The Challenge


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


In this phase, we ask semifinalists to provide additional information about their projects and post it here for our review.
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TOONISTAN - A Citizen Cartoon Generator and Social Network

Toonistan is an interactive social media platform that allows citizens in repressive societies to create their own cartoons to express their opinions and share them with others through humor and engagement. Around the world, citizens are using the Internet, and social media, to share information and views that might otherwise be banned from traditional media. In the world’s most repressive environments, humor is a powerful tool to break away from censorship, taboos, polarization, and apathy, allowing citizens to express themselves in a safe and creative way that resonates with others.
Thumbnail : "404" by adactio is licensed under CC BY 2.0

404-No-More: Fix Missing Links Forever

URLs are impermanent and often unreliable. How many times have you clicked a link only to find a 404 (Not Found) error? Or followed a citation to find the original content missing? We are a group of people who want to fix the way hyperlinks work.
Thumbnail : "404" by adactio is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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 : 55 million people in the U.S. have a disability. It's time online news took accessibility seriously.

NewsA11y: web app for making news sites more accessible

Imagine being deaf and a news video isn't captioned, or being physically unable to click those hundreds of tiny news links with a mouse. U.S. citizens with disabilities are often shut out by online news and deprived of their equal right to information. Sites like CNN, FOX, NYTimes aren't taking accessibility seriously. NewsA11y will close the accessibility gap by bridging the digital divide between two groups that can’t easily connect: the disabled community and online news teams. NewsA11y has 3 goals: 1) Crowdsource barriers encountered on news sites (public, free) 2) Collaborate on solutions (public, free) 3) Facilitate individualized accessibility testing (private, paid) Let’s build a platform so all users are heard.
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Open Notice & Consent Receipts (by Open

A critical challenge persists for individuals to control personal data and negotiate online privacy and terms of service policies. Proposed solutions ask vendors to create more simple, modular privacy policies. This places an unfair burden on the user to anticipate the effects of policies, abusing the sovereign right to control personal data. We propose an alternative: an open market for privacy icons showing simplified, “Consumer Reports” style visual comparisons of policies; where companies compete on privacy, before consent is given. Once accepted, a “Consent Receipt” would be created, including consent preferences. Aggregated statistics would show the now opened policy data for activity and consent preferences like Do Not Track.
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STARTUP POLICY LAB: developing the voice of the startup community

The startup community is large and fragmented. This makes organizing the community around policy issues to protect the Internet incredibly difficult. The Startup Policy Lab connects the startup community with policy advocates and policy makers through events organized around specific issues relevant to the community. These events focus on education and community building to empower individuals to engage with the policy process. Developing the startup community’s culture of advocacy and engagement requires access to information. The Startup Policy Lab is not advocacy organization. Rather, the Startup Policy Lab is a platform for the community to gather with a focus on education and engagement through events and multimedia content.
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Inquisite: empowering self-assembled groups to effortlessly collaborate to investigate the questions that interest them.

Using practices born of social networking, GitHub and Kickstarter have fundamentally transformed how software development and fund-raising work. Inquisite does the same for collaborative research by coupling an open sharing, visualization and publishing platform to mobile data gathering tools. To create projects on Inquisite, researchers contribute source material – images, audio, video, documents, even quantitative data – to a hub. Users can then watch, or join, the effort to analyze, contextualize, discuss and interpret this material. Inquisite is for people creating or collecting data - be they biologists, journalists, citizen scientists, activists, or historians – who want to open their research to new and diverse communities.
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Hyperaudio - Providing a Path to Media Literacy - Encouraging a New Generation to Express Themselves on the Web

Hyperaudio enables a completely new and powerful way of remixing and creating media. Hyperaudio works by using the transcript of the spoken word as a base. Tools are provided to transcribe audio or video right down to the word and remix it. Word-aligned media-linked transcripts (Hypertranscripts) are key because they break web based media out of their boxes. Hypertranscripts allow you to navigate, expose, search and remix media in ways we have never been able to before - in doing so we make audio and video more accessible, especially to people with learning difficulties and disabilities. Powerfully, when you create media using Hyperaudio you create media with the 'source code' intact. You can learn from and remix the remix.
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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.
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An interactive online India-focused portal which will track, discuss & analyze issues impacting free speech & expression in the online space, as well as provide an accessible forum for interested/affected parties to be informed of their rights.

The pervasiveness of ICT technologies plays a special role in developing countries like India, where due to a variety of reasons, a majority of the country has traditionally had poor means or methods of access to, or dissemination of information. However, despite new technologies allowing a hitherto impossible level of democratization of information, certain power structures have allowed unnecessary barriers to creep in. To address this, we aim to provide an India-focused digital portal that 1)tracks attempts at chilling free speech (SLAPP litigations); 2)provides easily accessible and relevant legal information for hindered parties 3)creates an online nodal point for interested parties to debate and analyze related laws/policy
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Global Censorship Measurement

Leverage our skills as M-Lab developers to launch global censorship measurement tools that can produce robust, global data and clear visualizations that will inform the public about Internet censorship activity.
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"ALTER EGOS": Navigating the Web through Multiple Identities

This project proposes to develop, implement and test a Firefox extension (add-on) that allows users to create, assume and manage a series of separate multiple online identities. The project leverages existing Mozilla open source tools, namely the Multifox extension and the Lightbeam, taking them one step further. It thus combines, enhances and transforms these tools into an alternative and original fully-fledged identity management system for the web. This project unlocks the power of online pseudonymity, allowing users to freely express themselves through a set of online personae separate from their physical identity, that is, without being necessarily constrained by racial, physical and geographical idiosyncrasies or prejudices.
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CertiDig - Using technology to make data sharing safer

CertiDig is an information technology that provides confirmation of source authenticity while allowing for source privacy of content delivered online. It will allow everyone to safely share information with assurance of credibility and confidentiality. The adoption of CertiDig and its symbol of authenticity will allow the sharing of trustworthy information across the Internet while protecting the identity of the source of the information. Media, health, business and educational applications will benefit from this increased credibility and security.
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Check Out the Internet: Libraries Lending Internet Access

The goal of this project is to expand the reach and benefits of free access to the Internet provided by The New York Public Library (NYPL) to underserved youth and communities by allowing them to borrow portable WiFi Hotspot devices from their local libraries for a sustained period of time. This service would substantially expand the Internet access that is currently available only when libraries are physically open; with this effort, patrons would bring the Internet into their homes, 24 hours a day.
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Toward a Trustworthy Internet—The Civium Information Commons

The Civium Information Commons is an effort to dramatically increase the trustworthiness of information on the Internet by directly addressing shortcomings of present practice. These include the lack of provenance of online information; the lack of persistent identity of information objects; excessively centralized data control; and the impermanence of Web-based information. Civium addresses these issues via technical and organizational innovations. The former involves a radically-decentralized peer-to-peer data replication scheme and universally-unique identifiers. The latter calls for a "Civium Foundation"—an NGO to guide and promote adoption of these techniques. The result will be the emergence of a true, public Information Commons.
Thumbnail : PeerLibrary community video. Shows the emerging community of PeerLibrary, as well as the project's origins in the open access movement.

PeerLibrary – Facilitating the global conversation on academic literature

PeerLibrary aims to facilitate the global conversation on every scholarly work. We are developing a collaborative online community where scholars and researchers can read, discover, and discuss various scholarly literature all within one place. PeerLibrary encourages critical reading and engaging in the text by providing tools to annotate and comment directly on the works. Users can highlight important information and take notes in the margins online. Note-taking tools encourage active analysis, a recording of insights and questions while reading. We hope that if we promote collaboration within the scientific process, science will produce improved results and better serve the community.
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.

Mailpile - secure e-mail for the masses!

Mailpile is taking e-mail back by creating a modern fast e-mail client with strong encryption & privacy features. Built on existing protocols and standards, Mailpile provides a safe alternative to commercial cloud offerings by enabling people to store their most personal communication data on hardware they control. Out-of-the-box Mailpile provides strong encryption, both on-disk storage, and for messages in transit using OpenPGP. Mailpile has a sleek user interface designed to reduce complexity & minimize technical knowledge required by the user. We wish to further develop and promote Mailpile to make it a viable option for activists, journalists, lawyers, doctors, and privacy and security minded individuals or organizations.
Thumbnail : Handheld wireless devices stream newscasts live on the frontlines of the protests in Ukraine.

Connecting 'Offline' Communities Through Mobile Internet Exchange Festivals and Digital Literacy Workshops

According to a recent study by Deloitte, a number of social, economic and political improvements emerge as communities gain access to the Internet. (1) However, of the world’s 7 billion people, only 2.7 billion are online. The digital divide is even wider in Southeast Asia where countries like Cambodia and Myanmar (Burma) have Internet penetration rates as low as 4.9% and .16% respectively. We aim to bring the benefits of Internet connectivity to 'offline' communities across Southeast Asia. Through digital literacy workshops and 'Internet Exchange Festivals' we give voice to these communities by introducing them to the Internet so they can learn how to access information, and share their ideas online. (1)
Thumbnail : An overview of Apps for Good.

Apps for Good: A technology education movement which is growing the next generation of problem-solvers and digital makers.

Apps for Good is a programme which enables young people to use the internet and digital tools to become makers and not just consumers of technology. We want to build the next generation of tech entrepreneurs who can use the internet to learn, play and create solutions to real-life problems in their communities. We train educators within schools to deliver our programme to their students, teaching important technical and entrepreneurial skills such as coding, critical thinking and public speaking. We are currently training 17,000 students in the UK and have pilots in Spain and in the U.S. In the next five years, we want to become a global movement that changes the way technology is taught to a more problem-based and student-led approach.
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