OTF’s Newest Class of Information Controls Fellows

Researchers to focus on testing of encryption tools; strengthening of circumvention systems; how restrictive policies affect rights advocates in repressive countries and regions; and more
Thu, 2015-11-19 14:30

The Open Technology Fund (OTF) is proud to announce the newest class of Information Controls Fellowship Program (ICFP) fellows, a talented group that includes researchers, lawyers, and computer scientists dedicated to combating repressive Internet censorship and surveillance.

The newest ICFP fellows will build upon the successes of our first class of ICFP fellows by expanding into new research areas and topics, ranging from helping at-risk populations detect targeted attacks to measuring Internet censorship in former Soviet states.

The newest class of OTF fellows are:

Antonio Espinoza

As a Senior OTF Information Controls Fellow, Antonio will be working with the University of New Mexico to actively seek out tools that utilize encryption in its various forms, and attempt to verify that they do, in fact, work as advertised. All results will adhere to responsible disclosure but ultimately will be made available to the public in a digestible format.

Arthur Gwagwa

A human rights attorney, Arthur will work with Strathmore University to document Internet-based information control systems in African countries including Zimbabwe, Zambia and Swaziland, their implications for human rights and proposals for policy alternatives.

[Name Redacted]

As a Senior Information Controls Fellow, the fellow will collaborate with the International Computer Science Institute to develop new ways to increase the number of users who may easily and reliably connect from behind Network Address Translation (NAT). By allowing multiple computers to connect to the Internet from a single IP address, Internet users around the globe rely on NATs for access to the Internet.

Wafa Ben Hassine

As a seasonal Information Controls fellow, Wafa will be working with the Electronic Frontier Foundation to research counterterrorism and cyber-security laws in the Arab world that limit various rights online and outline the processes through which such laws are executed. ​She will also analyze effects on local rights advocates through the control of information flows and the disregard of due process.​ ​

Ben Jones

Ben is a third year CS PhD student in networking at Georgia Tech. As a Senior Information Controls Fellow, he will explore safe means of measuring Internet censorship at scale.

Griffin Boyce

As a senior OTF Information Controls Fellow, Griffin will work with the Berkman Center at Harvard University to analyze the Internet censorship climate in former Soviet states. This data will help inform and ground future circumvention tool development by providing a robust dataset on censorship tactics across countries in this region.

Ben Mixon-Baca

As a seasonal OTF Information Controls Fellow, Ben will be working with Citizen Lab to help at-risk populations detect targeted and non-targeted attacks and also to develop educational resources for training on the use of these tools and using them for incident response. In addition, he will utilize the network traffic exiting these organizations to identify potential attack vectors these groups may be exposing and help them seal up any security holes discovered.

Tim Libert

As a senior OTF Information Controls Fellow, Tim will be working with the Ranking Digital Rights project at the New America Foundation. His research will focus on expanding the Corporate Accountability Index to include software, devices, and networking equipment in 2016 through testing potential indicators and adapting the current methodology. Libert’s PhD research at the University of Pennsylvania focuses on privacy-compromising information flows on websites, particularly the use of third-party HTTP requests.

Yixin Sun

Yixin Sun is a second year CS PhD student at Princeton University. She’s broadly interested in network security. As a Senior Information Controls Fellow, she will work on developing countermeasures to defend anonymity systems such as Tor.


The Information Controls Fellowship Program 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 was created with the help of 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.