The Challenge


How can we strengthen the Internet for free expression and innovation? read the brief


During this phase, we review every entry we received, with the help of a team of outside readers. We also invite the public to look through submissions and offer feedback, ideas, and questions.

YWP 3.0: A digital community for youths across the nation where civility, creative risk, learning and free expression reign.

In a small corner of the Internet, Young Writers Project (YWP), a nonprofit, has helped thousands of VT & NH youths connect with each other, improve their digital writing skills and gain voice and audience. Strong writing skills are essential to succeed in school and the workplace. As democracy is dependent on civil, informed discussion, strong writing skills are vital for youths to fully engage in civic life and to express ideas, opinions and knowledge with clarity and power. YWP will redesign and rebuild its current Web community and open it to youths (10-21) nationwide. It will model civility, connected learning, community action and creative risk. Mentors, artists and educators will guide. We will build a generation of better writers. Offers a Widget that Opens a 'Window on Congress' in any Blog or Article -- and Turns it Into a Powerful Social-Media Platform for Action. has two parts: a widget that scrapes live data from government and nonprofit sources 24/7, and turns it into an easy-to-use, intuitive search engine driven by keywords ("immigration";"voting rights"); by cutting and pasting HTML code, anyone can attach the search results for live legislation inside any article or blog. Then you can send the live bills flying through social media embedded with comments -- from you, politicians and organizations; this lets anyone understand the bill much more easily. Finally you can fundraise, drive effective voter petitions, and book a meeting with your neighbors and your district rep, using the widget. The second part is a citizen-written news and opinion page linked to bills and the debate
Thumbnail : Participants at the PDF Applied 2012 hackathon during Personal Democracy Forum.

Personal Democracy Center, a community center for the “Internet public” in NYC

We believe the open Internet is vital to the creation of a more transparent, participatory, and equitable society, and that a powerful way to defend and extend the open Internet is by nurturing a community of innovators and activists who can use it to prove it makes people’s lives better. We are building a year-round community center in NYC where civic technologists, community activists, public officials and public-minded entrepreneurs--who understand the power of the open Internet--can pool their talents to solve meaningful problems at scale. Building on our successful annual Personal Democracy Forum and its diverse network, we want to create an institution that can act as a permanent resource for those working on net-enabled change.
Thumbnail : 1 min product demo (alpha release)

Inspire: Invest: Impact: a peer-to-peer platform to springboard social change.

PeerSpring is a funding marketplace for youth who share our lofty goal of solving some of society's most perplexing problems. We are a unique community of passionate people and impact investors who come together to nurture and develop scalable social projects. This is achieved through a combination of online and real-world educational resources designed to support and herald the next generations' unique approaches to philanthropy.
Thumbnail : Each year, an estimated 15 million hours are spent on peer review of manuscripts that are ultimately rejected, and a similar amount on grant proposals. Since these submissions and reviews are all secret, that's essentially a waste of time for everyone. Making submissions and reviews public by default could turn that exercise into a valuable resource. For the calculation, see .

Opening up research proposals

Research proposals are among the most closely guarded secrets in academia. If instead they were public, they would stimulate global collaboration, help funders find and connect with under-valued research, enable journalists to follow a broader arc of the research process — and much more, limited only by the imagination of Internet users and developers. To stimulate change, we want to build and populate a platform for sharing, tweaking, aggregating and archiving actionable research proposals. We will work with pioneers who have already shared research proposals publicly, and with funders sharing our interest in better proposals. We will conduct research to understand the potential for opening research proposals and the impact of doing so.
Thumbnail : So it's almost 3 a.m., and you're a local indie journalist posting a story about the upcoming elections. You run into trouble with your content management system. Who ya gonna call?

IndieNews Startup SOS

If it’s true that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged, then the troubles at Patch and other news organizations that led to massive layoffs just may be good for democracy. Here’s why: When you feed and train hundreds of journalists in the latest multimedia journalism techniques, and then release them into the wild, they’re going to keep on doing what they do best. For many of them, that’s covering the towns they love. They get laid off on a Thursday afternoon, and they start up their own local indie news site on Friday morning. To help these local journalists thrive, we propose setting up an organization and platform where they can network, and get training, advice and micro-grants.
Thumbnail : Briar can sync messages and forums directly between devices, with no need for a central server.

Secure messaging, anywhere.

We're building a messaging app that's as simple to use as WhatsApp, as secure as PGP, and that keeps working if somebody breaks the Internet. Briar is a messaging app designed for activists, journalists, and anyone else who needs a safe, easy and robust way to communicate. Unlike traditional messaging tools such as email, Twitter or Telegram, Briar doesn't rely on a central server - messages are synchronized directly between the users' devices. If the Internet's down, Briar can sync via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, keeping the information flowing in a crisis. If the Internet's up, Briar can sync via the Tor network, protecting users and their relationships from surveillance.
Thumbnail : Briar can sync messages and forums directly between devices, with no need for a central server.

(MEDIOSENCOLOMBIA.COM) Data journalism + infographics. An innovative media-map about the impact of new technologies in the society.

This is a iniatitive to give sense and structure to the never ending flow of data about the media industry in Colombia. We are exploring new ways to create visual representations of data so people can have a better understanding of the impact of technology in our society.
Thumbnail : Briar can sync messages and forums directly between devices, with no need for a central server.

MediaGoblin: Decentralized Social Media Publishing for Everyone

MediaGoblin is a decentralized and social media publishing system focused on user freedom. It supports many different media types; images, video, audio, 3D models and more. Instead of needing a seperate service for each one (YouTube+Flickr+SoundCloud+Vimeo+Thingiverse), each controlled by a specific company with a walled-off network, when you use MediaGoblin you need just one account -- and it's yours to control. For maximum independence you can host your own network node, or just create an account on a node you trust. It archives all your media, and lets you share with as large or small a circle as you wish. MediaGoblin is free and open source software, making it the censorship- and surveillance-resistant solution for global media sharing.
Thumbnail : International Science Fair

Collabkit: Making free and open collaborative learning tools and content available for all children

Our team is from the core group that built and improved the platform that runs Wikipedia and we want to empower the next generation to collaborate, without restriction, in the development of quality learning content and materials. We believe that every child on the planet should have access to a quality learning experience so we're developing tools that allow every child on the planet to create, learn and share free content. Inspired by the lectures of educational evangelist Sir Ken Robinson (who's also now an advisor on this project) we're infusing some of his ideas with our know-how to allow for the development of new creative learning processes.
Thumbnail : A Mahan Sangharsh Samiti member talks about her involvement in the campaign against Mahan Coal Limited. A Mobilisation Lab story profiled the use of mobile radio and cellphones to mobilise grassroots power.  © Vivek Muthuramalingam

Mobilisation Journal: News and analysis of people-powered social change around the world

The Mobilisation Lab at Greenpeace tests, analyses and reports on rapid shifts in people-led campaigning across the globe. MobLab has produced over 200 stories, case studies, and practitioner toolkits covering campaign innovation and experimentation in digital engagement, recruitment, grassroots organising, and communications. Interest in MobLab’s analysis, network-building, and stories demonstrates growing need for a resource to facilitate learning across a global community of individuals, networks and organizations leading social change campaigns. We’re seeking funding to extend our practitioner-led storytelling to cover a broader spectrum of global campaigns in a wider variety of formats.
Thumbnail : Checkdesk: An Open Verification Toolkit for Journalists in the Digital Age

Checkdesk: An Open Verification Toolkit for Journalists in the Digital Age

How can I verify this? That’s the constant refrain of journalists covering fast-moving stories online. Faced with a barrage of videos, tweets and photos from myriad sources, how do you know what’s true? Misinformation spreads like wildfire. Think Sandy, Boston, Syria. Sometimes even trusted news organizations spread it. How can you avoid the trap? Checkdesk can help you. Drawing on Craig Silverman’s Verification Handbook, Checkdesk offers a checklist of functions for checking a video, photo, or tweet. See an amazing new photo on a big story and Checkdesk will take you through the steps you need to check it’s true: reverse image search, reveal EXIF data, view satellite image of location. Checkdesk turbocharges you into the editor’s chair.
Thumbnail : Open value networks: Tiberus Brastaviceanu at TEDxMontreal

SENSORICA: Open-source 2.0 - Get rewarded for your contributions

Sensorica is designing and implementing the open value network model, which allows open access to value creation and fair redistribution of revenue. The platform that we are developing allows people to collaborate on open source projects at large scale. On the platform, the participants log their contributions (research, production, sales, etc), evaluate others’ work and dynamically vote to make decisions in order to build reputation and gain equity in a project. This equity is based on the contributions and is calculated by an equation that is decided by the project participants. The revenue generated by exchanging the value created in the market is distributed as per the participants’ equity that creates incentives for value creation.
Thumbnail : The image is the outer edges of a grand anti-prism, a connected web-like structure with no center.

The Red Matrix

The Red Matrix is a decentralised identity platform which brings single sign-on to the internet - without any corporate middle-men. One password accesses anything in the matrix, which can grow to millions of sites. It's also a decentralised social network where monitoring and spying are minimised or eliminated. It's also a personal cloud server which can privately share with any specific people anywhere - even those who have accounts on other systems and platforms. This identity (who you are) is nomadic and doesn't belong to any server or service. If you don't like your current provider or if the server you use has a problem, you can appear anywhere in the matrix and continue on without disruption.
Thumbnail : Adding to the beginning of the URL will tell you when rebuttals are present.

rbutr: Crowdsourcing the Full Story

rbutr tells you when the webpage you are currently viewing has been disputed, refuted or debunked elsewhere on the internet. This breaks us out of the all-too-common state of affairs where Google and our Facebook friends tend to link us to information that matches our preferences and supports our existing point of view. It works by letting users map ‘claim->rebuttal’ connections between any two web pages. Whenever anyone visits the ‘claim’ page, they are alerted to the existence of the ‘rebutting’ page. Anyone using the rbutr browser extension will have a better experience of the internet because it provides: 1. critical analysis of information; 2. access to more information; 3. equitable participation by all perspectives.
Thumbnail : Adding to the beginning of the URL will tell you when rebuttals are present. Bringing you the science behind the headlines

Claims spread exponentially on social media and in the news and more of these claims insist science is on their side. What does the science say? What's the evidence? '' is an online reality check, with easy-to-understand information on trending issues available for everyone. Within 24 hours you’ll be able to access timely, reliable, impartial and accurate background briefs on your mobile device or computer.
Thumbnail : Adding to the beginning of the URL will tell you when rebuttals are present.

Online public comment should replicate traditional and legislated standards, practices and processes. Not reinvent them.

Democracy thrives where there is freedom of expression & good government depends on meaningful input between officials & constituents. The Internet enables a new era for resident-government collaboration. However, informal or unstructured online public comment is akin to the demonstration or rally where many people share anonymous voices. While the collective impact usually conveys sentiment to its intended recipient, it is not necessarily enlightening. Public officials cannot determine who is commenting. Residents aren’t sure their message is delivered. Formal, structured public comment allows for validation and attribution of comment and contributor. Officials can identify constituents. Residents know comments are received & recorded.
Thumbnail : Adding to the beginning of the URL will tell you when rebuttals are present.

Open Internet Lab: New Networks to Strengthen Online Freedoms

A project of Free Press, The Open Internet Lab will bring together government, technology and civic leaders for hands-on tech demos, interactive exhibits and in-depth dialogue with those who are using the Web to protect freedom of expression, deepen civic engagement and bolster local economies. Too often policymakers have a narrow view of the role the open Internet plays in our culture. The Open Internet Lab will create opportunities for communities, policymakers and technologists to connect, foster civic innovation and protect free expression. In a series of regional gatherings, policymakers will gain a real-world view of the Web we want and the protections we need to secure it.
Thumbnail : Adding to the beginning of the URL will tell you when rebuttals are present.

Outernet: Uncensored Broadcast Data for the World.

Outernet is the library for 3-billion people who would otherwise not have one. Instead of placing books on shelves, Outernet transmits digital content from space. Imagine if content from all over the internet was available as a free data broadcast. Outernet is the modern version of shortwave radio . It's like BitTorrent from space; open-access and globally accessible. Outernet bypasses censorship, ensures privacy, and offers a universal information service at no cost to global citizens. Outernet will ensure news, information, and education is available to all of humanity, regardless of income, infrastructure, geography, or jurisdiction. Universal access to the world's largest idea-exchange will yield unimaginable innovation.
Thumbnail : Anthony, of To Be Heard, at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe

Open Slams: Digital Writing, Social Impact and the (Creative) Web for Youth

“If you don’t learn to write your own life story, someone else will write it for you,” is Power Poetry's motto. We are, with over 140,000 registered users from across the globe, the world’s first and largest mobile/online poetry community for youth. Power Poetry launched in April 2012, and we are submitting an application to the Knight News Challenge to develop and launch “Open Slams,” an initiative that will amplify the impact of youth voices on the web--and beyond!
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