OPEN THE INTERNET TO EVERYONE
Oppressed people around the world want to use digital tools to break through information censorship, connect with others, and get accurate and unbiased news that their governments do not want them to have. Internet freedom is the next frontier of human rights – let’s give people the tools they need to tear down these virtual walls.
TOOLS FOR INTERNET FREEDOM
Many different tools are available to help, and different organizations provide options within each type of tool. One organization even helps people test which tools are fastest and most stable.
Image: Great Fire
AREAS OF CONCERN
Repressive governments fear internet freedom. They spend vast resources keeping their people in digital prisons. Some governments completely block the internet, others shut it down when people exercise their rights, during elections, or for specific news events. Powerful emerging technology in the hands of authoritarians adds to the tools of oppression when the internet is restricted.
EVENT SPECIFIC REPRESSION
EMERGING TECH THREATS
CALLS TO ACTION
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
Opening the internet for those behind digital iron curtains is a function of two things:
Authoritarian regimes spend billions of dollars every year keeping their people isolated and uninformed – spending a fraction of that could achieve true internet freedom. VIF supports internet freedom in all of its many forms:
- Technologies that provide secure communications
- Apps that can safeguard a user’s privacy, tools that can protect users under repressive surveillance,
- Vital existing tools that currently circumvent firewalls for millions of users in closed societies.
Governments, businesses, and individuals can commit to not only supporting these technologies, but most importantly commit to funding their use and development.
Multiple Tools for Multiple Challenges
Regimes use multiple technologies to oppress. Individuals use the internet in different ways. We need diverse tools to empower users and confront the digital weapons of oppressors. VIF supports fully open and partially open source technologies forcing oppressors to fight on all fronts and allowing individuals options that work. We support open source codes that let programmers continually improve their tools and security audited partially open tools that shield security features from those who want to stop their use.
Privacy tools protect the identity of users – keeping their personal information out of the hands of governments that seek to condemn them for their online actions.
Circumvention technologies allow users to go around digital firewalls and access any website – including those blocked in their own country.
A simple email or text message is enough to trigger a government response in some closed societies, making secure messaging apps vital to users everywhere.
The VIF members form a diverse coalition of organizations and individuals that all have one thing in common – we want greater internet freedom around the world. Our membership is comprised of human rights organizations, religious freedom advocates, passionate individuals, legal professionals and more. We welcome all who share our views and want to work together to advocate for greater internet freedom around the world. If you, or your organization, is interested in joining the coalition and getting involved in our vital work to open the internet in closed societies, ask to join.