At the heart of Silicon Valley—where the focus is all about things like enterprise hardware and software, consumer apps, digital advertising, and monetization of data, gaming, and entertainment—Benetech is an outlier, argues Mozilla’s new online magazine The Open Standard in an interview with CEO Jim Fruchterman and VP of Global Literacy Betsy Beaumon.
In a story titled “Open Source for the Global Good, From Silicon Valley,” author Caleb Garling sits down with Fruchterman and Beaumon to talk about Benetech’s model of “coding for global change” with open source solutions. They describe how Benetech has overhauled Martus, its free, secure, open source human rights information management software tool, to lower the barrier for using strong encryption; the impact its Bookshare initiative has had on the field of education and accessibility; and some of the new technology-for-good solutions Benetech is exploring, including using 3D printing to improve education for students with disabilities, and an open source, secure app generator that will benefit journalists, citizen reporters, activists, and other organizations or individuals who need reliable channels for secure mobile data collection and information exchange over the Internet.
“People are disappointed in the tech community because they think we’re all about greed,” Fruchterman notes. Part of what drives him after two decades of nonprofit technology development, he says, is “changing just a bit of that perception through concrete actions.”
Published by Mozilla, The Open Standard provides online news coverage of open, transparent, and collaborative systems at work in technology and our daily lives. Its purpose is to showcase the positive global impact of these systems and inspire more people to seek out, support, and adopt open principles of accessibility, participation, and experimentation.