About Us

“The Open Technology Institute looks at how, in this digital age, we ensure that there is universal access, that we have an Internet that is as Sir Timothy Berners-Lee envisioned: one that is open and free, ... where inequities in other parts of society don’t play out.” 
Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation

OTI works at the intersection of technology and policy to ensure that every community has equitable access to digital technology and its benefits. We promote universal access to communications technologies that are both open and secure, using a multidisciplinary approach that brings together advocates, researchers, organizers, and innovators.

Our current focus areas include surveillance, privacy and security, net neutrality, broadband access, and consumer privacy. OTI conducts data-driven research, develops policy and regulatory reforms, and builds real-world pilot projects to impact both public policy and physical communications infrastructure that people interact with every day.  

The Open Technology Institute supports free expression and open technologies at home and around the world, and is committed to supporting engaged, self-sufficient communities by promoting safe and affordable access to connectivity. We view technology not as an end in and of itself, but a means.

Across our work, we are guided by these principles:


Our source code, processes, materials and reports are open and available. We encourage participation by individuals and communities adapting, improving and using our tools.


We support and defend the right to privacy and freedom from surveillance; our technologies are designed for safety and security; our research methods are respectful and sensitive to privacy concerns.


We believe in the equality of all individuals. We do not empower the communities we work with; they are already empowered, or they empower themselves. We support their work by providing trainings, tools, and resources.

Collective self-determination

Community partners decide how they want to engage and how they want to use our tools. We follow their lead.


We show respect and give back to the communities we engage with locally and virtually.


We are accountable to these principles in everything we do.

(1) As members of the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition, we believe that communication is a fundamental human right; we are securing that right for the digital age by promoting access, participation, common ownership, and healthy communities.