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H.R. 6621 (116th): Open Technology Fund Authorization Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Apr 24, 2020.

Open Technology Fund Authorization Act

This bill authorizes the existing Open Technology Fund (OTF) as an independent grantee within the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM).

The OTF is an independent nonprofit organization within the purview of the USAGM that supports the development of internet freedom technologies that create ways to counter censorship efforts.

As an independent grantee authorized by this bill, the OTF shall seek to advance freedom of the press and unrestricted internet access in repressive environments through functions such as

researching, developing, implementing, and maintaining secure communications tools and technologies that circumvent censorship techniques used to limit or block access to the internet; advancing internet freedom by supporting private and public sector efforts to provide secure and uncensored access to the internet; and developing, acquiring, and distributing internet freedom technologies and techniques to fully enable the creation and distribution of digital content between and to all users and audiences. To advance freedom of the press and unrestricted internet access, the OTF shall use methods that include

supporting fully open-source tools, code, and components that are as secure, transparent, and accessible as possible; supporting technologies that undergo comprehensive security audits; and establishing safeguards to mitigate the use of supported technologies for illicit purposes. The Department of State must report on the effectiveness of the OTF and the extent to which U.S. interests are being served by its work, and the Government Accountability Office shall have access to all information pertaining to financial transactions as may be necessary to facilitate an audit.