The Open Technology Fund
(OTF) is a critical funding partner in the global fight for internet freedom. Today, more than two billion people around the world use technologies supported by the non-profit’s work to communicate securely, circumvent censorship, and combat authoritarianism. In short, OTF serves as a beacon of hope furthering the interests of human rights, internet freedom, and democratic values in an increasingly repressive online environment.
Read more about the organization's remarkable accomplishments, below.
- Since OTF's inception in 2012, OTF has funded over 400 innovative projects to combat censorship and repressive surveillance, including over 50 fellowships to support cutting-edge research and digital security interventions, 6 labs to improve the security, usability, resiliency and interoperability of key internet freedom technologies, and over 100 rapid response interventions to address digital emergencies.
- Over the past 7 years, OTF has reviewed and responded to over 4,000 requests for internet freedom support, totaling nearly $450 million.
- Over 75% of OTF’s budget is used to support the development and implementation of circumvention and secure communication technologies.
- Today, over 2 billion people use OTF-supported technology, and more than two-thirds of all mobile users globally have technology incubated by OTF on their device.
- OTF-funded circumvention technologies like Lantern, Psiphon, and Wireguard are used by tens of millions of people living in internet-restricted countries to access the uncensored internet, including millions of daily users in China.
- OTF is currently investing in the development of next-generation, AI-powered circumvention solutions that can identify and exploit gaps in censorship firewalls in real-time.
- OTF supports the full spectrum of secure communications technologies for journalists and human rights defenders, including secure messaging, secure file storage, secure email, secure file-sharing, and secure operating systems.
- OTF incubated and assisted in the development of the back-end security technology utilized by WhatsApp, the Signal Protocol.
- OTF’s Red Team Lab has identified and patched nearly 2,000 privacy and security vulnerabilities to ensure internet freedom tools can be used safely in dangerous environments.
- OTF’s Localization Lab has translated internet freedom tools into over 200 languages including Mandarin, Russian, Farsi, Spanish, Arabic, Tibetan, French, and Vietnamese.
- OTF-supported network measurement tools monitor and detect internet censorship in real-time in over 210 countries.
- OTF has provided rapid response assistance to journalists in more than 40 countries, including Azerbaijan, Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Russia, Syria, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
- After the contested 2018 presidential election in Venezuela, OTF provided digital security training to journalists on the ground, deployed circumvention and secure communication tools for tens of thousands of citizens, and assisted a network of journalists that was targeted by government-sponsored hacking attempts.
- OTF is developing and deploying new technical solutions in Iran to combat future internet shutdowns, including highly innovative peer-to-peer solutions.
Unfortunately, all of this incredible work is now in serious jeopardy. The primary concern is that controversial new political appointee Michael Pack will attempt to dismantle OTF and/or reallocate the organization’s funds. As has been reported, there are fears that the lobbying effort to allocate OTF resources to closed-source, private tech companies may now be successful. This would be a huge loss for the internet freedom community - the effects of which would reverberate for years to come.
- "OTF's focus on open-source tools and the open-source developer community has been particularly valuable for the security and availability of these tools, for those who most need them. A change in strategy for OTF away from open source would put significant parts of the secure, open internet, and the human rights and lives that depend on it, at greater risk." - Chris Riley, Director of Government Relations, Mozilla
- "OTF has been a credible, transparent, and trustworthy partner to global internet freedom advocates, and their work is critical to the pursuit of fundamental human rights in the digital age. The takeover of the leadership of this independent nonprofit organization is shocking and threatens to undo OTF’s many achievements.” - Seamus Tuohy, Information Security Director, Human Rights Watch
- "OTF is a noble endeavor and its integrity should be preserved, for the sake of a free press, the course of liberty and the defense of oppressed people throughout the world." - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Editorial Board
So please, join together with hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals and sign the letter today.
Then help spread the word! #SaveInternetFreedom #SaveOTF