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Washington, D.C. –House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul and Chairman Eliot Engel, along with Congressmen John Curtis and Tom Malinowski, have introduced H.R. 6621, the Open Technology Fund Authorization Act. This legislation will bolster U.S. efforts to respond to oppressive censorship and internet restriction worldwide by authorizing the Open Technology Fund (OTF) as an independent grantee within the U.S. Agency for Global Media. This will enable the OTF to better support global projects focused on counteracting repressive censorship and surveillance to promote free speech and communication on the internet.

“Knowledge is power, which is why information blocking has long been a hallmark of oppression. In the digital era, tyrants and dictators around the world seek to further control their citizens by restricting, censoring, and surveilling the internet. This has been a growing trend in repressive regimes like China, Iran, and North Korea. The U.S. Agency for Global Media has already made significant headway to improve internet freedom globally, and by authorizing the OTF as an independent grantee, this bill will better position the U.S. to help those fighting against this form of tyranny.” – Lead Republican McCaul

“Our international broadcasting efforts provide unbiased news and information in countries where there is no free press. The growth of the internet has given us powerful new tools to reach bigger audiences. Our broadcasters tell the truth, which is why so many governments try to silence them along with other independent sources of news. The Open Technology Fund is working on ways around government censorship and restriction of the internet. If a repressive regime builds a wall, the OTF is working to build an even taller ladder. I’m glad to support the OTF’s efforts and to join with Representative McCaul to authorize the fund in law.” – Chairman Engel

“Silicon Slopes, located in my entrepreneurial Utah, has one of the best tech sectors and workforces in the nation. The Open Technology Fund Authorization Act would capitalize on our strengths by promoting tech jobs and supporting the development of new technologies that could protect against bad actors that try to shut down the internet, censor information, or locate those advocating for democratic rights.” Representative Curtis

“The Open Technology Fund is a critical tool in protecting human rights activists, religious minorities, and journalists from government surveillance. As dictators roll out new COVID-19 tracing tools with backdoors to monitor their citizens, OTF will be there to give those who defend democracy the tools to communicate and organize free of snooping eyes.” Representative Malinowski