With the conclusion of our fiscal year 2013 activities, OTF has a multitude of projects receiving support that are taking on a variety of challenges to help protect free speech on the Internet. We strove to build on the successes achieved and lessons learned in our inaugural year. The best means to do this was listen to OTF projects themselves on how we could improve efficiency and better serve the community we’re tasked with supporting. While we believe the OTF projects described below achieved that outcome, that will ultimately be decided by the thriving community we seek to serve.
Receiving it’s second year of support was the Freedom2Connect Foundation. F2CF subsequently determined that these funds would be provided to the University of California-Berkeley’s Counter-Censorship Incubator and Evaluation Testbed. The dual focus of the program is to help incubate new circumvention tools and assist in their dissemination, while providing a platform for rigorous testing of counter-censorship tools in a laboratory setting.
Security Research Labs is utilizing OTF support to assess the level of mobile network security for end users. This project will create and enhance measurement tools for additional modern GSM networks, enhance the automation of the measurement process and publish overall assessment in order to give users an understanding of the security on the mobile network they use.
Vietnam Open Internet Project
As part of Viettan, this project will focus on expanding the availability of tools and support for Vietnamese citizens. With pervasive Internet blocking, along with monitoring and subsequent arrests of human rights activists, Vietnamese citizens are in desperate need of additional tools to protect their free speech rights. This project will support a resource center for circumvention & digital security for the average Vietnamese netizen; the No Firewall online platform to continue to localize new manuals and guides, while promoting existing tools; and a help desk for bloggers, digital activists, citizen journalists, human rights defenders in need of support.
Small World News
Through our support of the Guardian project last year, Small World News helped create the Storymaker android app. StoryMaker is a tool to help citizen journalists produce better content. It was designed with security in mind. Currently, StoryMaker can publish video content securely via a custom YouTube uploader. This project will add options for secure photo publishing to flickr, secure audio publishing to SoundCloud, private publishing of any media to a private server via SSH, and secure photo and video sharing to Facebook.
Open Whisper Systems
Open Whisper Systems is best known for its Redphone and Textsecure Android apps, allowing users to send and receive encrypted phone calls and text messages. OTF is supporting the development and release of iOS versions of both of these mobile apps, while also supporting the addition of a data channel across Textsecure. OTF is also supporting a new Android app called Secure Sync. The default android backup service sends a a plaintext copy of everything sync’d. Fortunately, Android has a mechanism for others to seamlessly provide different sync functionality. Secure sync will take advantage of this mechanism to offer Android users encrypted backup.
Tactical Tech Collective
The Tactical Tech Collective produces the widely utilized Security-in-a-box (Siab) resource. Siab teaches human rights defenders how to practice safe communication habits that help them to continue doing their work unimpeded and to circumvent harassment and censorship. However, the TTC infrastructure is not suited to easily support maintenance of existing languages and adding new languages of the online toolkit despite frequently receiving offers to do them. TTC will update this infrastructure and establish a reliable workflow which professionalized the translation process.
We look forward to seeing the great outcomes that result from these projects and to continuing to shape the OTF program based on the feedback we receive from our projects and the community at large. If you have thoughts or suggestions, please contact us.