The Digital Freedom Fund supports strategic litigation to advance digital rights in Europe. DFF provides financial support and seeks to catalyse collaboration between digital rights activists to enable people to exercise their human rights in digital and networked spaces.
What we do
Digital rights are under threat across Europe. From data retention to surveillance and content regulation, new legislation and emerging practice have a serious impact on the ability of citizens to exercise their rights to privacy and freedom of expression. Strategic litigation – litigation with broad impact and which can bring about legislative or policy change – has proven to be a crucial lever to protect human rights in the digital realm.
The Digital Freedom Fund supports Europe’s digital rights litigators – NGOs, pro bono lawyers and sometimes regular litigators – enabling them to become more effective in their work. We do this in a number of ways: through grants to support the legal, advocacy, research, and other costs involved in litigation, and through facilitating digital rights actors’ access to pro-bono legal support.
DFF also facilitates skill development and networking in the digital rights field with a view to strengthening strategic litigation efforts. For example, in July 2018, we hosted in co-operation with the SHARE Foundation a Strategic Litigation Retreat for European litigators to help sharpen and build upon their strategic litigation skills, and strengthen collaboration across countries and issues. Find out more in this short documentary about the event:
By equipping digital rights litigators to win more strategic digital rights cases, DFF seeks ultimately to contribute to a society where everyone can fully enjoy their human rights in the digital space.
DFF is also engaged in a consultative dialogue process with those working to advance digital rights in Europe to learn what the shared priorities in the field are and what DFF can do to support them. This will help define our funding priorities and overall strategy going forward.
DFF’s activities, thematic focus areas, and grant support are based on a continuous dialogue with the digital rights field in Europe. From its early inception, DFF has asked digital rights litigators and activists what their priorities are and how DFF can best support their work.
Part of this dialogue is our annual strategy meeting, which brings together experts, activists and litigators working on digital rights across Europe to not only jointly think about how we can strengthen digital rights at field level, but also to do deep work on the crucial issues that are on the digital rights agenda today.
You can read more about DFF’s strategy process and annual meetings on our blog and in this case study.
Our history and funders
The plans for DFF were developed with the kind assistance of an Advisory Group consisting of Vera Franz, Morris Lipson, Peter Noorlander, and Rupert Skilbeck. Read more about our Board, our team and the support we offer.
DFF is currently supported by Open Society Foundations, Adessium Foundation, Luminate, Ford Foundation, Fondation Nicolas Puech, The Sigrid Rausing Trust, Stiftung Mercator, Robert Bosch Stiftung, and Limelight Foundation. We also receive project funding from Open Society Initiative for Europe. Previously, DFF received support from the Renewable Freedom Foundation and project funding from the Democracy and Media Foundation (Stichting Democratie en Media).