Institutions, programs, initiatives…

The Internet and society

Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University • Research center with a mission to “explore and understand cyberspace; to study its development, dynamics, norms, and standards; and to assess the need or lack thereof for laws and sanctions.” At Harvard University. Connected with: Herdict, OpenNet Initiative

Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) at Stanford University • “Engages in research, training, and teaching, and organizes intellectual and policy dialogues aimed at increasing public understanding of economic and political development.” Includes the Program on Liberation Technology at Stanford University. @StanfordCDDRL @Liberationtech

The Center for Internet and Society (CIS) at Stanford University • Studies the “interaction of new technologies and the law to examine how the synergy between the two can either promote or harm public goods like free speech, innovation, privacy, public commons, diversity, and scientific inquiry.” @StanfordCIS

Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP) at Princeton University • An interdisciplinary “nexus of expertise in technology, engineering, public policy, and the social sciences” with a research program into digital technologies and their interaction with society.

Information Society Project (ISP) at Yale Law School • “An intellectual center addressing the implications of the Internet and new information technologies for law and society, guided by the values of democracy, human development, and social justice.” @yaleisp

Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto • “Focusing on advanced research and development at the intersection of digital media, global security, and human rights.” Based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. Involved with: Infowar Monitor, OpenNet Initiative. @CitizenLab

Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University • “An academic centre for the study of the societal implications of the Internet.” @oiioxford

New Political Communication Unit at the University of London • Research unit at Royal Holloway College explores how “new media and communication technologies” results in “new political behaviour, institutions and policy challenges” and “new theoretical dilemmas.” @newpolcom

Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) • DC-based think tank “provides strategic insights and policy solutions to decision makers in government, international institutions, the private sector, and civil society.” Topics include cybersecurity and technology policy.

The Centre for Internet & Society in Bangalore • Critically engages “with concerns of digital pluralism, public accountability and pedagogic practices in the field of Internet and Society, with particular emphasis on South-South dialogues and exchange.” @cis_india

Institut für Internet & Gesellschaft at Humboldt University in Berlin • New Google-funded initiative collects “leading academics to engage in innovative research focusing on questions of Internet innovation, Internet policy, information and media law and global constitutionalism.”

Lund University Internet Institute in Sweden • “A department within Lund University dealing with digitisation from a multidisciplinary perspective.”

Nexa Center for Internet and Society • Independent research center at the Politecnico of Torino “focusing on quantitative and interdisciplinary analysis of the force of the Internet and of its impact on society.” Aims to “become a point of reference in Europe, interacting with the European Commission, regulators, local and national governments, as well as with business and other institutions.” @nexacenter

Internet & Society Co:llaboratory • An “open think tank” initiated by Google Germany that engages in thematic initiatives lasting several months, bringing together experts to answer societal questions in the tech sphere. @IGcollaboratory

The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics (CodeX) • Stanford University center working on “technologies ranging from initiatives that solve content licensing inefficiencies in today’s digital media markets, to initiatives that provide greater access to justice, and initiatives that increase transparency in public markets.”

Development and ICT

Center for Global Development • An “independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit think tank” that “works to reduce global poverty and inequality through rigorous research and active engagement with the policy community.” Also covers the impact of technology on development. @CGDev

Publish What You Fund • A global campaign for aid transparency. Urges donors to publish what they fund. London-based. @aidtransparency

World Wide Web Foundation • Envisions “a world where all people are empowered by the Web.” Sees a content gap, technology gap and research gap which it aims to overcome through programs “which advance the Web technically by breaking down barriers and building capabilities, and which advance the Web socially, as a medium that empowers people to bring about positive change.” Founded by Tim Berners-Lee. @webfoundation @timberners_lee

GroundTruth Initiative • Website and blog by Mikel Maron and Erica Hagen at their new media and technology consulting company “specializing in community-based participatory technologies, especially mapping and citizen journalism, in poor and marginalized regions throughout the world”.

IT For Change • Bengaluru, India-based NGO promoting the use of ICT in the global South for socio-economic change.

Spider • A Swedish resource center for ICT4D based at the Department of Computer and Systems Sciences (DSV) at Stockholm University. Primarily financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). @spidercenter

Open Aid Partnership • A World Bank mapping initiative for open data to improve strategic planning, transparency and accountability of aid projects. Collaborates with the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and the Open Government Partnership (OGP).

Democratization and ICT

National democratic Institute (NDI) • A DC-based “nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.” @NDI

National Endowment for Democracy • A DC-based “private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world.” Initiatives include the Center for International Media Assistance and the Journal of Democracy. @NEDemocracy

Association for Progressive Communications • Aims to promote use of ICT by social movements to further human development, social justice and “participatory political processes.” Based in Melville, South Africa. @APC_News

Digital Democracy • Non-profit helps “marginalized communities to use technology to build their futures”. Promotes civic engagement through “digital technologies and programs that promote education, communication and participation.” @DigiDem

Crisis management and ICT

Crisis Commons • “Collaborators, innovators and researchers who help innovate humanitarian relief and global development through tech.” Organizers of Crisis Camp. @CrisisCommons @CrisisCamp

ICT4Peace Foundation • Geneva-based foundation “explores and champions the use of ICTs for crisis management, humanitarian aid and peacebuilding, and offers insights, strategic guidance and conduct after-action reviews of ICTs designed and deployed for such purposes.” @ict4peace

Ushahidi • A non-profit building information collection-, visualization- and mapping platforms “for democratizing information, increasing transparency and lowering the barriers for individuals to share their stories.” Also used in crisis situations. @ushahidi

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) • Center aims to “relieve human suffering in war and disaster by advancing the science and practice of humanitarian response worldwide.” Tech-oriented programs include Crisis Mappers Net and the Satellite Sentinel Project. @HHI

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team • HOT “acts as a bridge between the traditional humanitarian responders and the OpenStreetMap Community.” Activities include collecting data, coordinating the design of OSM tools, teaching data quality assurance, collaborating with data imagery providers, and OSM outreach. @hotosm

Global media reform, citizen journalism, civic media

Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. • “A collaborative attempt to figure out how quality journalism can survive and thrive in the Internet age.” @NiemanLab

Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) • Works to “improve the effectiveness of media assistance programs throughout the world.” Highlights “the indispensable role independent media play in the creation and development of sustainable democracies around the world.” By the National Endowment for Democracy. @CIMA_Media

Committee to Protect Journalists • “Defending journalists worldwide.” @pressfreedom

Center for Civic Media at MIT • “Creates and deploys technical and social tools that fill the information needs of communities.” A collaboration of the MIT Media Lab and Comparative Media Studies. @civicMIT

Center for Media and Communication Studies (CMCS) at Central European University in Budapest • Research center with expertise in fields including new media and technology, media and civil society, and fundamental communications rights. @CMCSatCEU

Knight Foundation • US-based Foundation “supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts.” Journalism is supported through a focus on “funding media innovation, journalistic excellence, and freedom of expression.” @knightfdn

Reporters without Borders • Defends against the persecution of journalists, and “fights against censorship and laws that undermine press freedom.” @RSF_RWB

Article 19 • NGO which “monitors, researches, publishes, advocates, campaigns, sets standards and litigates on behalf of freedom of expression wherever it is threatened.” With a section on ICTs and new media. Headquartered in London. @article19org

Internews • International NGO “whose mission is to empower local media worldwide” through training and advocacy. @Internews

Free Press • US-based advocacy group out to “change media and technology policies, promote the public interest and strengthen democracy. Free Press advocates for universal and affordable Internet access, diverse media ownership, vibrant public media and quality journalism.” @freepress

Net freedom, civil rights, privacy

Global Voices Advocacy • Seeks “to build a global anti-censorship network of bloggers and online activists dedicated to protecting freedom of expression and free access to information online.” By Global Voices Online. @advox

Global Network Initiative • Promotes best practices for ICT companies to “respect and protect the freedom of expression and privacy rights of their users.” @theGNI

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) • “The leading civil liberties group defending your rights in the digital world.” Its main venue for action is US courts. “In addition to advising policymakers, EFF educates the press and public.” @EFF

Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) • US-based “public interest research center established to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values.” @EPICprivacy

Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) • US-based “non-profit public interest organization working to keep the Internet open, innovative, and free,” and “to enhance free expression and privacy in communications technologies by finding practical and innovative solutions to public policy challenges while protecting civil liberties.” @CenDemTech

Save the internet Coalition • Working “to preserve Net Neutrality, the First Amendment of the Internet, which ensures that the Internet remains open to new ideas, innovation and voices.” A project by Freepress.

Public Knowledge • A US-based “public interest group working to defend your rights in the emerging digital culture.” @publicknowledge

Open Technology Institute (OTI) • “Formulates policy and regulatory reforms to support open architectures and open source innovations and facilitates the development and implementation of open technologies and communications networks.” By the New America Foundation.

Access • “A global movement premised on the belief that political participation and the realization of human rights in the 21st century is increasingly dependent on access to the internet and other forms of technology.” @accessnow

Open Society Institute – Information Program • Initiative which “works to increase public access to knowledge, facilitate civil society communication, and protect civil liberties and the freedom to communicate in the digital environment.” @OpenSociety

European Digital Rights • 28 European privacy and civil rights organisations join forces “to defend civil rights in the information society,” because “more regulation regarding the internet, copyright and privacy is originating from European institutions, or from International institutions with strong impact in Europe.”

Open Rights Group (ORG) • “The UK’s leading voice defending freedom of expression, privacy, innovation, consumer rights and creativity on the net.” Also looks after the EU. @OpenRightsGroup

Bits of Freedom • Dutch digital rights organization, “focusing on privacy and communications freedom in the digital age.” @bitsoffreedom

Index on Censorship • UK-based organization promoting free expression, with “up-to-the-minute news and information on free expression from around the world.” @IndexCensorship Facebook page

Fight for the Future • US-based non-profit organizing grass-roots projects promoting Internet freedom. @fightfortheftr

La Quadrature du Net • French advocacy group pushing for “the adaptation of French and European legislations to respect the founding principles of the Internet, most notably the free circulation of knowledge.” Encourages citizen participation in “the public debate on rights and freedoms in the digital age.” @laquadrature

Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information (CELE) at the University of Palermo, Buenos Aires • Research institution whose principal objective is “to produce reports that can be useful tools for those journalists, governmental institutions, and members of the private sector and civil society that are dedicated to the defense and promotion of these rights, especially in Latin America.” @CELEUP

BOLO BHI • Pakistan-based NGO “geared towards advocacy, policy and research in the areas of gender rights, government transparency, legislation, Internet freedom, digital security, privacy and empowerment”. @bolobhi

Digital Rights Foundation • Pakistan-based advocacy NGO “focusing on ICTs to support human rights, democratic processes and digital governance.” @DigitalRightsPK

IFEX • Global network of advocacy organizations, coordinating the defense of free expression. @IFEX

Internet governance

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) • “A not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world” that administers the Internet’s domain name system. @ICANN

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) • Open volunteer Internet standards organization comprised of network designers, operators, vendors and researchers “concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet.” Responsible for basic Internet protocols such as TCP/IP. @ietf

W3C • An international multi-stakeholder community that develops and maintains open web standards such as HTML, XML and CSS, “to ensure the long-term growth of the Web.” @w3c

Internet Governance Forum (IGF) • A “multi-stakeholder” forum mandated by the UN Secretary-General to discuss Internet governance policy. Meets annually, also comprised of regional and national IGFs.

Internet Governance Project (IGP) • An “alliance of academics that puts expertise into practical action in the fields of global governance, Internet policy, and information and communication technology.” Publishes research and analysis on Internet governance, and is active in ICANN and the UN’s Internet Governance Forum (IGF) @IGPAlert

The Internet Society • A nonprofit which aims to “provide leadership in Internet related standards, education and policy.” Works to ensure “the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of people throughout the world.” Location: Reston, VA and Geneva. @internetsociety

Internet Rights & Principles (IRP) • multi-stakeholder coalition aiming “to make rights on the Internet and their related duties, specified from the point of view of individual users, a central theme of the Internet Governance debate.” @netrights

Accountability, transparency, openness

Sunlight Foundation • “A non-profit, nonpartisan organization that uses the power of the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency, and provides new tools and resources for media and citizens, alike.” @sunfoundation

Open Government Partnership • A “multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.” Overseen by a steering committee of governments and civil society organizations. Launched September 20, 2011 at Google NYC. @opengovpart

Reboot • “A social impact firm dedicated to inclusive development and accountable governance. We help governments, foundations, and international organizations achieve their missions.” Based in New York. @theReboot

Open Knowledge Foundation • UK-based foundation seeks “a world in which open knowledge is ubiquitous and routine. We seek to promote open knowledge because of its potential to deliver far-reaching societal benefits.” @okfn

Transparency and Accountability Initiative • A donor collaborative “working to expand the impact and scale of transparency and accountability interventions” in governments, companies and other institutions. One focus is on new technologies that “enable citizens to get closer to the policy-making process.” @TAInitiative

Code for America • US-based non-profit “helps residents and governments harness technology to solve community problems.” @codeforamerica

Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure • Global network of associations “dedicated to information about free and competitive software markets, genuine open standards and patent systems with lesser barriers to competition.” Publishes ACTA Blog. @FFII • “A forum for international collaboration on efforts to improve access to parliamentary information and share experiences and good practices” among parliamentary monitoring organizations. Sponsored by Sunlight Foundation, Open Society Foundations, NDI among others. @OpenParl


Avaaz • “A global web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere.” @Avaaz • NGO “connects dissidents in closed societies with individuals around the world with skills to help.”

Tactical Technology Collective • International NGO “helping human rights advocates use information, communications and digital technologies to maximise the impact of their advocacy work.” @Info_Activism

Demand Progress • US-based grassroots campaign organizers with a focus on civil liberties, civil rights, and government reform, including in the digital domain. @demandprogress

The Internet Defense League • Distributed system that allows websites to display alerts related to Internet freedom campaigns. By Center for Rights and Fight for the Future. @Defense_League

Center for Rights • Advocacy group organizing web-based campaigns defending Internet Freedom.


Telecomix’s We Rebuild • Hacktivist collective. @Telecomix

The Crypto Project • Organization “designed to assist and encourage anonymity and encryption research, development, and use” by providing “better software, security, and anonymity to individuals worldwide.” @cryptodotis

Chaos Computer Club • German hacker group, “Europe’s largest”, with activities supporting “free speech, free communication and internationalism on the World Wide Web” that range from “technical research and exploration on the edge of the technology universe through campaigns, events, publications and policy advice to the operation of anonymizing services and communications.” @chaosupdates

Mideast Youth • Hacktivist launchpad for digital projects that “amplify diverse voices of dissent with a specific focus on access to information, free speech and minority rights.” Authors of CrowdVoice and @MideastYouth

Notes on the global politics of digital networks — how the rise of the Internet affects the distribution of power between citizens, corporations and states. By Stefan Geens in Stockholm.