Dr. Usha Ramanathan is a globally acknowledged expert on law and poverty. Her research works mainly focus upon the areas of human rights, displacement, torts and environment.
Access Now, an international digital rights organisation, has declared her a ‘human rights hero’. She criticized the Aadhaar programme, a biometric identification system where a 12-digit unique number can be obtained by residents of India based on their demographic and biometric data.
Access Now has said that every year, the organisation recognises and acknowledges the work of people world wide in the protection of human rights in the digital era. Access Now gives a title of a ‘hero’ to the ones who have protected the principles of freedom online and the title of ‘villain’ to those who have worked to undermine the same.
Other Recipients of this award for 2018 are Bahraini digital security trainer Mohammed al-Maskati,, Tanzanian digital security activist Zaituni Njovu, Australian lawyer Lizzie O'Shea and and Venezuelan researcher Marianne Díaz Hernández. The earlier recipient of this award includes Justice Rohinton Nariman who has also been awarded for specifically citing the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance.
The award function will be held as a part of RightsCon, Access Now’s annual human rights and technology conference, in Tunis between June 11 and 14. The recipients will be awarded by Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights (OHCHR).