New Collaboration Supporting Human Rights Technology and Internet Freedom

Thu, 2016-07-14 13:19

As a platform that enables the human rights of free expression and assembly, the internet faces increasing repression from both government and corporate actors. Information controls, digital surveillance, and online censorship threaten access to information, organization, and human connection worldwide. Combating these encroachments has become critical to expanding and defending essential rights and social justice across every issue area and geographic region in the 21st century.

OTF is excited to announce a new collaboration with the Media Democracy Fund (MDF) to provide private funding support for open technologies and communities that increase free expression, circumvent censorship, and obstruct repressive surveillance. With the request from Congress that public funds be “matched, to the maximum extent practicable, by sources other than the United States Government, including from the private sector”, OTF and MDF’s new collaboration will generate increased support for high-quality and worthwhile internet freedom projects that might otherwise go unsupported due to a lack of resources.

MDF is an established and trusted funder with expertise in media and technology policy. By partnering with public interest and civil society organizations worldwide, MDF addresses pressing human rights issues rooted in how policies enacted today directly impact future prospects for social justice, digital equity, and open societies. Founded in 2006 as one of the first philanthropic organizations to focus on the future of freedom of expression and its protection on digital platforms, MDF has seeded organizations focused on increasing technology’s positive impact on at-risk populations; organized campaigns to ensure all people have access to an open, secure and affordable internet; and enabled numerous victories that protect and expand freedom of expression online and access to information.

For applicants and projects already supported by OTF (or MDF), this new collaboration changes nothing in terms of process or structure. Interested parties will still apply for funding via the OTF website. What will change going forward is that OTF/MDF are now able to offer increased support for repressed internet users and the global internet freedom community.

To manage the OTF-MDF collaboration, MDF recently hired Trinh Nguyen as a new Program Manager. Trinh comes from the Vietnamese pro-democracy movement, having worked to localize and distribute circumvention technology and tools.

For more information, please contact Trinh Nguyen, MDF’s Program Manager for the OTF-MDF collaboration at [email protected]PGP key