Frank McCourt, Executive Chairman of McCourt Global and Founder of Project Liberty, today announced the appointment of Dr. Tomicah Tillemann as the first president of Project Liberty, a far-reaching effort to build an internet where individuals have more control over their data, a voice in how digital platforms operate, and more access to the economic benefits of innovation. Project Liberty is supported by a $500-million commitment by McCourt and encompasses the work of the Project Liberty Foundation – a 501(c)(3) with an international partner network that includes Georgetown University, Stanford University, Sciences Po, and other leading academic institutions and civic organizations – and Amplica Labs, a technology business launched by McCourt Global that is focused on developing the next generation of digital infrastructure. Tillemann's hire marks an important step by McCourt to strengthen Project Liberty's technology, policy and governance expertise and further its mission to build a better web and better world.
"Never in my lifetime have we faced a more consequential inflection point for the future of democracy, technology and society," said McCourt. "Project Liberty was launched to end the weaponizing of private data, the exploitation of social media users and other Big Tech business practices that are devastating communities, threatening democracy worldwide and driving a youth mental health crisis. Tomicah is the ideal person to lead our broad-based efforts to build an internet that empowers people, enables us to reclaim our digital rights and better protects our kids. He has a unique understanding of how we can innovate our way forward, as well as the passion, vision and values needed to advance and expand the work of Project Liberty. We are thrilled to welcome him to our team."
"Frank and I share a deep belief that we can build our way to an internet that gives people more agency, more voice, and greater access to opportunity," said Tillemann. "I have dedicated my career to helping institutions and society navigate the challenges and opportunities around innovation. Frank is making a generational investment in this work at a time when these issues are creating existential pressure on democracy, as well as families who've been devastated by social media's negative impacts. I'm honored to be joining Project Liberty to help further this important cause."
As President of Project Liberty, Tillemann, who is based in Washington, D.C., will be a key member of McCourt Global's leadership team and serve as a strategic advisor to both the Project Liberty Foundation and Amplica Labs, which is led by Braxton Woodham, technologist and co-creator of the Decentralized Social Networking Protocol (DSNP.) Tillemann will also serve as Interim CEO of the Project Liberty Foundation, as its inaugural CEO, Martina Larkin, departs the organization this month.
Most recently, Tomicah Tillemann was the Chief Policy Officer for Haun Ventures, where he built policy architecture to support the next generation of the internet. Prior to Haun Ventures, he was a partner and Global Head of Policy at Andreessen Horowitz, where he oversaw the firm's policy work on digital assets.
Previously, Tillemann served as Senior Advisor to two secretaries of state. He joined the U.S. State Department in 2009 as Hillary Clinton's speechwriter after four years on the staff of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee advising then-Senators Joe Biden, Barack Obama and John Kerry. Tillemann also served as the Executive Director of the Digital Impact and Governance Initiative at New America, where he led programs to address social impact, finance and governance challenges worldwide. He managed the development and deployment of open-source technology platforms for partners at every level of government in the U.S. and abroad. Tillemann earned his B.A. from Yale University and M.A. and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
McCourt Global initiated and incubated the Project Liberty Foundation, which publicly launched as "Project Liberty" in June 2021. Months later, the organization evolved into an independent, international 501(c)(3) and released a groundbreaking, open internet protocol – the Decentralized Social Networking Protocol (DSNP) – to support the internet's next era and enable users to own and control their personal data.