Mozilla Funds 'Governmental or Vigilante Abuse' Crowdsourcing Tool

Reflecting the sociopolitical unrest of our times, Mozilla made a hefty donation to an Africa-based crowdsourcing project to help people "raise their voice" amid political turmoil or government/vigilante abuse.

Mozilla, the open source champion best known for the Firefox browser, periodically makes large donations -- the latest batch totals more than $500,000 -- to various community projects.

In the latest donation effort, the largest recipient -- $194,000 -- was Ushahidi, "an open source software platform for crowdsourcing, monitoring, visualizing, and responding to reports from people caught up in political turmoil or subject to governmental or vigilante abuse."

The project's name translates to "testimony" in Swahili, reflecting its birth amid violence surrounding a Kenyan 2008 election. With headquarters in Nairobi, the project describes itself as a social enterprise attempting to help various sectors of society improve the flow of information from areas of unrest.

"They are working on making it easier to securely submit reports, and documentation on how to deploy Ushahidi while minimizing risk to the hosts," Mozilla said.

While another funded project also has sociopolitical undertones -- secure email for activists -- the other projects are more generalized, traditional software development efforts. They include:

  • $125,000 to the webpack project, a popular JavaScript module loader, to help them make the cross-browser WebAssembly format a first-class citizen in their ecosystem.
  • $100,000 to RiseUp, a coordination platform used by activists across the political spectrum, to improve the security of their email service.
  • $50,000 to Phaser, the open source HTML5 games engine, to allow them to complete the development of version 3.
  • $70,000 for creating mod_md, an Apache module which speaks ACME, the automated certificate issuance protocol, to make it easier for Web sites to deploy and use secure HTTP.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.