RELEASE:To Tackle Increasing Online Censorship, Surveillance, OpenITP Hires 2 Special Advisors

New Hires Reflect Increasing Needs of Internet Freedom Defenders to Fight Oppressive Regimes
Published:   June 12, 2013

New York City - The Open Internet Tools Project (OpenITP) announced today the appointment of Carolyn Anhalt and Nadim Kobeissi as special advisors, who will help tackle the increasing needs and challenges of Internet activists fighting online surveillance and censorship around the world, particularly in Iran and China. OpenITP is a part of the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute.

"Recent developments in both the USA and abroad have shown us that powerful entities are working hard to control and monitor our communications,” said OpenITP Director James Vasile. “While there is a passionate community of activists who work to protect everyone's online rights, the stakes and challenges are higher than ever. This community needs resources and support to ensure that future generations have an Internet that allows for privacy and anonymity and is resistant to control.”

Started in 2011, OpenITP provides communities behind open source anti-censorship and anti-surveillance tools with support and services they need. These free software tools, also known as circumvention tools, are used by activists and concerned netizens worldwide who want to keep the Internet a public sphere.

However, in recent years, the software creators behind these tools have been combating more sophisticated blocking tactics used by government censors. At the same time, activists are confronting increasingly harsher political climates. The 2011 Harvard Berkman Center study “Circumvention Tool Evaluation” confirms this reality, reporting that governments are increasingly willing to take drastic measures to control online speech.

This has lead to an increase in requests for OpenITP’s services and expert knowledge, which prompted the organization to hire industry experts Anhalt and Kobeissi as special advisors.

Anhalt will facilitate OpenITP's translation and localization efforts. This includes providing outreach for projects to overseas communities as well as technical and security advice. She has over 20 years of experience in software development, network administration, and localizing technology for different cultures. Notably, in the past she served as Translation Community Manager for Tor, a well-known anonymity and circumvention tool, and most recently as Chief Technology Officer for Informsec.

Kobeissi — best known for creating Cryptocat, one of the world's most popular encrypted chat applications — will collaborate with staff to improve and promote the tool, as well as organize developer meetings and provide consultation on security and encryption matters when needed.

For more information, please contact Sandra Ordonez at (503) 866-2697 or email her at sandraordonez@openitp.org. You can also visit www.openitp.org

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About OpenITP
OpenITP supports the software creators and communities behind open source anti-surveillance and anti-censorship tools that enable world citizens to communicate directly and freely with each other, on their own terms. Our goal is identify opportunities that will improve and increase the distribution of these circumvention tools.