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Information and Digital Rights

We support efforts to strengthen freedom of expression, privacy, access to information and antidiscrimination in the digital environment, and to ensure that the rapid evolution of digital technology supports open society values.

$16.2M 2020 budget for Information and Digital Rights
1.3% Percentage of global budget
3.8% Average annual change in budget since 2016

2020 Information and Digital Rights Budget by Region

      Explore our full budget by theme and region

      Our Work

      Our work includes efforts to curb overly broad and unaccountable surveillance, make major internet platforms more accountable to the public, and expose and challenge problems caused by algorithmic decision-making, which risks creating new forms of discrimination. We also support a global movement to make knowledge more accessible, and strengthen new ways of using technology and data for evidence and advocacy.

      A man stands in a telephone booth which is next to a wall that has been painted by a street artist so as to look like it is surrounded by men wearing trench coats and sunglasses and operating surveillance equipment.
      A man in Cheltenham, UK, stands in a phone booth which has been surrounded by street art mocking the government's surveillance policies on August 21, 2016. © Ben Birchall/ZUMA/Newscom

      Open Internet

      Supporters of a free and open internet gather during an outdoor demonstration.
      People gather in Vienna, Austria, to demonstrate in favor of net neutrality on March 6, 2016. © Karola Riegler/Save the Internet

      In the 1990s, the Open Society Foundations supported the development of internet access in the former Communist states where it was working, funding access to libraries and schools from Hungary to Kazakhstan.

      Today, we support groups around the world that work on protecting the open internet, such as Brazil’s Institute of Technology and Society, which helped shape a 2016 law on internet rights, or Pakistan’s Bolo Bhi, which contested a draconian and loosely written cybersecurity law. We also support digital rights groups in Europe to enforce the new EU General Data Protection Regulation, the new global gold standard for data privacy.

      Academic Openness

      Young adults, students, sit in their desks, which are arranged in a half-circle and facing the whiteboard.
      Students attend an English class in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on May 25, 2012. © Francesco Zizola/NOOR/Redux

      Since 2001, the Open Society Foundations have supported the Open Access model for academic research—an alternative publishing and distribution model that makes scholarly research literature freely available to the public online.


      Our Human Rights Initiative and Information Program directly support groups that have challenged government surveillance in Europe, the United States, and Latin America. The Open Society Justice Initiative is engaged in litigation to reinforce the public’s right to information in Latin America. 

      A line of people with their arms in the air and their wrists crossed as if their hands were bound.
      Civil society activists and journalists pretend to turn themselves in during a protest against alleged government spying in Mexico City on June 23, 2017. © Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images

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