Open Technology Fund Announces New Information Controls Fellows

Wed, 2015-02-25 16:03

The Open Technology Fund (OTF) has selected 11 individuals as the newest Information Controls Fellowship Program (ICFP) fellows. This latest cohort features a diverse cast of technology experts from a variety of disciplines, all of whom are dedicated to the advancement of an open and freely accessible internet.

The new Information Controls fellows will be working to create solutions and remedies to online censorship and surveillance. They are students, lawyers, and hackers well-established in their respected fields of computer science, software development, social science, and more.

We’re excited to welcome the new ICFP fellows, and we can confirm they’ve hit the ground running, already making exciting progress as they settle in with their host organizations. Be sure to check back for progress updates as our fellows continue their hard work combating Internet censorship and surveillance.

The new fellows, along with their research focuses, are:

  • Enrico Calandro, a researcher at Research ICT Africa, will investigate African Internet users’ awareness and experience of censorship, surveillance, and internet safety and security.
  • Ben Jones, a second year CS PhD student in networking at Georgia Tech, will explore safe means of measuring Internet censorship at scale.
  • Moses Karanja, an International Relations graduate of the University of Nairobi, will compare the nature, form, and threats in Internet freedom from national security agencies in South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya.
  • Jeffrey Knockel, a PhD student and research assistant at the Department of Computer Science at the University of New Mexico, will advance the capabilities of censorship-tracking mechanisms by improving IP and TCP connectivity testing abilities.
  • Bill Marczak, co-founder of Bahrain Watch and a computer science PhD student at UC Berkely, will track use of oppressive spyware command and control servers by repressive governments.
  • Jason Q. Ng, a digital activism instructor at Columbia SIPA and Yale University and author of Blocked on Weibo: What Gets Suppressed on China’s Version of Twitter, will continue his investigations into how information controls are implemented in Chinese social media.
  • Enrique Piraces, vice president of the Human Rights Program at Benetech and founder of RightsLab, will develop the Harm Stories Framework, a methodological framework and toolset for the collection, preservation, and sharing of information about the impact of technology on the privacy, safety and security of users with particular emphasis on human rights defenders and journalists.
  • Abbas Razaghpanah, a second year PhD student in the Networking Research Group at Stony Brook University, will work on developing ICLab, a collaborative effort between Stony Brook University, Citizen Lab, and Princeton University that aims to provide a platform to enable rigorous and repeatable measurements of online information controls.
  • Will Scott, a graduate student in the Networking Lab at the University of Washington, will continue his work on Activist.js, a tool that helps publishers resist censorship by maintaining strong websites that are more resilient to network interference.
  • Bendert Zevenbergen, a PhD student at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, will study the ethics of networked systems research.

The ICFP was established in 2014 to cultivate research, programs, and creative collaboration focusing on information controls – specifically repressive Internet censorship and surveillance. It is modeled after other successful fellowship programs, and is jointly administered by Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. ICFP supports fellows to work within host organizations that are established centers of expertise by offering competitively paid fellowships.

To learn more about the ICFP, click here.

Want to be a fellow? Fill out this online form.

Interested host organizations can email [email protected].