Across the globe, state capacities to surveil and censor cyberspace are growing. Those on the “frontline” in the battle for internet freedom are often at grave personal risk. The SecDev Foundation seeks to uphold the Right to Communicate safely and securely in cyberspace.
We are witnessing the coming-of-age of networked movements and network power, as new, digitally empowered generations use technology to amplify their political and economic voices worldwide. The potential for cyberspace to deepen democratic development, engagement and inclusion is unprecedented.
And yet: cyberspace is under threat. Currently, over 650 million people live under some form of state-imposed internet censorship. This is expected to rise, as less democratic or authoritarian states use a combination of regulation and extralegal means to enforce internet censorship and surveillance. In some countries – including and especially those afflicted by civil war — digital activists and citizen reporters are under extreme personal threat.
The SecDev Foundation helps frontline digital activists — human rights activists, journalists, citizen reporters, lawyers, democratic opposition movements, non-violent civil society organizations and ordinary citizens living in authoritarian or conflict contexts – with context-specific information, training, capacity-building and toolsets to improve their digital safety and security, to expand their access to online communication and information, to raise public awareness of the issues at stake, and to engage the policy debate.
The Foundation’s commitment to upholding the Right to Communicate stems from a strong pre-history, as Foundation Fellow Rafal Rohozinski was previously a co-founder of The OpenNet Initiative and the Information Warfare Monitor. The Foundation will continue to build networked, self-sustaining communities of researchers and activists in the Middle East, Asia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Africa, and Latin America.