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OTF Monthly Report for July 2015

| By: Dan McDevitt

In FY 2015, OTF has so far received more than 200 submissions from projects and fellows seeking support. In July, OTF received 27 submissions for fellowships under the new Digital Integrity Fellowship program, and following internal reviews, invited 10 concept notes to submit full proposals to OTF.

Notable accomplishments

  • Security First has released their final version of Umbrella App, which provides an easy-to-follow checklist on operational security best practices. It can be downloaded on the Google Play Store here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.secfirst.umbrella

  • A revised version of Firefly, a proxy software to help circumvent China’s Great Firewall, has been released and is available here: https://github.com/yinghuocho/download/blob/master/firefly-proxy-win-latest.zip?raw=true

  • LEAP Platform, which improves users’ security by offering a suite of secure communication tools for service providers, released version 0.7.1 and added support for dozens of languages.

  • Information Controls Fellow Mose Karanja gave a presentation on Cyber Security and Human Rights in Kenya at the Kenya Internet Governance Forum.

  • OTI’s M-Lab Browser Extension was delivered in .crx format and will be released in the Chrome App store in the near future.

  • Tor released Tor Browser 5.04a, which features security-enhancing updates to Tor, OpenSSL, HTTPS-Everywhere, and OTF-funded NoScript. It’s available for download here: https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en#downloads-alpha

  • The secureApp generator project, a web-based tool designed to allow organizations to configure and customize Android apps for secure form-based data collection, has packaged the entire secureApp Generation system into an isolated Docker container and will soon be deployed onto the Amazon Web Services ecosystem.

  • The Rapid Response Yemeni Internet Access project successfully established an internet connection center in Sana’a, Yemen as part of its effort to address the need to access information and report on human rights abuses amidst potential communications shutdown in the war torn country. The center runs on ADSL connection with a coverage radius of around 800 meters from the center. Satellite technology is available if needed.

  • Information Controls Fellow Jason Ng published a report on censorship occurring on the WeChat platform in China. WeChat has more than 400 million monthly active users and no previous research has been performed on detecting and analyzing censorship on this platform: https://citizenlab.org/2015/07/tracking-censorship-on-wechat-public-accounts-platform/

  • Mailvelope, a browser extension that facilitates email encryption for users of browser based email providers, released a Firefox add-on allowing for patches and security updates to be distributed as quickly as possible. It is now available for download here: https://download.mailvelope.com/

  • Information Controls Fellow Will Scott presented his tool to improve censorship resiliency for website owners, activist.js, at CascadiaJS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXfsXJg2Rzg

  • Qubes, a security-focused free and open source operating system, released the second release candidate of Qubes 3.0 and is available for download here: https://www.qubes-os.org/doc/QubesDownloads/

  • Information Controls Fellow Ben Zevenbergen gave a presentation on Internet research ethics and privacy at the Cyber Security Summer School 2015 as part of the Summit’s Privacy and concerns about a digital society sessions.

  • The Localization Lab now has 45 projects with over 4,000 participating individuals contributing to the submission and verification of over 484,000 translated words into over 200 languages and dialects.

  • OTF’s Rapid Response Initiative with support from its Community Lab held a two-day workshop in Berlin, Germany to convene technologists, researchers, frontliners, intermediaries and others working in rapid response to discuss and plan for ways to strengthen and grow the field.

  • FreeBrowser, an Android browser with built in circumvention capabilities, continues to generate significant traffic numbers and saw an increase of 1 million monthly user sessions this month.

Select news collected by OTF from the month of July. Get the full feed live @OpenTechFund

Lebanon’s Cybercrime Bureau Exploited Angry Birds to Surveil Citizens’ Mobile Devices | Global Voices

Why encryption back doors threaten human rights | The Hill

Tor Exit Relays in Libraries: a New Library Freedom Project | Library Freedom Project

These Bugs Could Leave 950 Million Android Devices Vulnerable to Hackers | Motherboard

Pakistan bans BlackBerry services in privacy crackdown | The Guardian

Why China’s Propagandists Love the Internet | Foreign Policy

Once-theoretical crypto attack against HTTPS now verges on practicality | Ars Technica

Kenya to require users of public Wi-Fi to register with government | Ars Technica

China’s Draft Online Security Law Could Further Tighten State Control of Netizens | RFA

Here Are All the Sketchy Government Agencies Buying Hacking Team’s Spy Tech | Motherboard

RAND: US Internet Freedom Software Tools Developed Do Not Facilitate Cybercrime | Dark Reading

Projects Mentioned