2023 OTF Summit Recap

OTF held its eighth summit on January 24 - 26, 2023 - the first in-person summit since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mon, 2023-02-27 15:05

OTF held its eighth summit on January 24 – 26, 2023. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s meeting was the first opportunity for the community to come together in-person since 2019.

OTF welcomed its community of projects, fellows, and advisory council members to Austin, Texas to exchange learnings on building resilience to information controls and surveillance tactics, brainstorm how to overcome shared challenges, and discuss opportunities to strengthen the community at-large.

Over the week, OTF’s community held panel discussions and interactive workshops to share research and findings, assess the state and impact of crucial internet freedom tools and protocols, and discuss the context surrounding the current state of information controls globally. Across many of these sessions, attendees shared common thoughts of improving digital security tactics in response to the changing world of censorship and misinformation in order to stay several steps ahead of authoritarian actors. The summit highlighted the power of information exchange, with the community sharing useful resources and tactics to improve how we prepare for and respond to digital threats.

Developers of anti-censorship technologies gave an overview of their experiences responding to increased demand during authoritarian crackdowns on information, including navigating the technical challenges, the user experience, and the operation environment. These workshops delved into the infrastructural and geopolitical challenges, giving participants the chance to share their ideas. Researchers shared insights into threat intelligence to better battle the growing use of surveillance and censorship technology. Digital rights organizations organized practical and collaborative sessions to learn and share creative strategies and processes to improve the health of our teams and networks. Together, these community-led sessions facilitated collaborations between different projects across disciplines and helped exchange knowledge and expertise across the community.

In addition to the many sessions held during the summit, OTF announced its newest funding mechanism, the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Sustainability Fund, designed to support the long-term maintenance of FOSS projects and the communities that sustain them. FOSS is an increasingly vital resource in nearly all industries, public and private sectors, among tech and non-tech companies alike. Ensuring the health and security of FOSS is critical to the future of Internet freedom. Importantly, the FOSS Sustainability Fund is part of our commitment to support a diverse, vibrant, and sustainable ecosystem for FOSS software.

OTF also announced the opening of the Information Controls Fellowship Program (ICFP) for applications to its ninth fellowship cohort. The ICFP program supports individuals working to examine restrictions on the free flow of information by repressive governments.