September 10, 2013 | By Katitza Rodriguez

The Web We Need: Microgrant Funding for State Surveillance Research

The NSA revelations have shown us the tip of the iceberg of the United States’ unconstitutional spying. It’s not just the United States, however, that has been evading its citizens privacy rights in the pursuit of mass surveillance. NGOs around the world have been documenting the rise of mandatory data retention regimes, unlawful interception, and overreaching state surveillance everywhere. These projects to reveal the breadth of the problem are difficult to fund, and often have to face stonewalling secrecy and government interference with precious few resources.

Fortunately, the Web We Want campaign has just launched a small grant program specifically to fund this essential work. NGOs and individuals will be able to apply any amount, between USD $1000 and USD $3000, towards the costs of research, report writing, media work, and advocacy.

The grant call for proposals for action research on surveillance to map the policies, laws and practices of your country, and benchmark them against the 13 Principles on Surveillance and Human Rights, which EFF developed with more than 80 organization and scholars around the world. The 13 Principles reassert what it means to protect privacy and associated human rights in light of increasing state surveillance capacities. They are intended as a framework for advocates to evaluate existing and proposed surveillance laws and practices against established human rights standards.

EFF believes that this small grant will be invaluable in helping activists analyze the current state of surveillance and push for the rule of law in the face of a culture of secrecy and misinformation. Knowing isn’t enough to fix the lawlessness of modern surveillance: but finding out how deep the damage runs is a vital first step.

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