Washington, D.C. — Today, CEO Michael Pack announced that he has revived the U.S. Agency for Global Media’s (USAGM) Office of Internet Freedom (OIF). OIF was created in 2016, but its operations were shelved by previous agency leadership. Because a number of regimes restrict the exchange of information, while others ban it entirely, there is a critical need to support technologies that allow individuals to securely access and share information online.
“Unlike prior USAGM leadership, which sidelined OIF,” said CEO Pack, “I consider bolstering internet firewall circumvention to be a top priority. Blocking access to information is a horrible thing. But fostering access to information, especially in this advanced capacity, will prove a blow for liberty. That’s why we’re funding a range of internet firewall circumvention tools . Bringing back OIF will further allow our agency to make significant strides in this area.”
OIF’s mission is to support the testing, deployment, and management of technologies that circumvent internet blocking, filtering, and other censorship techniques principally used by repressive regimes, such as China and Iran. OIF has a track record of ensuring that U.S. taxpayer dollars allocated for internet freedom projects are maximized. Moreover, USAGM announced that, through a competitive bidding process, it has awarded several contracts for the deployment of secure and effective anti-censorship technologies, which will enable individuals around the world to more safely access and share news content and other digital information online. The two initial awardees are Psiphon and ACI, which use powerful anti-censorship tools like VPN, SSH, and HTTP proxies. OIF will soon launch another round of competitive bidding to fund additional internet freedom technology
“Our agency,” CEO Pack added, “is determined to expand freedom of expression by continuing to explore, develop, and fund the most secure and effective internet freedom tools. To that end, USAGM has backed technologies that will embolden journalists, activists, and other citizens fighting for liberty around the world by allowing them to evade censorship and surveillance.”
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