About

Read more about us here. There are five sections which cover our information about IFF, the people behind it, why it exists, the work it does and its funding. If you are looking for something specific or have a query reach out to us at [email protected]

What is IFF?

The Internet Freedom Foundation is an Indian digital liberties organisation to ensure that that technology respects fundamental rights. We work across a wide spectrum, with expertise in free speech, digital surveillance and privacy, net neutrality and innovation to champion freedom in the digital age. We spur grassroots membership through building public campaigns and take them towards institutional engagement with regulators, legislative bodies and courts. Our goal is to ensure that people in the world's largest democracy can use the internet with liberties guaranteed under the Constitution of India.

We were originally a group of volunteers who worked on the SavetheInternet.in campaign and joined together to incorporate an organisation set up to support research regarding the online freedoms and rights of Indian citizens, and advocate for a free and open internet.

We are incorporated as a public charitable trust registered in Delhi, and granted exemptions under Sections 12A and 80G of the Indian Income Tax Act.

Who are the people behind IFF?

The current volunteer trustees are: Apar Gupta, Aravind Ravi Sulekha, Karthik Balakrishnan, Rachita Taneja, Raman Jit Singh Chima, and Rohin Dharmakumar.

Apar Gupta serves as Executive Director of the Internet Freedom Foundation. For 2018-19, Raman Jit Singh Chima and Karthik Balakrishnan serve as Chair and Co-Chair respectively of the Board of Trustees. Past trustees are: Kiran Jonnalagadda, Nikhil Pahwa

Why does IFF exist?

  • Digital freedom is our common path: With almost 4 out of 10 Indians online, we form the second largest number of internet users in the world. We are special, not only due to our numbers but due to our political system operating on democratic values and enforceable guarantees of fundamental rights. We must protect them in the choices and design of technology.

  • Technology has the power to fulfil constitutional ideals: India has been an enthusiastic adopter of the innovation, convenience and gains offered by digitisation. Today, technology is a form of power which enables but also prevents human liberty. IFF exists to ensure that such ongoing changes in our lives are positive. That they serve constitutional goals of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity for individuals.

  • Freedom needs champions and advocates: India to its credit has a robust network of research and policy organisations who work on issues on digital rights in India. But a bottleneck exists in sustained, planned public advocacy. We need a fighting force that demands accountability and spurs action, in an organised manner because freedom does not defend by itself.

How does IFF work?

We fill important gaps: IFF complements and even hopes to bridge gaps in digital rights organisations, larger civil liberties groups and online collectives and movements. We take considered risks, make a stand and follow a path of advocacy towards outcomes. As digitisation grows in our lives there is a greater need for our rights to be protected. We need to do much more to protect internet freedoms in India.

  • Existing organisations: Technology and user rights are mainstream concerns impacting a growing number of Indians and need greater resources and organisational infrastructure. We have also noticed that often online users are asking for help and there exists a lack of capacity in the campaigning ecosystem. We hope to accelerate these efforts and benefit the entire ecosystem.

  • Collectives and volunteer groups: The agility and strength of volunteer groups require long term support to grow a diverse, inclusive and powerful base. We need an active organisational backbone to ensure a community endures over time and fresh membership is attracted. There is strength in numbers and as more Indians come online, we need to ensure that they advocate for their rights. This will bring greater certainty to achieve, maintain and extend victories on digital rights.

We bridge the public and public policy divide: Our culture comes from the SaveTheInternet.in movement on net neutrality, and our work relies on civic educations and engagement. Our model draws the public in processes which otherwise like glamour and wider engagement. But, how?

  • Strategy comes first: We support the passion and skills of our volunteers to plan and execute all our work based on strategic thinking and towards outcomes which are clearly mapped towards policy goals. We start with a plan.

  • Building community for public victories: We have a collaborative and flexible work culture which matches a large, diverse group of volunteers organised by staff. We talk one-on-one to volunteers, to utilise their, time, skills and interest into workgroups. By organising it over time we aim to grow a cadre of digital rights leaders working towards common goals. We encourage volunteers to offer us financial support for helping us to become a vibrant grassroots organisation.

  • We campaign, then we campaign again: We build online public facing campaigns in India (we have been associated with 5 till now) continuing the work of many founders who built the net neutrality movement. We use tech tools, video explainers, write articles, summaries and analysis papers. This brings greater power to our advocacy actions.

Channeling advocacy into institutional outcomes: Much of our work involves understanding how institutions work. We navigate this maze, engaging with decision makers to ensure systematic victories. This includes engaging with regulators, drafting digital rights legislation and parliamentary motions, sending notices and going to court and litigating to protect our freedoms. We do our work with courage and we dream big but always with strategy, care and reflection.

Who funds IFF?

As a legal entity we operate on principles of transparency, inclusion and community. We believe in part this will be achieved through support and partnership with organisations which work to further our core values. We are in the process of launching a recurring membership option for IFF supporters and will also explore other avenues of funding to accelerate our work.

  • We are independent of political parties and corporations: We are unaffiliated with any political party or organisation. Our stances are guided by constitutionalism and fundamental rights as they intersect with technology. We are not associated with any company, industry association or non-government organisation. We form our positions independently and implement them through issue specific partnerships.

  • Our charter and core donors are individual indians: We engage in continious community buildings and civic engagement. The IFF collective includes geeks and enthusiasts from various fields: technology, law, journalism, design, policy. Many of us are entrepreneurs. More than 350 people from this growing community have given us funds. At present we raise funds from Indians who share our values. These funds will be used to promote and advocate a free and open internet that offers freedom, privacy and innovation.