Organizations hoping to land a contract may focus proposals on any region or country, including Cuba.
Grants will range from $500,000 to $2.5 million. The deadline is July 1.
The State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor is running the program. The bureau said it is particularly interested in the following five broad areas:
1) Technology Expanding Open and Uncensored Access to Information and Communications: Development and support of web and mobile anti-censorship technologies that expand open access to information and communications. Projects may include but are not limited to:
- Development of new technologies for defeating censorship, for maintaining availability of information, and for alternative network infrastructures.
- Improvements to proven technologies including deployment, expansion, adaptation, and/or localization of proven anti-censorship technologies; and improvement of usability and user interfaces to enable broader populations of users to adopt anti-censorship tools.
- Content redistribution that uses new methods to reintroduce content behind firewalls or similar services.
Areas of Focus for 2014:
a) Improved usability for Internet freedom tools
b) Security auditing for DRL-funded programs
c) Scalable and sustainable next-generation anti-censorship technologies that move beyond traditional “cat-and-mouse” techniques
2) Secure Communication Technology: Development and support of web and mobile technologies that enhance the privacy and security of digital communications. Projects may include but are not limited to:
- Development of new technologies for secure communications, privacy protection, or anonymization; hardened software and secure operating systems that are less susceptible to intrusion or infection; and secure online services, such as email and website hosting with robust defenses against hacking and other attacks.
- Improvements to proven technologies including the deployment, expansion, adaptation, and/or localization of proven security tools; and improvement of usability and user interfaces to enable broader populations of users to adopt secure communications tools.
- Re-usable libraries or platforms that provide the underlying software that may be used by communication and access tools. This includes tools to disguise encrypted communications as ordinary traffic without compromising security.
Areas of Focus for 2014:
a) Usability and security audits for secure communication tools
b) Platform-level technologies that have the potential to scale because they enhance security for many other tools
c) Resistance against state-sponsored malware or DDoS attacks
3) Digital Safety: Delivery of support, training and information that contributes to greater digital safety for users in Internet repressive societies and/or at-risk populations. Projects may include but are not limited to:
- Digital safety skills development for high-risk activists through trainings, local mentorship, leadership development, peer learning and guided practice approaches.
- Emergency support for urgent cases and special needs of targeted individuals or groups.
- Resource development and information dissemination to targeted communities to raise awareness of digital threats, encourage best practices and respond to sudden challenges to Internet freedom.
Areas of Focus for 2014:
a) Focus on at-risk populations that have less access to traditional power structures.
b) Programs that foster enhanced coordination and partnerships with tool developers to improve feedback and structural changes to tools to make them more broadly accessible and usable.
c) Coordination with other digital security professionals and trainers in region/country.
4) Policy and Advocacy: National, regional, and/or international policy and advocacy efforts that aim to mitigate negative trends toward Internet repression and to promote Internet freedom at a structural level. Projects may include but are not limited to:
- Civil society capacity building programs targeted to non-U.S. based organizations focused on Internet freedom advocacy.
- Broad-based coalition building to expand networks, increase awareness, and support policies that protect and promote Internet freedom.
- Enhanced coordination with business communities and other national, regional or international Internet freedom advocacy stakeholders.
5) Research and Evaluation: Efforts should emphasize applied research that can inform and benefit Internet freedom efforts globally. Research should address technological and political developments affecting Internet freedom. Projects may include but are not limited to:
- Real-time monitoring and analysis of both technical and policy threats to internet freedom, including network interference and disruptions.
- Targeted research to ensure that global stakeholders are better informed about key threats to and opportunities for Internet freedom.
- Evaluations to assess the effectiveness of Internet freedom efforts, including the use, security and/or effectiveness of digital security tools, the impact of digital safety trainings, or policy advocacy efforts.