The Open Technology Fund is a US government-funded nonprofit, which is part of the umbrella group called the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM), which also controls Radio Free Asia and Voice of America. OTF’s goal is to help oppressed communities across the globe by building the digital tools they need and offering training and support to use those tools. Its work has saved countless lives, and every single day millions of people use OTF-assisted tools to communicate and speak out without fear of arrest, retribution, or even death.
Major internet service providers will resume data caps on broadband and data usage, as commitments to remove them in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are set to expire. This is occurring as the coronavirus continues to spread, and many workers and students are still working remotely in an effort to curb the virus’s spread through social distancing. Many Americans are still using high-bandwidth video chat software such as Zoom, Facetime, and Google Hangouts to keep in touch with loved ones and to do their jobs.
Recently, 11 local broadcasters were caught airing “news” segments that were actually advertisements praising Amazon’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis. Experts say the ads—which featured an Amazon public relations representative pretending to be a reporter—not only violated the law, but are a shining example of how media consolidation is slowly destroying quality local journalism. The ads were part of an Amazon press release lauding the company for its “innovation” during the COVID-19 crisis.
For years, US broadband providers have taken advantage of a lack of US competition by imposing arbitrary and expensive broadband usage caps and "overage fees." With the country facing a massive surge in videoconferencing and home learning thanks to the coronavirus epidemic, experts say it’s time for broadband providers to suspend these costly, unnecessary restrictions. Thanks to limited competition, affordable broadband is just out of reach for many US residents.