Categories: Mozilla News

Announcing the Second Cohort of Ford-Mozilla Open Web Fellows

The second class of fellows will embed at organizations like ColorOfChange and European Digital Rights to fight for privacy, literacy, and inclusion online.

The internet is a global public resource. It has the ability to empower, educate, connect and uplift.

But like any other public resource, the internet faces serious threats. From tech monopolies and mass surveillance to policy that undermines net neutrality, openness and freedom online are in danger. With these threats also comes opportunity for more conversation and change. We can help shift more people from consuming the web to participating in it.

That’s why Ford Foundation and Mozilla launched the Open Web Fellows program two years ago: To empower a network of leaders capable of defending the open web. The Open Web Fellows program places bright technologists and activists on the front lines of the open internet movement. Last year, Ford and Mozilla placed six fellows at leading NGOs like Amnesty International and the ACLU, where they used their tech savvy to fight for issues like freedom of expression and gender equality online.


Today, Ford and Mozilla are proud to announce our second class of fellows: eight talented makers and doers hailing from five continents. Our fellows will bring their expertise in data visualization, design, development, storytelling, research and policy analysis — and a shared zeal for an open internet —  to eight international NGOs. Below, meet our fellows and their host organizations:

Steffania@2xSteffania Paola Costa di Albanez

@stepaola | Derechos Digitales

Steffania is a feminist, self-taught developer, multidisciplinary designer, and visual artist. She also works as a digital security and coding trainer. Steffania has collaborated with civil society organizations and independent groups in Brazil that engage with issues like solidarity economy, intersectional feminism, privacy, and free speech. Steffania uses her skills to help these organizations increase the impact of advocacy efforts, build websites, applications and data visualizations, and plan workshops and toolkits. As an Open Web Fellow, Steffania will be collaborating with Derechos Digitales to help the civil society sector in Latin America better promote human rights in the digital environment.

Eireann@2xÉireann Leverett

@blackswanburst |Éireann’s website | Privacy International

Éireann is an academic, a red teamer, and an entrepreneur, and has deep experience working with computer emergency response teams to protect critical infrastructures. Éireann is fascinated by malware, vulnerabilities, cryptography, networks, information theory, and economics — and he believes hacking can win victories for humanity. Currently, Éireann is Founder and CEO of Concinnity Risks and Senior Risk Researcher at Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies. As an Open Web Fellow, Éireann will be working with Privacy International’s Tech Team to analyze surveillance documentation and data, identify and analyze new technologies, and help develop briefings and educational programming with a technical understanding.

Jen@2xJennifer Helsby

@redshiftzero | Jennifer’s GitHub | Freedom of the Press Foundation

Jennifer is a data scientist and researcher passionate about using data and technology to catalyze social change. Previously, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Data Science and Public Policy at the University of Chicago, where she worked on applying machine learning methods to problems in public policy. Currently, Jennifer is a co-founder and CTO of Lucy Parsons Labs, a Chicago-based nonprofit that focuses on police accountability and surveillance oversight. She is also a co-organizer for Cryptoparty Chicago, which teaches everyday people about digital security. As an Open Web Fellow, Jennifer will be working with the Freedom of the Press Foundation to improve SecureDrop, an anonymous whistleblowing platform.

Berhan@2xBerhan Taye

@btayeg | Berhan’s blog |

Berhan is a social justice activist, a peace studies practitioner, and an avid advocate for open data and the open web. Berhan previously worked at a Conflict Early Warning and Early Response Center mitigating violence in East Africa. She has also conducted research on transitional justice and criminal violence at the University of Notre Dame, consulted for intergovernmental bodies in Addis Ababa and Nairobi, and engaged legislative processes related to land rights in Cape Town.

Etienne@2xEtienne Maynier

@tenacioustek | Citizen Lab

Etienne is a security engineer passionate about issues related to security and digital surveillance. He has worked on penetration testing and incident response for several years, and is now honing his focus on analyzing and better understanding how technologies are used to spy on citizens. Etienne believes in creating and fostering a robust public debate on privacy and surveillance issues. Etienne is a volunteer with Toulouse Hackerspace Factory. As an Open Web Fellow, Etienne will be based at Citizen Lab, an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, focusing on projects like measuring Internet filtering and network interference and investigating malware attacks.

Sid@2xSiddharth (Sid) Rao

@sidnext2none | Sid’s website | European Digital Rights (EDRi)

Sid is a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) enthusiast and a privacy fanatic who specializes in the security analysis of communication protocols. He is also passionate about internet services and infrastructure in developing nations. Sid co-founded the social venture ThirdEye, which builds affordable e-­readers for visually-challenged people. He is a past Erasmus Mundus fellow and holds double master’s degrees from Aalto University, Finland (Information and Network Security) and University of Tartu, Estonia (Cryptography). As an Open Web Fellow, Sid will be based at European Digital Rights (EDRi), where he will help define policies related to data protection, surveillance, copyright, and network neutrality.

Matt@2xMatt Mitchell

@geminiimatt | Matt’s website | ColorofChange

Matt is a security researcher, operational security trainer, and data journalist who leads CryptoHarlem, impromptu workshops teaching basic cryptography tools to the predominately African American community in upper Manhattan. Previously, he worked as a data journalist for The New York Times and as a developer for CNN, Aol/Huffington Post, and other news organizations. Matt currently trains activists and journalists in digital security, with a special focus on marginalized populations who are often aggressively monitored, over-policed, and disenfranchised. As an Open Web Fellow, Matt will be based at ColorOfChange pioneering tools and discovering compelling user engagement strategies.

Suchana@2xSuchana Seth

Data & Society

Suchana is a physicist-turned-data scientist from India. She has built scalable data science solutions and patent-pending applications in text mining and natural language processing for startups and industry research labs. Suchana believes in the power of data to drive positive change, and volunteers with DataKind to mentor data-for-good projects. She is also passionate about closing the gender gap in data science, and leads data science workshops with organizations like Women Who Code. As an Open Web Fellow, Suchana will be based at Data & Society, where she will enable data scientists and technology teams to better use anonymized data.