[hackerspaces] The Open Technology Fund needs your help

Jens Ohlig jens at ccc.de
Sun Jun 21 23:11:51 CEST 2020

Dear intergalactic hackspace community,

The Open Technology Fund and the global Internet Freedom movement need
your help.

You might have heard of the Open Technology Fund and the recent power
grab at USAGM. If not, here's' the long story short:

The Open Technology Fund supports numerous privacy and security
technologies, as well as censorship circumvention technology, usability
improvements, security audits and research. You probably know some of
the projects they've supported, like Signal, Tor, Wireguard, OONI,
Certbot, NoScript and many many more.

Now the Trump administration just appointed a new CEO to USAGM, the
agency that oversees OTF, among others. This CEO, Michael Pack, is very
close to Steve Bannon, and has already removed OTF's CEO and president.
Further, there are folks lobbying hard to shift the funding to only a
handful of “closed source” technologies. This will be catastrophically
detrimental for Internet Freedom worldwide - It will put human rights
defenders, activists, and journalists in danger, especially activists
campaigning against highly sophisticated technical adversaries like
China, Russia, Iran and more.

You can find more background information below, as well as press references.

We can’t express how urgent this is. We have a short window of momentum,
and need to take it immediately. Therefore we are asking you for your help.

What Can You Do:

1- We’re calling on your organization to sign a letter that is being
sent to Congress

You can read and sign for support here: https://saveinternetfreedom.tech/

Please share the website with your contacts.

2- Organizational statement

It would be incredibly helpful to have your organization put out a
statement in support of Internet Freedom and OTF. Here are some talking
points. https://frama.link/tp-saveinternetfreedom

3- Press statements

If you work with groups that have benefited from OTF funding, and can
attest to how crucial it is in the fight for internet freedom, human
rights and against censorship, please let us know. We might use some of
these quotes for press statements.

4- Help us with Outreach & Public Support:

a) You can tweet about it using #saveinternetfreedom, and use any means
in your disposal to draw media attention to this. Here is our social
media toolkit:https://frama.link/sif-socialmediakitBackground Info

Libby Liu, OTF CEO, resigned on June 14 following personal attacks
directed to her the day before on Steve Bannon’s talk show with Michael
Horowitz, an advocate for the Christian Right.

Clip from talk show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9NBR8EG9iQ

Three days later, on June 17, even though she had resigned, Pack fired
Libby Liu as well as the heads of four organizations overseen by USAGM.
CNN has dubbed it “the Wednesday Night Massacre”.

Notably, there has been huge resistance to hiring Michael Pack, who
among his actions to undermine independent media, is under an open
investigation by law enforcement because of serious and outstanding
concerns regarding inappropriate and potentially unlawful activity. You
can read more here:

Press for reference

Wednesday night massacre' as Trump appointee takes over at global media


V.O.A. Directors Resign After Bannon Ally Takes Charge of U.S. Media Agency


New Conservative Media Chief Dismisses Heads of U.S.-Funded News Outlets


CEO of Open Technology Fund Resigns After Closed-Source Lobbying Effort


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