• Communication Studies

Ryan Ellis

Associate Professor

Ryan Ellis is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Northeastern. Ryan’s research and teaching focuses on topics related to communication law and policy, infrastructure politics, and cybersecurity. He is the author of Letters, Power Lines, and Other Dangerous Things: The Politics of Infrastructure Security (MIT Press, 2020) and the editor (with Vivek Mohan) of Rewired: Cybersecurity Governance (Wiley, 2019). Prior to joining the Department, Ryan held fellowships at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). He received a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of California, San Diego.


  • Ph.D., Communication, University of California, San Diego, 2011
  • M.A., Communication, University of California, San Diego, 2005
  • B.A., Communication and Sociology, Boston College, 2002


  • Carnegie Fellow, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University (2017-2018)
  • Rita Lloyd Moroney Award for Scholarship on Postal History (2008)

Professional Experience

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University

Research/Publications Highlights

Ryan Ellis and Yuan Stevens. Bounty Everything: Hackers and the Making of the Global Bug Marketplace. Data & Society, 2022. Available Online: https://datasociety.net/library/bounty-everything-hackers-and-the-making-of-the-global-bug-marketplace/

Ryan Ellis. Letters, Power Lines, and Other Dangerous Things: The Politics of Infrastructure Security. MIT Press, 2020.

Ryan Ellis and Vivek Mohan (eds.) Rewired: Cybersecurity Governance. Wiley, 2019.

Ryan Ellis. “Anatomy of a Failed Intervention: The FCC Revisits Municipal Broadband.” Interventions: Communication Research and Practice. A. Shaw and D.T. Scott, D.T. (eds.). New York: Peter Lang, 2018. 131-142.

Ryan Ellis, Keman Huang, Michael Siegel, Katie Moussouris, and James Houghton. “Fixing a Hole: The Labor Market for Bugs.” New Solutions for Cybersecurity. Howard Shrobe, David L. Shrier, and Alex Pentland (eds). Cambridge: MIT Press, 2018: 129-159.

Ryan Ellis. “Disinfecting the Mail: Disease, Panic, and The Post Office in 19th Century America.” Information & Culture: A Journal of History. 52.4 (2017): 436-461.

Ryan Ellis. “Regulating Cybersecurity: Institutional Learning or a Lesson in Futility?” IEEE Security & Privacy. 12.6 (2014): 48-54.

Ryan Ellis. “The Premature Death of Electronic Mail: The United States Postal Service’s E-COM Program, 1978-1985.” International Journal of Communication. Vol. 7 (2013): 1949-1967.

Professional Affiliations

Faculty Affiliate, School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Northeastern University
Faculty Affiliate, Global Resilience Institute, Northeastern University
Faculty Affiliate, Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute, Northeastern University
Affiliate, Data & Society Research Institute
Member, International Communication Association

Research Interests

  • Cybersecurity
  • homeland security
  • information and communication technologies
  • Infrastructure politics
  • regulation
  • risk
  • science and technology policy