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OTF Monthly Report for March 2015

| By: Dan McDevitt

In March, OTF continued to sign numerous contracts bolstering its active portfolio of more than 40 projects and initiatives that increase global Internet freedom.

Notable accomplishments

  • OTF supported and attended ASL19’s two-day long third annual Iran Cyber Dialogue (ICD) event as part of the Circumvention Technology Festival in Valencia, Spain. The ICD brought a number of thought leaders, activists and innovators together through panels and workshops to discuss strategies and produce projects and tools that enable Iranians to connect, engage and exchange information online.

  • OTF also supported IREX Trainer’s Summit at the Circumvention Technology Festival in Valencia, Spain. The Trainer’s Summit brought together various security, privacy, and technology trainers working in the frontlines in order to build community, foster on-going peer support, and share expertise.

  • GlobaLeaks launched two new secure whistleblowing platforms, MexicoLeaks and OCCRPLeaks in Bosnia. OCCRPLeaks is the first installment of GlobaLeaks capable of being embedded into third party sites, and will further integrate ~15 investigative journalism groups’ websites in the Balkan area and eastern Europe. GlobaLeaks has also partnered with Transparency International-Philippines for additional deployments in the country.

  • Viet Tan released their analysis of Vietnam’s rapidly evolving social media landscape, identifying repressive tactics employed by the government to restrict access to the Internet for Vietnamese netizens.

  • The Information Controls Fellowship Program (ICFP) began accepting applications for the second round of Information Controls Fellowships.

  • Information Controls Fellow Bill Marczak co-authored two Citizen Lab reports, one implicating the Ethiopian government in targeting US-based Ethiopian journalists with malicious spyware, aiming to remotely monitor the journalists’ online activity; the second identifies the “Great Cannon” cyberweapon being used by Chinese authorities to launch massive DDoS attacks.

  • OTF attended RightsCon in Manila, Phillippines where OTF staff participated in sessions on how to apply for OTF funds, collaborate with other donors, and provide perspective on emerging internet freedom issues that the community can work together on to better address these challenges. OTF also supported the “Demo Room” at Rightscon, allowing internet freedom technologies and Southeast Asia-based human rights and free expression activists to present their projects to donors, academics, technologists, and others.

  • Snoopsnitch, an app that alerts mobile phone users of attempts to intercept mobile communications, has reached 100,000 app installs over the last two months, and is now available on Android 5. The app has improved IMSI catcher detection and now collects data about USIM prevalence (versus SIM cards).

  •, a website mapping the security of mobile networks worldwide, now shows USIM prevalence, updated and new reports for 47 countries based on Snoopsnitch submissions (includes China, Hong Kong, Jordan, Kenya, Russian Federation, Spain, Vietnam, etc), and have refactored the web site to be more accessible on mobile devices.

  • Viet Tan released their analysis of Vietnam’s rapidly evolving social media landscape, identifying repressive tactics employed by the government to restrict access to the Internet for Vietnamese netizens.

  • CIPESA published their analyses on internet freedom policy developments in East Africa, including Kenya and the proposed Uganda Data Protection and Privacy while also making formal comments for drafting consideration.

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

China Appears to Attack GitHub by Diverting Web Traffic | New York Times

Belarus Tightens Grip on Internet With New Data Retention Decree | Global Voices

North Korea Building Big Facility to Store Foreign Know-how Harvested from Internet | RFA

Chinese Fire Wall Slams Down on Reuters | Forbes

Iran is Trying to Block Tor | Motherboard

Ethiopia suspected of spying on independent TV network ESAT | CPJ

Tibetan Uprising Day Malware Attacks | Citizen Lab

After Arab Spring, Surveillance in Egypt Intensifies | The Intercept

Macedonia’s Massive Illegal Wiretapping Operating Allegedly Monitored Journalists and Diplomats | Global Voices Advocacy

Journalist detained over Facebook post in Myanmar | CPJ

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