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avatar for Kate Ruane

Kate Ruane

PEN America
Sy Syms Director, U.S. Free Expression Porgrams
New York NY
Kate Ruane is the Sy Syms Director, U.S. Free Expression Programs at PEN America. An attorney with a strong background in legal research, Kate is committed to the freedom of speech and to bringing focus to the ways in which a strong commitment to free expression benefits communities of color, religious minorities, the LGBTQ communities, and other marginalized groups. As director of U.S. free expression programs, Kate leads PEN’s work advocating for the protection of free expression, particularly from harmful policy proposals, and oversees PEN America’s disinformation resilience programming.
Most recently, Kate led US policy at the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit that hosts Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects, where she worked to bring focus to the projects’ community-driven content moderation model. Prior to joining Wikimedia, Kate was the Senior Advisor for the First Amendment and Consumer Privacy at the American Civil Liberties Union. In that capacity, she worked with policymakers and ACLU affiliates to protect the right to protest and speech both online and off, to ban law enforcement use of dangerous surveillance technologies, like facial recognition systems, to improve safeguards on foreign surveillance authorities, and to respond to growing threats to democracy.
Kate graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and from American University, Washington College of Law.