The Open Technology Institute strengthens communities through grounded research, technological innovation, and policy reform. We create reforms to support open source innovations and foster open technologies and communications networks. Partnering with communities, researchers, industry and public interest groups, we promote affordable, universal, and ubiquitous communications networks.

OTI Joins With Major Internet Companies and Privacy Advocates to Demand Surveillance Reform

Open Technology Institute

New America’s Open Technology Institute, on behalf of a broad coalition of Internet companies, trade associations, and advocates for privacy and human rights, today released an open letter pressing Congress to pass legislation that would end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ communications records.

The letter ...

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press release | April 24, 2015 | Open Technology Institute

Collapse of Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger is a ‘Tremendous Victory’ for Consumers and Broadband Competition

WASHINGTON, DC — Comcast announced this morning that it is abandoning its acquisition of Time Warner Cable. The merger, which was announced in February 2014, faced significant headwinds at the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice. The Open Technology Institute repeatedly urged both agencies to block the deal.

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press release | April 23, 2015 | Open Technology Institute

House Passes Second Flawed Cybersecurity Information Sharing Bill

Washington, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed, with a vote of 355-63, the Homeland Security Committee’s cybersecurity information sharing bill, the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act of 2015 (NCPAA, H.R 1731). Though still flawed, the NCPAA does a significantly better job at protecting Americans’ privacy than the House Intelligence Committee’s bill, the Protecting Cyber Networks Act (PCNA, H.R. 1560). PCNA is opposed by OTI and 54 other civil society groups and security experts, and raises many serious concerns, including weak requirements to remove personal information, overbroad use authorizations for law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and automatic sharing with the NSA.

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press release | April 23, 2015 | Open Technology Institute

Comcast Reportedly Abandons Time Warner Cable Merger

Washington, DC — According to various media reports today, Comcast may abandon its proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable. The merger, which was announced in February 2014, has faced significant headwinds at the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice in recent weeks. The Open Technology Institute has repeatedly urged both agencies to block the deal.

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press release | April 22, 2015 | Open Technology Institute

The Case for Building a Social Policy Centered on Families

New Report Calls for Reimagining Outdated Policies

Washington, DC - Today, New America’s Family-Centered Social Policy Initiative released its first report, calling for new frameworks to help American families navigate today’s challenges. According to the report, Strengthening Ties: The Case for Building a Social Policy Centered on Families, outdated and siloed social policies fail to help families thrive and prosper in the face of new economic, demographic, and technological changes. Policymakers must adapt and think of innovative ways to support families and help them succeed.

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article | April 22, 2015 | Open Technology Institute
Families and the Pressures of digital technologies

Families and the Pressures of digital technologies

What pressures do American families experience in our new data-driven, tech-dependent society? Over the past forty years, information and communication technologies have transformed the way we work, the nature of learning and education, and the methods by which we achieve personal and collective goals. Parents, grandparents, children, and the range of loved ones who form part of the modern family today face new and challenging choices about technology use, access, and control. In this blog, Seeta Peña Gangadharan, Lisa Guernsey, and Greta Byrum capture the broad trends, helping to link questions about technology other social concerns and set the stage to reenvision social policy through the lens of the family. The piece is an excerpt of a newly published report released by New America's program on Family-Centered Social Policy.

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press release | April 22, 2015 | Open Technology Institute

OTI Strongly Condemns Senator McConnell’s Proposal to Extend NSA Spy Program Without Any Reform

Washington, DC - Last night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr introduced a bill, S. 1035, that would extend for five more years the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act that are set to expire on June 1st, including PATRIOT Section 215 which has been used to authorize the National Security Agency’s controversial bulk collection of Americans’ phone records. The bill is a straight reauthorization without any new reforms. The Open Technology Institute (OTI) strongly opposes this bill.

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press release | April 22, 2015 | Open Technology Institute

House Passage of Intelligence Committee’s Cybersecurity Information Sharing Bill is Bad for Privacy, Bad for Information Security

Washington, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed the House Intelligence Committee’s bill, the Protecting Cyber Networks Act (PCNA, H.R. 1560), with a vote of 307 to 116. The bill would authorize companies to share so-called “cyber threat indicators” with the government and with one another. OTI strongly opposes the PCNA, and recently joined a group of 55 civil society organizations, security experts and academics in a letter to Congress raising serious concerns and urging a “No” vote.

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press release | April 21, 2015 | Open Technology Institute

55 Civil Society Groups, Security Experts, and Academics Strongly Oppose Intelligence Committees’ Cybersecurity Information Sharing Bills

Washington, DC – Yesterday, a coalition of 55 civil society groups, security experts, and academics sent two letters to Congress: one letter strongly opposing the House Intelligence Committee’s cybersecurity information sharing bill, the Protecting Cyber Networks Act (PCNA, H.R. 1560); and a second letter strongly opposing the Senate Intelligence Committee’s companion bill, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA, S. 754).

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in the news | April 20, 2015 | Open Technology Institute

The future of civic technology

The story of Mass Tech’s Innovation Institute suggests that the divide between “government” and “civil society” is smaller than some expect. The two groups rely on each other to promote more efficacious and equitable governance. Educating more people about the innovative work of government can build stronger, more resilient systems while also fostering more trust in governance institutions.

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press release | April 17, 2015 | Open Technology Institute

FCC Votes to Create new Citizens Broadband Radio Service

New America's Michael Calabrese Available for Comment

This morning, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 5-0 to create a new Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS). For the first time, the FCC has opened a lightly-used Federal government band, used primarily for Navy radar, for shared use by both licensed and unlicensed users. The FCC Report & Order represents the initial implementation of a proposal for widespread spectrum sharing of underused Federal bands made in July 2012 by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

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in the news | April 15, 2015 | Open Technology Institute

The Education Department Is Working On A Process For Forgiving Student Loans

The department is walking a fine line as it formalizes a process for student debt forgiveness, said Ben Miller, a senior education policy analyst at the New America Foundation. “You want to place reasonable demands on the borrower, but not go too far overboard,” Miller said. “You don’t want to trap them in a horrible web of red tape.”

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press release | April 15, 2015 | Open Technology Institute

As Data Breach Legislation Advances in House Along Party Lines, Committee Votes Against Strengthening Protections for Consumers

Washington, DC - Today the House Energy & Commerce Committee marked up HR 1770, the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2015, and advanced the bill to the full House. Despite being touted as a bipartisan bill, votes to advance it out of committee were split along party lines, with even Rep. Welch (D-VT), the only Democrat who originally co-sponsored the bill, voting not to advance the bill. As OTI has explained, the bill would eliminate key protections for sensitive information under existing state law and the Communications Act.

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in the news | April 14, 2015 | Open Technology Institute

U.S. Tech Companies and Investors Look to Gain from Iran Deal

Peeling back sanctions on Iran would breathe life into Tehran's tech scene—and unlock a young, tech-savvy consumer base for Western tech companies.

For now, American tech companies that want to put their products in front of Iranians are held back by restrictions from both governments. On one side, the strict U.S. sanctions that prevent most companies from doing business in Iran have kept tech companies away from the country, despite special ...

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article | April 14, 2015 | Open Technology Institute
Resources for the Public on the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2015

Resources for the Public on the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2015

As a bill moves toward markup by the full House Energy & Commerce Committee on Wednesday, OTI offers its analysis of the bill.

This week, the Energy & Commerce Committee in the House of Representatives will be considering the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2015. The Open Technology Institute was critical of an earlier draft of the bill, and in testimony delivered at a subcommittee hearing last month, OTI Senior Policy Counsel ...

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article | April 14, 2015 | Open Technology Institute
Comments to the U.S. CIO on Proposed HTTPS-Only Standard for Federal Websites

Comments to the U.S. CIO on Proposed HTTPS-Only Standard for Federal Websites

The CIO of the United States has proposed that all Federal government websites should support mandatory HTTPS encryption. The Open Technology Institute at New America wholeheartedly supports this proposal, which will significantly improve Americans’ privacy and security, and send a clear message that HTTPS protection should be considered a basic ...

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in the news | April 13, 2015 | Open Technology Institute

OVERNIGHT CYBERSECURITY: Threat-sharing bill heads to markup

But privacy groups, some key Senate Democrats and the White House could pose a threat to passage. House Homeland Security did get points from the privacy community on Monday for being the best of the three bills out there. "However, there are still some remaining concerns," said Robyn Greene, policy counsel with the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute. "The bill would still allow companies to share unnecessary personal information." You can check out the bill here, and get info on Tuesday's markup here.

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in the news | April 13, 2015 | Open Technology Institute

New cyberthreat information-sharing bill may be more friendly to privacy

The National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement NCPA Act, introduced Monday in the House of Representatives by two Texas Republicans, appears to do a "much better job" at protecting privacy than two bills that have passed through the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, said Robyn Greene, policy counsel at the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute. Still, the NCPA raises some concerns, Greene said. It would allow companies to share some "unnecessary" personal information with government agencies, and it authorizes companies to deploy defensive measures that could harm "innocent" network users who aren't cyberattackers, she said.