate the Middle East peace process? Start with 3G". Foreign Policy. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  46. ^ Ross, Alec (June 20, 2012). "How connective tech boosts political change". CNN. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  47. ^ Ross, Alec; Ben Scott (2011). "21st Century Statecraft". NATO Review. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  48. ^ Ross, Alec (Summer–Fall 2010). "Internet Freedom: Historic Roots and the Road Forward. The SAIS Review of International Affairs". 30 (2). Retrieved November 17, 2011. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  49. ^ Rosenberg, Simon; Alec Ross (May 1, 2007). "Rosenberg". NDN Globalization Initiative. Retrieved November 17, 2011.