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NLnet appoints Review Committee IHF

Independent experts provide external eligibility check

In december of 2016 the Internet Hardening Fund received a subsidy from the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs, in recognition of a prior motion in the Netherlands parliament by representative Kees Verhoeven.

The Internet Hardening Fund is a private fund managed by NLnet foundation which operates independently of any other organisation. To be able to comply with the formal requirements of the subsidy mentioned above, NLnet has installed a indepedent Review Committee ("Toetsingscommissie") consisting of three experts from the internet and open source field, academia and the public sector. The committee is appointed for a period of one year. The committee receives no remuneration for its work, and its members have no other economic interests with the Internet Hardening Fund and/or links to NLnet Foundation as the organisation behind the fund.

The Review Commitee receives the outcome of the selection process for the Internet Hardening Fund, with each member independently validating that all the projects that are selected are indeed eligible for the Internet Hardening Fund. They check whether the activities fit within the scope of the fund, that budgets are frugal, and that there are no other obvious operational, ethical or other concerns. The outcome of the review is sent to the Board of NLnet foundation, which has the final responsibility. If a worthwhile project turns out not to be eligible for some technical reason, NLnet is free to fund such a project from its own private budget or from another (thematic) fund with a similar scope. This transparent procedure provides an additional guarantee that any public means allocated to the Internet Hardening Fund can only be spent within the scope and spirit of the fund.

The three appointed members of the commitee for 2017 are (in alphabetical order): Leon Kuunders, Niels Sijm and Bert Wijnen.

Background information

The main focus of the Internet Hardening Fund is twofold: on the one hand supporting high end open source encryption software used in the infrastructural layer, and on the other hand development and strengthening of the underlying internet and web standards in the area of encryption. The fund operates internationally. A new competitive call for proposals is launched every two months. Projects or individuals that request a grant will also automatically enter the competitive open call from NLnet, which additionally increases their chance of funding. Through the fund independent researchers and developers can requests grants in support of their efforts to improve and expand encryption and other means of securing internet communication.