Grants

Grants

The Digital Freedom Fund supports strategic litigation on digital rights in Europe that contributes to advancing human rights in the digital sphere.

Types of grants

You can submit applications for three types of activities:
Litigation

Litigation support, for a single instance
Example: a constitutional challenge to recently adopted legislation on government surveillance.​

Research

Pre-litigation research
Example: a comparative study between EU jurisdictions to determine which one offers the best options to address a specific issue.​

Emergency

Emergency support
Example: a constitutional challenge to recently adopted legislation on government surveillance.​

Litigation
Litigation support, for a single instance

Example: a constitutional challenge to recently adopted legislation on government surveillance.

Research
Pre-litigation research

Example: a comparative study between EU jurisdictions to determine which one offers the best options to address a specific issue.

Emergency
Emergency support

Example: immediate costs related to filing an appeal on short notice.

Thematic focus areas

We are particularly interested in receiving applications for strategic cases that:

1.

Advance individuals' ability to exercise their right to privacy

1. Advance individuals' ability to exercise their right to privacy

Examples are cases that:

  • Protect and safeguard individuals against unjustified government surveillance
  • Clarify the scope of protection of personal data under the GDPR
  • Enforce consumers' rights in relation to the unauthorised collection and sharing of personal data

2.

Protect and promote the free flow of information online

2. Protect and promote the free flow of information online

Examples are cases that:

  • Challenge the unjustified blocking, filtering and removal of online content, platforms or services
  • Ensure that online content is protected against the illegitimate use of copyright claims
  • Ensure that net neutrality and the principle of equal access to the internet is promoted and respected in practice

3.

Ensure accountability, transparency and the adherence to human rights standards in the use and design of technology

3. Ensure accountability, transparency and the adherence to human rights standards in the use and design of technology

Examples are cases that:

  • Ensure the respect for human rights in the application of technology by law enforcement, such as in the context of predictive policing
  • Maximise transparency in algorithmic decision making and profiling by government and private actors
  • Set standards to protect individuals against the discriminatory use of technology

We also welcome applications for projects that fall outside these general thematic focus areas if they can contribute to advancing the respect for human rights in the digital sphere. Cases need to have the potential for impact extending beyond the parties directly involved in the case and for bringing about legislative, policy or social change.

See below under: What does DFF consider “strategic” litigation?

Digital rights

What does DFF consider "digital rights"?

DFF works with a broad definition of digital rights. We consider digital rights to be human rights as applicable in the digital sphere. The digital sphere covers both physically constructed spaces, such as infrastructure and devices, and spaces that are virtually constructed, such as online identities and communities.

Geographical scope

Geographical scope

DFF accepts grant applications concerning all Council of Europe Member States.

Strategic litigation

What does DFF consider “strategic” litigation?

In order to be considered strategic, litigation must have the potential to:

  • have an impact extending beyond the parties directly involved in the case; and
  • bring about legislative, policy or social change.
Successful application

What does a successful application look like?

In your application, you must demonstrate to have carefully considered and be able to motivate:
  • the concrete objectives of the litigation;
  • a solid legal strategy: which arguments will be made, how they will be framed, and how this will contribute towards achieving the objectives of the litigation;
  • how the litigation objectives contribute to advancing digital rights in Europe: what is the expected impact;
  • the best forum to litigate in order to achieve the pursued objectives;
  • how the litigation relates to other existing or planned activities on the litigation's subject matter – both litigation and otherwise – domestically and in Europe;
  • why litigation is an appropriate tool to employ in this context;
  • the identified risks and weaknesses of the litigation and a strategy for mitigation;
  • a plan to embed the litigation in a broader strategy for change;
  • a plan for implementation in case of a positive outcome of the litigation and mitigation in case of a negative or mixed outcome.