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OTF Monthly Report for May 2015

| By: Dan McDevitt

In May, OTF continued to sign numerous contracts bolstering its active portfolio of more than 40 projects and initiatives that increase global Internet freedom. This month, OTF received more than 30 concept notes and full proposals each from projects, tools and individuals in need of assistance.

Notable accomplishments

  • OTF launched the Digital Integrity Fellowship Program (DIFP), which addresses threats to freedom of expression online experienced by human rights defenders, journalists, and activists by providing avenues for durable and inside-out support from digital security and safety experts. DIFP will bolster the digital security of organizations whose Internet freedom is routinely or currently repressed by providing them with the expertise and support of the DIFP fellows and advisors who will work within the organizations themselves, providing team-wise trainings that go beyond traditional one-off person-to-person assistance.

  • Viet Tan launched a localized Vietnamese version of StoryMaker, a mobile app that allows journalists to produce and publish news with their Android phone as safely and securely as possible. Viet Tan partnered with Radio Free Asia and Article 19 to train 20 Vietnamese netizens and bloggers on its use at a launch event held in Singapore. Attendees received training on reporting, video production, and editing with StoryMaker.

  • Cupcake, an anonymity-enhancing Tor browser extension, underwent a full security audit conducted by Cure53. The audit found just two minor vulnerabilities and one general weakness, a “rare and praiseworthy result for a software of this level of complexity.” The audit report is available here.

  • The Localization Lab now has 40 projects with nearly 3,800 participating individuals contributing to the submission and verification of over 476,000 translated words into over 200 languages and dialects.

  • OTF-supported projects Bazaar (by the Guardian Project) and Martus (by Benetech) are collaborating with each other to expand the abilities in which human rights documentation and other sensitive data can be collected and shared securely via mobile devices and when mobile network connectivity is unavailable.

  • The Tor team released Tor Browser 4.5.1 and the first alpha release in the new 5.0 series, Tor Browser 5.0a1, which feature important security and usability updates to make Tor browsing safer and more secure.

  • ICFP fellow Enrico Calandro conducted research on the South African draft online regulation policy as a form of “censorship by proxy,” analyzing how the legislation would restrict freedom of expression online. Read the blog here.

  • Red Team Lab has 5 active audits underway and completed 2 in the last month, including Cupcake. The Red Team Lab has also launched a bug-bounty program, with the Tor Project being the first participant.

  • ICFP fellow Bendert Zevenbergen gave a presentation at the European IP Networks (RIPE) conference in Amsterdam on “Internet Engineering Meets Philosophy: Establishing Ethical Guidelines for Networked Systems Research, focusing on user privacy and security issues.

  • ICFP fellow Jason Q. Ng co-authored *A Chatty Squirrel: Privacy and Security Issues with UC *Browser, which uncovers major security and privacy issues with UC Browser, the most popular mobile web browser in China and India.

  • Whistleblowing platform OCCRPLeaks, a project of GlobaLeaks, was released in Ukraine. GlobaLeaks also collaborated with the Bosnian Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN), an investigative journalist group, in releasing a OCCRPLeaks in a Bosnian translation.

  • The Measurement Lab (M-Lab) project completed work on an alpha version of M-Lab’s Chrome App, allowing the user to run network diagnostic tests (NDTs), visualize the results and schedule NDT to run in the background. This will enable internet users concerned if their internet connection is being intentionally slowed, inhibiting their abilities to communicate online, to verify their concerns.

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

Did Russia Just Effectively Outlaw Internet Anonymizers? | Global Voices Advocacy

U.N. report: Encryption is important to human rights - and backdoors undermine it | Washington Post

New Iran Messaging App Gives State Access to All Conversations | Global Voices Advocacy

Everyone in Tech Hates the Idea of Ruining Encryption | Motherboard

Going Offline? The Threat to Cambodia’s Newfound Internet Freedoms | LICADHO

StoryMaker mobile app launched for Vietnamese netizens | Viet Tan

Chinese hackers launch attacks from online comments | The Hill

Surveilling and censoring the internet in Pakistan | Al Jazeera

Burundi Blocks Viber and WhatsApp Amidst Protests | EFF

Projects Mentioned

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