These organizations are making big impacts on the internet, especially around privacy and security. We believe there is a pathway to a better internet, one that puts user experience and privacy first. Each of these organizations is advocating for digital rights and for policy that supports privacy and security for everyone. These unique groups provide insight into the latest threats and related tools for protecting your data.
Demand Progress’ goal is to protect the democratic character of the internet and to contest concentrated government and corporate power. It focuses on grassroots efforts to raise awareness around many issues, one of which is internet freedom.
Demand Progress gained notoriety during its campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). It has since lead successful campaigns against other surveillance bills and measures that promote forms of surveillance.
Freedom of the Press Foundation
You may think “What does freedom of the press have to do with internet privacy?” However, there is a major connection. For journalists to communicate with confidential sources, they rely on encrypted messaging and file transfers. The Freedom of the Press Foundation also uncovered the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program, which revealed a bigger need for encryption and privacy based tools for protecting internet users’ privacy.
Freedom of the Press Foundation is responsible for the development of SecureDrop, an encryption platform for secure communications between sources and media organizations. Signal is an encrypted messenger tool that is sponsored by Freedom of the Press Foundation. Internet privacy is essential for more transparency and accurate reporting in journalism.
To ensure that news sources cannot be interfered with to distribute fake news stories, Freedom of the Press Foundation helps spread HTTPS encryption to different news sources around the world.
Center for Democracy & Technology
The Center for Democracy & Technology actively studies the role that technology plays in our daily lives, and looks at the impact it has on individuals and communities. It focuses on many internet privacy issues, including virtual private networks, ISP privacy and the internet of things.
Center for Democracy & Technology works with policy-makers to create responsible and effective regulations surrounding data privacy and security.
Fight for the Future
Fight for the Future focuses on directing the internet’s great power in a positive direction. This organization fights to protect the rights that internet users have, even when big companies may try to impede on these rights. It empowers internet users to demand technology that works in their best interests.
Along with its activism on internet privacy rights, Fight for the Future is also a great resource for the latest internet privacy and security news.
Tor (The Onion Router)
“anonymity online – protect your privacy. defend yourself against network surveillance and traffic analysis”
Tor is a well-known name in the cyber-security industry. It offers free software to protect you from tracking and other privacy intrusions on the internet. Tor’s projects include Tor, Tor Browser, Tails (a live operating system with Tor’s anonymity protection).
“The Onion Router” is a reference to the onion-like layers of identity protection that Tor provides. Its functionality is similar to VPNs in that it bounces your connection around to many different locations. The anonymity that Tor offers is even more though, because VPNs have information about you, even if it’s just your payment method and email address. Tor is a decentralized alternative to virtual private networks.
The Calyx Institute
“privacy by design for everyone”
The Calyx Institute is a non-profit organization focused on privacy tools for the advancement of free speech and expression, civic engagement and privacy rights on the internet. Its goal is to educate the public on internet privacy and to develop building blocks for other groups to implement “privacy by design” into their services.
Calyx Institute is an advocate for strong encryption and it hopes to help spread encryption to all kinds of online tools. It also hosts conferences and workshops to help educate people on the importance of privacy and their options for protecting their information.
Privacy policies are long and difficult to read. ToS;DR makes it simple to understand how a website or company collects and uses your information. It scans privacy policies for you and determines which information the website or internet service is collecting and how it uses it. ToS;DR then assign a grade to the service to make it easy to understand which sites are privacy friendly.
Let’s Encrypt is an open certificate authority provided by the Internet Security Research Group. Its goals are to help make HTTPS encryption available for anyone in a free, easy to use package. Let’s Encrypt is a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project. It hopes to lower the barriers for private and secure communication on the internet.
Riseup Labs is a non-profit focused on tech research development and education for social good. It’s also working on a number of privacy and security tools including an encrypted email service, encrypted backup utility and a private social network. Riseup Labs is also involved in making tools for private communication and organization among advocacy groups.
OSTIF (Open Source Technology Improvement Fund)
OSTIF recognized one of the biggest factors limiting the growth of open source projects was funding. Their organization connects open-source security projects with funding and logistical support. OSTIF secures funding through public fundraising and corporate donations.
OSTIF improves open-source projects through bug bounties, grants for code improvements and professional audits. With these efforts OSTIF helps advance open-source tools, that otherwise lack a profit to push them forward.
“We defend and extend the digital rights of users at risk around the world.”
Access Now recognizes that intrusive tracking on the internet is a widespread issue affecting almost anyone who goes online. However, certain populations are more at risk, specifically children and older, less computer-savvy people. Access Now is also concerned with protecting the digital security and privacy of individuals under authoritarian control. For these populations, a lack of digital security can have dire consequences.
We included Access Now’s blog in our post “27 Privacy and Cybersecurity Blogs You Should Be Reading“. Along its wide range of advocacy work, Access Now is a great source of news and information about online security.
Internet Freedom Festival
Internet Freedom Festival began fighting internet censorship and surveillance 5 years ago. Not only does Internet Freedom Festival seek to end censorship and surveillance, it supports the tools that people can use to counteract them.
Censorship is not just a problem that exists in countries with authoritarian regimes. It also exists with the tools we use most often, like Facebook or Google. The algorithms that determine which information you see, are also selectively “censoring” information depending on what you’re most likely to click on. IFF looks to empower users with the tools they need to have a fulfilling internet experience.
Internet Freedom Foundation
Internet Freedom Foundation is based in India and focuses on online freedom, privacy and innovation in India. India has similar issues with the internet that we deal with in the United States. Internet Freedom Foundation focuses on net neutrality, censorship, online privacy and encryption.
Around the world, people are worried about how they’re being tracked and watched on the internet. Internet Freedom Foundation supports online privacy and encryption to combat this issue.
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse began in 1992 as an organization focused on protecting individual privacy with one-to-one assistance, creating educational publications, and advocating for user-friendly policy change. PRC reports on the latest data breaches and is a valuable resource for anyone concerned that their information may have been compromised.
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse’s blog is a useful resource for following the trends in cybersecurity threats and keeping up to date with the latest developments in privacy news.
World Privacy Forum
World Privacy Forum is a nonprofit research group providing information about cybersecurity and privacy best practices and key issues. It is a nonprofit focused on empowering people with the right knowledge and tools to protect their information on the internet.
World Privacy Forum releases reports on the biggest privacy issues affecting people online. One of the issues it’s currently evaluating is the role that artificial intelligence plays in a user-friendly and privacy-respecting world.