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Help needed: OTF (and FLOSS internet security/privacy/freedom projects) in jeopardy.

From: Giorgio Maone <giorgio@maone.net>
Date: Sun, 21 Jun 2020 17:10:50 +0200
To: Web Application Security Working Group <public-webappsec@w3.org>
Message-ID: <f6175021-8dec-de81-12ae-fe459244859e@maone.net>
Dear WASWG members,
Apologies in advance for the (slight) off-topic, but I suspect this is
of interest for many of us, as this group ultimately deals with internet
security, privacy and freedom.

As you might have heard or read, Michael Pack, a Bannon ally, has been
appointed as the director of the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM).
This body oversees four organizations, namely Middle East Broadcasting,
Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Open
Technology Fund. Last Wednesday Pack has fired the heads of all
aforementioned bodies [0].

The Open Technology Fund has been fundamental in the support of tools
and research into privacy, anti-censorship, and decentralization tools.
Examples of projects that have been supported by OTF are Signal, Tor,
Certbot, Wireguard (full disclosure: NoScript too), as well as many
researchers through the Information Controls Fellowship and other
programs, with a strict requirement of the software being free/libre
open source, and a preference for decentralized, privacy-first solutions.

Lobbying documents suggest this purge is part of a campaign to shift
government funds from open source, transparent and decentralized
anti-censorship/surveillance technologies to a handful of proprietary,
centralized, opaque (and more easily backdoorable) "alternatives".

A number of human rights and digital rights organizations have already
put out statements about this:

Citizen Lab:
Human Rights Watch:
Article 19:
CCC: https://www.ccc.de/en/updates/2020/support-otf
IFF: https://internetfreedomfestival.org/save-internet-freedom/
Access Now:

I would like to ask you to support OTF by signing the following
statement, either as individual, or with your organization, or perhaps
with you research group: https://saveinternetfreedom.tech/ (already
signed by Mozilla, Red Hat, the Tor Project, EFF and many others).

Should you see it feasible, a quotable statement, either organizational
or individual, would be amazing too.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.


Giorgio Maone

Received on Sunday, 21 June 2020 15:11:06 UTC

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