How tech organizations are supporting Ukraine – The New Stack
As Russia carries out an invasion of Ukraine, tech organizations around the world are offering aid to people who live and work in the beleaguered country.
The Tech to the Rescue Foundation, founded in March 2020 to connect tech companies with charities in need during the COVID-19 pandemic, Thursday launched a campaign called #TechForUkraine, which is committed to supporting Ukrainian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by providing them with pro bono digital services. Last Friday, more than 225 companies in more than 25 countries and more than 300 people had pledged their support.
From Amazon Web Services“We got free infrastructure for projects being created within #TechForUkraine,” according to Jacek Siadkowski, co-founder and managing director of Warsaw-based Tech to the Rescue. “We also received similar offers from Microsoft and Salesforce.”
Other participating companies include Allegro, Boldare, Divante, ITMagination, Netguru, Sii and Tylko. Nearly 75% of participating companies so far have 100 or fewer employees, according to figures provided by Siadkowski.
The NGOs that #TechForUkraine helps need coordination technology the most, helping them map humanitarian initiatives, Siadkowski told The New Stack in an email. After that, the most urgent need is psychological and personal support, “arranging effective ways to seek help and report victims’ needs”, he wrote.
Next comes resource management, so aid goes where it’s needed most, Siadkowski said. And then, he wrote, “Cybersecurity is important, but it seems people are afraid of their real security right now – for a reason.”
Tech companies are getting started
Among other companies and organizations offering support to Ukraine and its people:
- Airbnb promised provide free short-term housing to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.
- Apple announced Tuesday it had suspended sales of physical products, like iPhones, to Russia, and removed Russian state-funded news publishers like RT News and Sputnik News from its app store. Live traffic updates for Ukraine have been disabled in Apple Maps. The company also restricted the use of Apple Pay and other features in Russia.
- AtlasVPN offers free 1-year premium VPN subscriptions to journalists covering the war in Ukraine, the company said on its website. The organization said its VPN would protect a user from Russian DDoS cyberattacks and make it harder for their ISP or third parties to track their online activities.
- Bunq, a mobile banking company based in the Netherlands, offers to help Ukrainians and Russians fleeing the war to take refuge in Georgia or Bulgaria and obtain Dutch HSM visas. In a post on LinkedIn, Ali Niknam — Bunq’s founder, who is of Iranian descent — cited his youthful experience through the Iran-Iraq conflict as motivation for his company’s initiative.
- google announced Tuesday in a statement of Kent Walker, its chairman for global affairs, that she and her philanthropic arm, Google.org, have donated a total of $15 million in cash and advertising support to aid organizations serving the people of Ukraine. Like Apple, it has also removed Russian state-funded news publishers from its features and is blocking content from such sources on YouTube across Europe. The company has also disabled Ukrainian traffic data in Google Maps. And, added Walker, “As individuals, regions and institutions like banks are sanctioned, products like Google Pay may become unavailable in some countries.”
- Metathe parent company of Facebook, announced sunday he busted a network run by people in Russia and Ukraine that targeted Ukraine and violated the company’s policy against “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” According to Meta’s website, “they ran websites posing as independent news entities and created fake personas on numerous social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Telegram, Odnoklassniki and VK”.
The company also said it has set up a special operations center staffed by native Russian and Ukrainian speakers to monitor Facebook and report issues in real time.
- nokiathe network equipment manufacturer based in Finland, announced tuesday that it has stopped delivering to Russia, according to Reuters.
- Oraclein response to a call from Fedorov, announced on Twitter on Wednesday that he had suspended all operations in Russia.
On behalf of Oracle’s 150,000 employees worldwide and in support of both the elected government of Ukraine and the people of Ukraine, Oracle Corporation has already suspended all operations in the Russian Federation.
—Oracle (@Oracle) March 2, 2022
- SpaceXthe spacecraft company founded by Elon Musk, provides internet service to Ukraine by deploying 50 of its Starlink satellites in the region. The decision was made following a personal call on Twitter to Musk from Mykhailo FedorovDeputy Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation.
@Elon Musk, while you are trying to colonize Mars — Russia is trying to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets are successfully landing from space, Russian rockets are attacking Ukrainian civilians! We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and call on sane Russians to stand up.
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) February 26, 2022
Deployment of 50 Starlink satellites confirmed pic.twitter.com/3uuAMNxrHC
—SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 25, 2022
- Twitter Friday posted information on how it monitors risks to users in the warzone and guards against the spread of misinformation. Among the steps: temporarily suspending advertising in Russia and Ukraine, the company tweeted, “to ensure that critical public safety information is elevated and ads do not distract from it.” The company also said it would match employee donations to “verified organizations supporting Ukrainian refugees seeking shelter and safety.” He has also pledged to make a direct donation to a partner organization.
Our top priority is keeping people safe on Twitter.
We actively monitor risks associated with the conflict in Ukraine, including identifying and disrupting attempts to amplify false and misleading information.
Here are the steps we followed:
– Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) February 25, 2022
Does your organization do anything to support Ukraine? Tell us at: [email protected].
Featured image by Polina Rytova on Unsplash.