New America Foundation/Open Technology Institute

Organization's slogan: 
The Open Technology Institute strengthens communities through grounded research, technological innovation, and policy reform. We create reforms to support open source innovations and foster open technologies and communications networks. Partnering with communities, researchers, industry and public interest groups, we promote affordable, universal, and ubiquitous communications networks.
Civic Organization Disclaimer: 
Possible disclaimer: This information has been entered by a person who isn't associated with the organization. It may be incomplete or contain mistakes. If you are associated with this organization and would like to maintain this information, please get a Public Sphere Project account and ask us to transfer ownership of this information to you.

The Open Technology Institute at New America is committed to freedom and social justice in the digital age. To achieve these goals, it intervenes in traditional policy debates, builds technology, and deploys tools with communities.

“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 brings together a unique mix of technologists, policy experts, lawyers, community organizers, and urban planners to examine the impacts of technology and policy on people, commerce, and communities. Our current focus areas include surveillance, privacy and security, network neutrality, broadband access, and Internet governance. OTI conducts data-driven research, develops policy and regulatory reforms, and builds real-word pilot projects to impact both public policy and the built communications environment that people experience.

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 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 empowerthe 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.


Organizational engagement: