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Open Technology Fund: Internet Freedom Fund

Deadline: September 1, 2019

The Internet Freedom Fund supports projects and people working on open and accessible technology-centric projects that promote human rights, internet freedom, open societies, and advancing inclusive and safe access to global communications networks for at-risk users including journalists, human rights defenders, civil society activists, and everyday people living within repressive environments who wish to speak freely online.

The Fund strives to uphold and increase capacity for individuals, organizations, and companies who support technology-centered efforts that aim to strengthen internet freedom and promote human rights by circumventing repressive censorship and surveillance, improving related digital security capabilities, and contributing to the overall health of the internet.

Ideal Internet Freedom Fund applicants are:

  • Open in nature and collaborative
  • From within communities affected by censorship or are co-designing and co-developing with them
  • Promoting a deeper understanding of internet freedom challenges and limitations
  • Solving a currently unaddressed challenge or preempting an emerging one
  • Actively maintaining technologies demanded and utilized by people on the front lines of the world’s most repressive environments

Ideal applications are:

  • Creating new open source circumvention technologies that fill a current need of targeted users
  • Improving the security, usability, and adaptability of existing open source internet freedom technologies
  • Providing new or deeper insights into the challenges of front-line communities that ultimately contribute to the improvement of technological solutions
  • Projects that emphasize applied research
  • Research that focuses on real-time monitoring and analysis of both technical and political threats to internet freedom, including network interference and shutdowns
  • New content redistribution methods able to reintroduce content behind firewalls, or similar services
  • Making targeted communities more resilient to digital attacks via customized solutions in-line with Open Technology Fund (OTF) criteria
  • Creating new open source circumvention technologies that fill a current need of targeted users
  • Next-generation tools that move beyond traditional “cat-and-mouse” circumvention techniques

Amount: Grants range from $10,000-$900,000 and average from $50,000-$200,000. Awards are generally 6 to 18 months in duration.

Eligibility: Ideal applicants are making use of, support, or develop open and accessible technologies promoting human rights and open societies, and help advance inclusive and safe access to global communications networks. In addition, ideal applicants meet one or more of the following:

  • Individuals of all ages irrespective of nationality, residency, creed, gender, or other factors, with the exception that OTF is not able to support applicants within countries that the United States has trade restrictions or export sanctions as determined by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)
  • Nonprofit organization/non-government organization (NGO), including U.S.-based NGO or foreign NGO
  • Nonprofit university or research institution in any country
  • For-profit organization or business in any country
  • Consortia of multiple people or organizations with one individual or organization designated as the lead applicant
  • Have demonstrated experience administering successful projects, preferably targeting the requested program area, or similarly challenging program environments

Link: https://www.opentech.fund/funds/internet-freedom-fund/

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