Nominet Trust, a United Kingdom leading social tech funder, selected the Martus Project, an initiative of Benetech’s Human Rights program, among this year’s top 100 innovations using technology to drive social change around the world. The curated list of these leading innovations, known as the Nominet Trust 100 (NT100), appears in the Nominet Trust’s 2014 Social Tech Guide. This is the second consecutive year in which a Benetech initiative is selected to be included in the Nominet Trust 100. In 2013, the Trust recognized Bookshare on its list.
A free, open source, secure information collection and management tool, Martus empowers human rights activists to be stronger in their fight against injustice and abuse. It helps keep sensitive information—and the people who are collecting it—as safe as possible, and enables human rights actors to use their data to more effectively advance their goals. “Powerful encryption locks out prying eyes, while automated back-up services ensure data can be retrieved should local systems fail,” notes the Social Tech Guide. It quotes Lucy Bernholz, Stanford University philanthropy scholar and a member of the Nominet Trust 100 Steering Group, as saying: “Martus is inspiring because it offers a safe and easy way for activists to do their work.”
The Nominet Trust 100 celebrates people and organizations using digital technology to change the world for the better. Each year, it recognizes 100 of the world’s most inspiring examples of social innovation, where digital technologies have been used to tackle a significant social challenge. This year, the Trust honors the Martus Project along with enterprises and organizations including DataKind, DonorsChoose, DuckDuckGo, Global Voices, Sunlight Foundation, Thunderclap, Tor, and others.
Additionally, in her 2015 Blueprint forecast for philanthropy and the social economy, Lucy Bernholz cites the Martus Project as an example for a digital innovation that is far along in thinking about the nature of privacy and the need for free association in digital spaces. “The Martus Project of Benetech,” she says, “is building an ‘ethical tech stack,’ a complete set of digital tools built on defaults that can protect people doing politically and physically dangerous work.”