Privacy

Towards a New Public Infrastructure

Resource name: 
Towards a New Public Infrastructure — preprint
Resource type: 
Articles
Resource description: 

This is a preprint of an article that will appear in the ACM SIGCAS Computers and Society Newsletter.

Bytes for All, Pakistan

Organization's slogan: 
ICTs for development, democracy, and social justice
Civic Organization Disclaimer: 
Possible disclaimer: This information has been entered by a person who isn't associated with the organization. It may be incomplete or contain mistakes. If you are associated with this organization and would like to maintain this information, please get a Public Sphere Project account and ask us to transfer ownership of this information to you.

Bytes for All (B4A), Pakistan is a human rights organization with a focus on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). It experiments and organizes debate on the relevance of ICTs for sustainable development and strengthening human rights movements in the country.

At the forefront of Internet Rights movement and struggle for the democracy, B4A focuses on capacity building of human rights defenders on their digital security, online safety & privacy. Working on different important campaigns particularly against Internet censorship and surveillance in Pakistan, B4A continues to work on cyberspace issues, awareness raising and policy advocacy from civil liberties & human rights perspective.

Globally acclaimed Take Back The Tech Campaign is the flagship of Bytes for All, which focuses on strategic use of ICTs by the women and girls to fight violence against women in Pakistan.

Organizational engagement: 
Active
Organization's headquarters: 
Islamabad, Pakistan
Organization's geographic focus: 
Pakistan
Contact information: 
info[at]bytesforall.pk, Landline: +92 (51) 2110494-95 Cell. +92 333 5236060

Aspiration

Organization's slogan: 
Better Tools for a Better World
Aspiration helps nonprofits, activists and foundations use software tools more effectively and sustainably. We serve as ally, coach, strategist, mentor and facilitator to those trying to make more impactful use of information technology in their social change efforts.

We work to catalyze and strengthen physical communities of nonprofit users and software developers by convening and facilitating innovative technology events. We empower virtual communities of nonprofit users and developers through the Social Source Commons, which maps out available software tools and related information resources. And we provide strategic capacity building services, working with software developers to produce better tools for nonprofits, and with nonprofits to better leverage these tools.

Year the organization was founded: 
2001
Organizational engagement: 
Active
Organization's headquarters: 
San Francisco, California, US
Organization's geographic focus: 
Global and national, with deeper capacity building work in western US
Contact person: 
Allen Gunn
Contact information: 
info@aspirationtech.org

Freenet Project

Organization's slogan: 
Share files, chat on forums, browse and publish, anonymously and without fear of blocking or censorship! Then connect to your friends for even better security!
Civic Organization Disclaimer: 
Possible disclaimer: This information has been entered by a person who isn't associated with the organization. It may be incomplete or contain mistakes. If you are associated with this organization and would like to maintain this information, please get a Public Sphere Project account and ask us to transfer ownership of this information to you.

Freenet is free software which lets you anonymously share files, browse and publish "freesites" (web sites accessible only through Freenet) and chat on forums, without fear of censorship. Freenet is decentralised to make it less vulnerable to attack, and if used in "darknet" mode, where users only connect to their friends, is very difficult to detect.

Communications by Freenet nodes are encrypted and are routed through other nodes to make it extremely difficult to determine who is requesting the information and what its content is.

Users contribute to the network by giving bandwidth and a portion of their hard drive (called the "data store") for storing files. Files are automatically kept or deleted depending on how popular they are, with the least popular being discarded to make way for newer or more popular content. Files are encrypted, so generally the user cannot easily discover what is in his datastore, and hopefully can't be held accountable for it. Chat forums, websites, and search functionality, are all built on top of this distributed data store.

Freenet has been downloaded over 2 million times since the project started, and used for the distribution of censored information all over the world including countries such as China and the Middle East. Ideas and concepts pioneered in Freenet have had a significant impact in the academic world. Our 2000 paper "Freenet: A Distributed Anonymous Information Storage and Retrieval System" was the most cited computer science paper of 2000 according to Citeseer, and Freenet has also inspired papers in the worlds of law and philosophy. Ian Clarke, Freenet's creator and project coordinator, was selected as one of the top 100 innovators of 2003 by MIT's Technology Review magazine.

An important recent development, which very few other networks have, is the "darknet": By only connecting to people they trust, users can greatly reduce their vulnerability, and yet still connect to a global network through their friends' friends' friends and so on. This enables people to use Freenet even in places where Freenet may be illegal, makes it very difficult for governments to block it, and does not rely on tunneling to the "free world".

Organizational engagement: 
Active
Contact person: 
Ian Clarke
Contact information: 
ian@freenetproject.org

March-Hare Communications Collective

Organization's slogan: 
March Hare Communications Collective, Inc. (MHCC) is a volunteer mutual benefit corporation that is dedicated to promoting emerging communications technology for the use of public organizing of grass-roots groups and non-governmental organizations. The focus of the March Hare Communications Collective, Inc. is to develop new, secure and open software to be used with existing technologies that will aid community and grass-roots coordination, social networking and organization specifically using mobile technologies. In addition March Hare Communications Collective, Inc. seeks to provide educational materials and trainings on how to use mobile technologies in a safe and effective manner that meets the needs of the user groups. March Hare Communications Collective, Inc. seeks to be a depository of both technologies and information regarding the innovative use of mobile technologies to promote social justice in the US and internationally by grass-root/community groups.
Civic Organization Disclaimer: 
Possible disclaimer: This information has been entered by a person who isn't associated with the organization. It may be incomplete or contain mistakes. If you are associated with this organization and would like to maintain this information, please get a Public Sphere Project account and ask us to transfer ownership of this information to you.

March Hare Communications Collective, Inc. (MHCC) is a volunteer mutual benefit corporation that is dedicated to promoting emerging communications technology for the use of public organizing of grass-roots groups and non-governmental organizations. The focus of the March Hare Communications Collective, Inc. is to develop new, secure and open software to be used with existing technologies that will aid community and grass-roots coordination, social networking and organization specifically using mobile technologies. In addition March Hare Communications Collective, Inc. seeks to provide educational materials and trainings on how to use mobile technologies in a safe and effective manner that meets the needs of the user groups. March Hare Communications Collective, Inc. seeks to be a depository of both technologies and information regarding the innovative use of mobile technologies to promote social justice in the US and internationally by grass-root/community groups.

Organizational engagement: 
Active
Organization's headquarters: 
United States

Tor Project

Organization's slogan: 
Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security known as traffic analysis
Civic Organization Disclaimer: 
Possible disclaimer: This information has been entered by a person who isn't associated with the organization. It may be incomplete or contain mistakes. If you are associated with this organization and would like to maintain this information, please get a Public Sphere Project account and ask us to transfer ownership of this information to you.

Tor is a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. It also enables software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features. Tor provides the foundation for a range of applications that allow organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy.

Individuals use Tor to keep websites from tracking them and their family members, or to connect to news sites, instant messaging services, or the like when these are blocked by their local Internet providers. Tor's hidden services let users publish web sites and other services without needing to reveal the location of the site. Individuals also use Tor for socially sensitive communication: chat rooms and web forums for rape and abuse survivors, or people with illnesses.

Journalists use Tor to communicate more safely with whistleblowers and dissidents. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) use Tor to allow their workers to connect to their home website while they're in a foreign country, without notifying everybody nearby that they're working with that organization.

Groups such as Indymedia recommend Tor for safeguarding their members' online privacy and security. Activist groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recommend Tor as a mechanism for maintaining civil liberties online. Corporations use Tor as a safe way to conduct competitive analysis, and to protect sensitive procurement patterns from eavesdroppers. They also use it to replace traditional VPNs, which reveal the exact amount and timing of communication. Which locations have employees working late? Which locations have employees consulting job-hunting websites? Which research divisions are communicating with the company's patent lawyers?

A branch of the U.S. Navy uses Tor for open source intelligence gathering, and one of its teams used Tor while deployed in the Middle East recently. Law enforcement uses Tor for visiting or surveilling web sites without leaving government IP addresses in their web logs, and for security during sting operations.

The variety of people who use Tor is actually part of what makes it so secure. Tor hides you among the other users on the network, so the more populous and diverse the user base for Tor is, the more your anonymity will be protected.

Organizational engagement: 
Active
Contact person: 
The Tor Project
Contact information: 
1-781-352-0568
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