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Announcing the Community Prototype Fund

| By: Tara Tarakiyee

Supporting community-informed ground-breaking technology prototypes

The Open Technology Fund (OTF) today announced the launch of the Community Prototype Fund (CPF), a new fund which aims to support the rapid development of innovative Internet freedom technology prototypes that serve the immediate needs of the human rights and Internet freedom communities. The CPF will support technologists and activists to bring to life ideas that help advance inclusive and safe access to global communications networks, counteract censorship and surveillance, and mitigate digital security threats for people in repressive environments.

Giving Big Ideas a Boost

OTF developed the Community Prototype Fund to address the lack of funding available for ground-breaking proof-of-concepts, feasibility studies, and early stage exploratory research in the Internet freedom space. Through the CPF, we’re creating a means through which public interest technologists can be empowered to do so - giving them the boost they need to develop solutions to pressing Internet freedom issues, as identified by the Internet freedom community itself.

The CPF will tap into this eager and capable cadre of public interest technologists by bridging the gap between them and the ideas which consistently emanate from inside the Internet freedom community. Oftentimes, ideas are floated that have real merit and potential, but which are not properly pursued due simply to a lack of resources and bandwidth. The CPF seeks to address this discrepancy, allocating relatively small funding amounts to foster good ideas and see that they are properly tested, explored, and potentially grown into full-scale projects.

How It Works

The CPF will feature an idea pool, populated with ideas sourced sourced from the wider Internet freedom community. The goal is for activists, journalists, and human rights defenders with urgent technology needs to submit their ideas to this pool, and Technologists can then view these ideas and apply to build them. Alternatively, if you have an idea and want to build it yourself, you can also apply to do that.

Ideal applications for this fund would include:

  • Exploratory research into novel approaches to address specific needs of Internet users in repressive environments.
  • Short-term low-cost efforts focused on testing a clear set of assumptions or to prove particular concepts.
  • Executing ideas that come from and are grounded in the realities of activists on the ground.
  • Enhancing open and collaborative approaches that enrich the community of open source Internet freedom projects.

Application and Award Information

Funding of up to $6,000 USD will be available for a maximum duration of 12 weeks for CPF projects. Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. Visit the Community Prototype Fund to submit an idea or apply!

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact Tara Tarakiyee, OTF Program Manager, at [email protected]

About the program: OTF’s Community Prototype Fund (CPF) supports the rapid development of innovative, viable and open Internet freedom technology prototypes that serve the immediate needs of the Internet freedom and human rights communities. Through short-term support, technologists and activists can bring to life nascent ideas that help advance inclusive and safe access to global communications networks, counteract censorship and surveillance, and mitigate digital threats to Internet freedom, specifically in repressive environments.

About OTF: The Open Technology Fund (OTF) works to advance Internet freedom in the world’s most closed, repressive environments. We support the research, development, and implementation of novel technologies that facilitate the free flow of information, increase at-risk users’ digital security, and enable free expression - helping to shape the Internet as a platform that respects fundamental human rights and reinforces core democratic values.