Information and communications technologies continue to transfigure every area of civic and social life. The Information Program focuses on new opportunities and threats that emerge from these developments, fostering public goods, institutions, and experiments that are essential to open society in three areas:
- increasing public access to knowledge;
- facilitating civil society communication;
- protecting civil liberties and the freedom to communicate in the digital environment.
The program pays particular attention to the information needs of disadvantaged groups and people in less developed parts of the world.
The Program further aims to stimulate experimentation and innovation across the Open Society Foundations network and beyond. Work in areas such as human rights and justice, transparency and accountability, education and youth, or public health is undertaken in partnership with other Open Society programs. We collaborate closely with 15 of the national and regional foundations in the network, and with more than half of the Foundations’ programs and initiatives. The program has staff based in offices in Budapest, London, New York, and Washington, D.C.
Access to Knowledge
The Information Program supports three initiatives which enhance access to the knowledge-based public goods that underpin open societies, especially in disadvantaged parts of the world.
- The Open Access Initiative works to increase public access to academic research literature.
- The Open Educational Resources Initiative advocates for unfettered access to educational materials that are already underwritten by the public purse.
- The Intellectual Property Reform Initiative aims to bring global rules on intellectual property rights back into balance.
This component of the Information Program empowers the Foundations’ grantees and partners with the skills to navigate the rapidly changing communications environment deliberately and strategically.
- The Human Rights Data Initiative, a joint project with the Open Society Human Rights and Governance Grants Program, helps human rights institutions deploy digital tools effectively and securely.
- The Transparency and New Technologies Initiative encourages transparency and accountability organizations to break new ground through the strategic application of new technologies.
- The Africa-focused Open Access to Law Initiative works to collate law corpuses and make them freely available online.
Open Information Policy
This component of the Information Program supports technology policy initiatives that protect basic freedoms and expand affordable access to communications networks.
- The Freedom of Communication in the Digital Environment Initiative works to protect freedom of expression and privacy.
- The Governance of Genetic Information Initiative works to protect the basic rights of individuals and vulnerable populations in response to the proliferation of genetic monitoring technologies.
- The Affordable Access to Digital Communications Initiative works to ensure widespread, affordable access to telecommunications networks, particularly in Africa.