Home U.S. State Department Looks to Support “Internet Freedom” Projects

U.S. State Department Looks to Support “Internet Freedom” Projects

File this under I for Internet Freedom. Or I for Irony. (You decide.)

The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs have announced a Joint Request for Statements of Interest (SOI) from organizations interested in submitting proposals for projects that support Internet freedom under the “Governing Justly and Democratically” Foreign Assistance program objective.

This isn’t a formal Request for Proposals, as the bureaus will invite select organizations that submit SOIs to expand on their ideas, submitting full proposals at a later date.

The State Department says it’s interested in projects that “foster freedom of expression and the free flow of information on the Internet and other connection technologies in East Asia, including China and Burma; the Near East, including Iran; Southeast Asia; the South Caucasus; Eurasia, including Russia; Central Asia; Latin America, including Cuba and Venezuela; and Africa. Programming may support activities in Farsi, Chinese, Russian, Burmese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, French, and other languages spoken in acutely hostile Internet environments. Concepts may be global in nature, regional or country-specific.”

The projects should support digital activists, according to the announcement, and should include at least one of the following activities:

  • Counter-censorship technology
  • Secure mobile communications
  • Digital safety training
  • Building the technology capacity of digital activists and civil society in hostile Internet environments in the Near East
  • Virtual open Internet centers
  • Emergency funding
  • Internet public policy

The State Department’s interest in these sorts of projects points to its recognition in the importance of Internet technologies in fostering freedoms and expanding democracy – both on and offline.

But the timing of the announcement rings a little hollow as the Obama Administration weighs charging WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange for violation of the Espionage Act for his work, particularly as many elements of WikiLeaks appear on this list of digital activism.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.