Send in your ideas. Deadline June 1, 2024

VPN Fund

"Today we make the internet of tomorrow

Going online through wifi hotspots (such as commonly found in schools, hotels, restaurants, public transport and libraries) is a daily habit of many internet users, but without proper security measures is completely insecure. This is due to the combination of the technology used and the open character of hotspots: anyone can put up a wifi access point and name it whichever way they like (including intentionally picking a name someone else uses). That makes it trivial to eavesdrop traffic by a third party, and to act as a 'man in the middle'.

This major gap in our security habits has been known and shown to be easily exploitable for a long time, with demonstrated attacks like Firesheep. Yet users - in urgent need of connectivity to continue their work and leisure needs - continue to connect to unknown hotspots - in spite of the proven lack of trustworthiness.

Virtual Private Networks make it possible to avoid these risks by establishing opaque channels through which the internet traffic can be transported across the untrusted network to a known environment (e.g. ones private/school/corporate network or a commercial gateway) where the traffic subsequently continues its path as regular internet packets. Unfortunately, the use of VPN's is not as widespread as it should be by far. Only a fraction of internet users are protected by VPN technology. This lack of adoption is to no small extent due to the fact that setting up VPN's is cumbersome.

The VPN fund (established in collaboration with [ The Commons Conservancy ] ) , is aimed at public benefit initiatives that contribute to the advancement of Virtual Private Networking. It invites proposals on all relevant aspects of VPN technology, including better user experience and ease of use.

Current projects and activities within this theme

  • EduVPN is a comprehensive project addressing mobile apps and ease of use

A collaboration of:

The Commons Conservancy
NLnet foundation