Digital Security Capacity-Building Criteria

Criteria for Supporting Digital Security Capacity-Building Projects under the Internet Freedom Fund

OTF supports efforts that focus on increasing awareness of privacy and security threats and protective measures. However, as OTF’s primary goal is to advance the field of internet freedom technologies, we believe it is important to strengthen mutual understanding of the needs of front-line groups in internet-repressive environments, and how existing technologies meet or fall short of countering restrictions to internet freedom online.

To achieve these aims, OTF has available several funding streams in which interested individuals and organizations can apply: the Rapid Response Fund, the Digital Integrity Fellowship, and the Internet Freedom Fund. As the Internet Freedom Fund is OTF’s largest and most frequent funding opportunity, OTF has outlined the following criteria to better determine which applications fall directly within its remit, as compared to the other funding mechanisms available.

Overarching goals:

  • OTF’s primary focus is to support the development of technology advancing the communication and digital security needs of at risk populations in repressive environments.

  • OTF does not directly support one-off trainings, training of trainers, or organizational capacity building as an effort’s primary outcome.

  • OTF will consider these activities if they support primary outcomes that advance the development of technology by: providing feedback loops to technology developer communities; deepening the field’s understanding of front-line challenges and existing technology limitations; and/or, strengthening the relationships between technology developers and communities in need.

For applicants seeking to apply to the Internet Freedom Fund:

  • Projects can cover multiple countries, or work throughout a particular region.

  • Projects have multiple staff working on the proposed efforts.

  • Targets OTF’s desired audience of at-risk populations in environments where censorship and/or other digital attacks are prevalent.

  • Aims to foster long-term improvements to a community’s digital security practices.

  • Has clear documentation or feedback for the Internet Freedom technologist/ technology development community’s benefit (such as: public report detailing digital security assistance efforts, bug reporting following assistance, co-designed digital security assistance with key internet freedom technology projects, etc.)

  • Demonstrates a clear path of continued engagement (rather than one-off assistance).

  • Efforts are clearly derived from the needs of the intended communities being assisted.

This criteria can also be found on the OTF website.