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.

Community Technology Retrospective: 2015 Seed Grants

Open Technology Institute

At the end of 2014, the Open Technology Institute and the Detroit Community Technology Project initiated the Community Technology Partnership and began awarding SEED grants to civil society organizations in different parts of the world. We awarded eleven grants over the past year. We started from the understanding that sustainability is not achieved through financial transfers, but rather through the process of relationship and capacity building. We use the word seed to acknowledge that one year is a short period of time for a seed to flourish and grow; it needs care and infrastructure that lasts well beyond the initial funding period of these projects.

Upcoming Events

THE INDUSTRIES OF THE FUTURE

EVENT February 16, 2016 06:30 PM– 08:15 PM

Tuesday February 16, 2016

06:30 PM – 08:15 PM


[u'156 Fifth Avenue, Second Floor', u'New York, NY 10010']

Within 20 years, we’ll see robot suits that allow paraplegics to walk and new drugs able to melt away most cancers. Those are some of the predictions made by Alec Ross in his new book, The Industries of the Future.

More about the event
article | February 05, 2016 | Open Technology Institute

OTI Condemns Plan to Let U.K. Government Use American Companies for Internet Wiretapping

Yesterday, the Washington Post broke the story on secret negotiations between the United States and the United Kingdom on an agreement that would allow the U.K. government to directly request that American Internet companies hand over data and wiretap U.K. customers whose communications are stored in or transmitted through facilities in the U.S.

book | February 03, 2016 | Open Technology Institute
Democracy Reinvented cover image

Democracy Reinvented

Participatory Budgeting and Civic Innovation in America

Participatory Budgeting—the experiment in democracy that could redefine how public budgets are decided in the United States.



Democracy Reinvented is the first comprehensive academic treatment of participatory budgeting in the United States, situating it within a broader trend of civic technology and innovation. This global phenomenon, which has been ...

article | February 01, 2016 | Open Technology Institute

Privacy vs. Connectivity: A False Choice

If you had a choice between someone constantly watching your Internet activity–what sites you visit, who you email, and on what devices–or not accessing the Internet at all, what would you choose? Chances are you would opt for the former. This choice between privacy and connectivity is a false one—and, if forced, one that could significantly harm consumers.

in the news | January 28, 2016 | Open Technology Institute

Ben Carson's Cybersecurity Plan Is Terrible. But At Least He Has One.

It’s old news by now that Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson—despite his medical degree—has a tenuous relationship with science. So I didn’t exactly have great expectations for his campaign’s cybersecurity plan, modestly titled “Prescription for Winning the 21st Century Cyberspace Race.” To be honest, I wasn’t expecting a dedicated cybersecurity plan at all, much less an op-ed dedicated to the topic by Carson in Re/code this week.The op-ed makes several not-very-interesting, not-very-original points: that our society is very dependent on computers, that a hypothetical large-scale attack on the power grid would be devastating, that cybersecurity breaches can have very high costs. (And also that no one has any idea what those costs really are—Carson cites the cost of identity theft as being “anywhere from $25 billion to $50 billion annually.” There are also, of course, identity theft cost estimates out there in the $5 billion and $10 billion range. Take your pick.)

press release | January 27, 2016 | Open Technology Institute

OTI Applauds FCC Action on Set Top Boxes

$20 Billion Device Market Lacks Competition and Innovation

WASHINGTON D.C.— Today, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler circulated a proposal to bring choice and innovation to the market for set-top boxes. Ninety-nine percent of pay-TV subscribers rent a set-top box from their cable provider for lack of any meaningful alternative, costing consumers an average of $231 per year and generating an estimated $20 billion in annual revenue for the cable industry. The FCC plans to vote on the proposal on February 18.

article | January 27, 2016 | Open Technology Institute

OTI Joins 25 Civil Society Groups to Urge Judiciary Committee to Hold Open Surveillance Oversight Hearings

Today, New America’s Open Technology Institute (OTI) joined a coalition of 26 civil society organizations to protest the House Judiciary Committee’s February 2 classified hearing on Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. The hearing is meant to fulfill the promise that Chairman Goodlatte made during the House Judiciary Committee’s consideration of the USA FREEDOM Act - the bill that ended bulk collection of Americans’ personal records under Patriot Act Section 215 as well as several other similar authorities. Committee members threatened to undermine the progress of the reform legislation because of unaddressed privacy concerns raised by bulk collection under Section 702., Chairman Goodlatte quieted the dissent and ensured approval of the USA FREEDOM Act by assuring members that they would have the opportunity to air their concerns.

policy paper | January 26, 2016 | Open Technology Institute
Community Technology Retrospective: 2015 Seed Grants

Community Technology Retrospective: 2015 Seed Grants

Andy Gunn Diana Nucera Ryan Gerety

At the end of 2014, the Open Technology Institute and the Detroit Community Technology Project initiated the Community Technology Partnership and began awarding SEED grants to civil society organizations in different parts of the world. We awarded eleven grants over the past year. We started from the understanding that sustainability is not achieved through financial transfers, but rather through the process of relationship and capacity building. We use the word seed to acknowledge that one year is a short period of time for a seed to flourish and grow; it needs care and infrastructure that lasts well beyond the initial funding period of these projects.

in the news | January 25, 2016 | Open Technology Institute

New America calls for FCC to adopt Qualcomm proposal on 5.9 GHz band

Michael Calabrese: 

The technology policy arm of Washington think tank New America recommended splitting a portion of unlicensed spectrum between wireless applications and new automotive technology in a report it issued last week.

The report, authored by the organization's Wireless Future Project Director Michael A. Calabrese, covered possibilities for ...

in the news | January 25, 2016 | Open Technology Institute

In age of ISIS, will you lose web freedoms of Arab Spring?

The Internet remains a powerful tool for people fighting for social justice and human rights around the world, but we've witnessed the extent to which it also can be powerful in the hands of dictators and terrorists.With headlines swirling about the Islamic State's use of social media to recruit people from across the globe -- sometimes mobilizing them to kill on ISIS' behalf -- we're left with a challenge: How do we in the democratic world prevent terrorists from capitalizing on the Internet without compromising our own freedom?

press release | January 20, 2016 | Open Technology Institute

TechCongress Announces First Class of Congressional Innovation Fellows

Embedded fellows will provide deep technical knowledge and expertise to Congress

TechCongress, a fellowship program incubated by New America’s Open Technology Institute (OTI) that is bringing technologists to Congress, is pleased to announce its first class of Congressional Innovation Fellows: John Costello and JC Cannon. The Fellows will find a placement with a Member of Congress or Congressional Committee to gain experience in the the legislative process and bring firsthand technical experience and knowledge to Congressional policymaking.