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Values & Principles

Every moment presents us with new challenges and opportunities. We have no perfect formula, set of processes, or workflows to accomplish our work. To guide us, we have embedded a set of values and principles derived from listening to the network of communities supporting us. They shape our vision and intimately affect all aspects of our work.

Our Mission

We support open technologies and communities that increase free expression, circumvent censorship, and obstruct repressive surveillance as a way to promote human rights and open societies.

Our primary focus

We support research, development, and implementation programs focused on increasing:

  • Access to the internet, including tools to circumvent website blocks, connection blackouts, and widespread censorship;
  • Awareness of access, privacy, or security threats and protective measures, including how-to guides, instructional apps, data collection platforms, and other efforts that increase the efficacy of internet freedom tools;
  • Privacy enhancement, including the ability to be free from repressive observation and the option to be anonymous when accessing the internet; and
  • Security from danger or threat when accessing the internet, including encryption tools.

Our values & principles

We believe …

… in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion, expression, and the press; including the right to seek, receive and impart information without interference through any media, regardless of frontiers.

… the best way to protect these freedoms is to passionately support a free and open internet.

… in the doctrine of open philanthropy and governance, to share openly with the public and other stakeholders, in a non-competitive fashion, all possible aspects of our work, including what we have learned.

… the greatest ideas are iterative innovations: supported by healthy ecosystems that share, use, and build openly and collaboratively; built by embracing change through experimentation, reflection, and adaptation without fear of failure.

… to sustain long-standing positive change, we must be more than just makers of technology. We must also shift social norms, improve laws, and affect market forces. We strive to identify the root of a challenge, it’s interconnectedness, so that we can be apart of holistic solutions.

… in prioritizing sustainable and holistic strategies over resolving issues efficiently. To do so, we empower existing networks addressing challenges, and focus on strategies that work in situations where scarce resources or intersecting systems of oppression may exist.

… the actual impact of any effort we support should be measured by evaluating the experience of those who are at the receiving end of the engagement.

… cultivating a diverse and collaborative network of communities is at the core of what we do; that our power originates from our depth and relevance in those communities and the individual efforts within our organization.

… our strongest moments are when we listen, are changed by what we hear, and follow those diverse voices while solving the most pressing challenges collectively. We emphasize a community’s power, not its powerlessness.

A commitment to creating an inclusive, diverse community

The Open Technology Fund is part of a global community working against repressive censorship and surveillance that is made up of individuals from all walks of life who are found in all corners of the world. Our own Team, Advisory Council and Fellows speak 10+ languages and represent diverse collectives that face their own unique challenges. It is through these unique experiences that these same people offer a set of skills and knowledge that are valuable to the ecosystems we are apart of. However, our global communities, not unlike others, face issues of inequality that must be tackled head on, collaboratively together.

We recognize the importance and challenge of creating an environment where all voices feel valued, included, and empowered to bring their perspectives to the table. Not only are we committed to taking on that challenge, but will strive to better support underrepresented voices in the communities we support through a variety of means.

We hold our team, projects and Advisory Council to the following principles:

  1. We believe all people, regardless of background, should be treated with dignity and respect. We will not tolerate discrimination or exclusion based on individual characteristics and circumstances, such as: age; disability; caring or dependency responsibilities; gender or gender identity; marriage and civil partnership status; political opinion; pregnancy and maternity; race, colour, caste, nationality, ethnic or national origin; religion or belief; sexual orientation; socio-economic background; trade union membership status or other distinctions. Inequities perpetuated by these distinctions degrade human dignity, represent a waste of talent, a denial of opportunity for self-fulfillment, and contradict our goals.
  2. We value creating safe spaces where people can share their perspectives, ideas, knowledge and culture without fear of retaliation, retribution or violence, or feeling belittled.
  3. We are committed to empowering underrepresented groups in all the communities we support, and will work diligently to remove barriers, inequalities, patterns of under-representation, discrimination, and harassment so their voices are truly present in the decision making process.

While we strive to build a fair, open and just society, we expect and anticipate challenges to these principles. We are committed to responding constructively and positively, respecting different needs and circumstances, so everyone can achieve their potential.