OTF – The “Independent” Internet Freedom Organization That Makes All Your Favorite Privacy Apps – is Staffed Full of Spies

WASHINGTON – The Open Technology Fund (OTF) is one of the most influential and celebrated organizations in the hacking and internet freedom communities. Well over two billion people globally use OTF-produced software, including communications app Signal and web browser Tor, services that are specifically marketed to privacy-conscious consumers looking to circumvent government censorship and surveillance. Yet its close links to the U.S. national security state raise many worrying questions about whether the world is making a mistake by trusting the organization and its products. Through its research and sponsorship, the OTF is responsible for apps and services that can boast a massive reach. It is estimated that more than two-thirds of all smartphones are equipped with OTF offerings, apps that brand themselves as the obvious choice for privacy-minded users. The OTF describes itself as “an independent non-profit organization committed to advancing global Internet freedom,” adding that it “supports projects focused on counteracting repressive censorship and surveillance, enabling citizens worldwide to exercise their fundamental human rights online.” There is strong evidence, however, to suggest that the Open Technology Fund is not what it claims to be: that it is neither independent nor truly committed to online freedom and privacy. First, while