Job Opening - Decentralized Storage and Privacy Researcher

OpenArchive is Hiring a Decentralized Storage and Privacy Researcher

About OpenArchive:
OpenArchive is an experienced research and development nonprofit organization dedicated to the ethical collection and long-term preservation of mobile media. We work to promote freedom of expression and privacy on the internet by creating tools, guides, and workshops to protect human rights defenders and their media. Our work centers both large human rights focused NGOs as well as activist communities, researchers, designers, developers, academic institutions, and advocates to create and share best practices in order to advance secure, long-term mobile media preservation and internet freedom for marginalized and targeted communities.

We are part of a growing movement of human rights defenders working to ensure the safety of citizen reporters, NGO’s, and their community and evidentiary media. This is a great opportunity for someone who is looking for professional growth and is interested in working within a highly compassionate, technical, and hard-working human-rights-focused community in a collaborative and productive environment. To learn more about our culture at OpenArchive, we encourage you to review our Code of Conduct.

About the Decentralized Storage and Privacy Researcher Position: The OpenArchive project is expanding from supporting centralized approaches for hosting media archives (NextCloud, Internet Archive) to decentralized approaches (IPFS / Filecoin, Tor Onion). This next technical step is crucial, as we must maintain our focus on the real threats and risks our core human rights and activist communities face in their work as citizen journalists and media activists. While we are enthusiastic about the possibilities that the “Decentralized Web” offers, we do not want to lose focus on privacy and security.

With that in mind, we are eager to bring on board a technical researcher who can look at the technical architecture and capabilities of these new technical stacks through the lens of our existing functionality and user expectations. Here is an example of a question that needs to be answered: “How does sharing a video file using IPFS look different on a network versus uploading it to a server using WebDAV? Would it set off red flags for a mobile network operator?” Another may be, “Who can see when a file is published on IPFS, and are there any additional layers of access control or encryption that can be added, either within IPFS or on top of it?” We also need to consider how the perceived permanence of publishing something on the decentralized web, often seen as a feature, could also be harmful, if sensitive images or videos are accidentally released or need to be removed. Figuring out what the right questions is the first step, answering them is the second, and sharing the findings with the OpenArchive team, and eventually the world, is the final outcome.

Required skills and experience:

  • Demonstrated ability to plan & execute research including forming questions, collaborating with peers, and publishing results as academic papers, whitepapers, specifications, blog posts, talks or other formats;
  • Background in mobile application development (Android, iOS);
  • Strong verbal and written communication;
  • Experience with privacy enhancing technologies (encryption, circumvention, etc.);
  • Threat analysis and modeling;
  • Experience working in peer-to-peer and/or decentralized storage architecture, technology, and platforms.

Preferred qualifications:

  • Graduate degree in a related field;
  • Experience working with those in Internet environments facing challenges emerging from electricity and bandwidth limitations, censorship, surveillance, and other oppressive, anti-open-internet activities.

Working With Us:
OpenArchive aims to empower people to have more agency over the long-term preservation, privacy, management, and access to their mobile media. We are working on challenging, but compelling problems at the crux of privacy, usability, and long-term preservation of mobile media. If you are passionate about helping people create secure, robust, personal archives to preserve mobile media, especially media made by historically marginalized communities, or are just interested in making secure archiving tools more usable, we’d love to hear from you.

This position reports to the OpenArchive Tech Lead.

OpenArchive operates as a distributed team, with core staff based on the west and east coasts of the US, and others based in Africa, Latin America, and Europe. The position is virtual through the Covid-19 Pandemic and potentially thereafter, though time zones compatible with the US Pacific Time Zone (GMT-7) is preferred, due to location of key project staff there.

This is a three-year contract position at the rate of $50/hour for 2400 hours over the 3 year period with the bulk of the hours (1600) falling within the first year of the project.

Application Process:

If you’d like to be a part of our team, please submit the followng to us at jobs[at]

  • Your resume;
  • A cover letter that explains your interest in the position and why you believe you are well-suited for the role;
  • Two references and their contact information (email or phone);
  • A link to an example of your relevant work that best represents the competencies outlined here. For instance, you could share a link to a project you owned or managed in the past. Please include a brief description of the work, the problem it solved, challenges and lessons learned, and how it relates to this position;
  • Challenges and lessons-learned, and how it relates to this position;
  • Clarification of whether you are interested in the part-time Technical Lead role only, or if you want to do any of the additional development work that is available at the hourly rate as well.

  • We will consider applications on a rolling basis.

    Please submit your application directly to: jobs[at]

    OpenArchive is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.