Information Control Fellowship

1st November 2020

Information Control Fellows are individuals seeking to advance the understanding of surveillance capitalism enabled information controls through research and technology outputs that are creative collaborations from within partner organisations.


The unchecked practice of surveillance capitalism has provided a select few corporations unprecedented abilities to control the flow of information between individuals and democratic institutions globally. The same corporations, governments, and the other highest bidders are levering these new abilities to create pioneering information controls that challenge global democracies.

We believe better more virtuous technology-centred interventions are needed to document, mitigate, and reduce the harm of surveillance capitalism and ensure a healthier more democratic society. The Information Controls Fellowship (ICF) supports examination that advances our understanding of how surveillance capitalism is enabling information controls, what are the harms, where are they occurring, who are they affecting, and then what opportunities should we deploy to mitigate and defend against those harms in the future.


Before applying, each fellow applicant must self-determine and define a project to pursue, either one designed with their preferred host organisation or a project of their own design without a pre-existing host organization, to be introduced within the application. Each selected fellow will finalise the project plan with Reset and the host organisation, give an introductory presentation on their proposed work, and then a closing presentation on conclusions made available to the broader Reset network.

Where do fellows work?

Fellows embed (virtually or physically) with a host organisation for the duration of their fellowship. They can do this work from anywhere that Reset and the host organisation can provide support, as long as they are capable of maintaining an online presence during selected work times and participating in regular checks as needed by their host organisation or Reset.

When applying, applicants can specify any host organisation of their choosing, and justification for that selection must be provided in the application. Please note that non-academic host organisations are welcome, as are organisations based outside the United States, the United Kingdom or the EU. While fellows are ideally able to work locally within their host organisation, applicants who wish to work remotely will also be considered equally with the expectation that a strategy for remote working and communication will be established.

For entities interested in serving as a host organisation, please email [email protected] for more information.

Project themes and ideas

Potential areas of focus

  • Development and refinement of tools and techniques to continuously monitor the misuse of personal data on a global scale
  • Investigation of information controls, security, and privacy in popular applications such as search engines, social media platforms, and instant messaging clients
  • Testing creative methods of mitigating the harms of surveillance capitalism and protecting digital rights
  • Demystifying or reverse-engineering algorithms, information markets, user tracking techniques, etc
  • Examination of the impact of digital rights and use of mitigation tools
  • Experimental techniques to limit manipulation of online discussions
  • Analysis of targeted threats against civil society organisations and democratic processes
  • Other novel ideas and approaches relating to the study of global and regional information controls.

Things to avoid

  • Working with a host organisation you are already working for or with
  • Testing and/or collection of end-user data that violate established ethical principles.

Important considerations

  • Projects should exhibit originality, substance, precision and relevance to our aims. Objectives should be ambitious, yet measurable and achievable with activities and milestones listed monthly. The overall project goals should extend beyond traditional audiences.
  • For the duration of fellowships, the fellow will be expected to work with their host organisation.
  • Any individual will need to acquire the appropriate work authorisation. For instance, if a student with an I-20 visa intends to carry out their project in the United States, they will need to apply to use Curricular Practical Training for their fellowship.
  • Please be sure to review all of the general open call information, Our Guide to Open Calls, and the data policy for applicants.
1st November 2020