Open Effect is a Canadian not-for-profit that conducts research and advocacy focused on ensuring people’s personal data is treated securely and accountably. We use a mix of policy and technical analysis methods to explore how digital services use personal data. We build interactive advocacy tools to disseminate our work and empower individuals to learn about and exercise their rights online.

Our work has been covered in Canadian and International media. Software we’ve developed have been used by thousands of people interested in accessing their personal data and understanding how it’s collected and used.


Andrew Hilts

andrew [at] openeffect.ca
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Andrew is the Executive Director and research lead at Open Effect. His research work and software development focuses on empowering citizens to exercise their digital rights online, and has been featured in both Canadian and international media. As a research fellow at the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, Andrew collaborates with researchers working on the Telecom Transparency Project, and investigations into web-based surveillance and other forms of information controls.

Andrew’s work has been published in conferences such as the Surveillance and Technology Symposium, Hot Topics in Privacy Enhancing Technologies, and the Free and Open Communications on the Internet workshop. He has a Master of Information degree from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information, where he conducted advanced research on tools and resources to empower designers of e-democracy systems.

Board of Directors

Open Effect is overseen by a board representing both industry and academia. We’re always looking for passionate new board members; please contact Andrew if you’re interested.

Ronald J. Deibert
is professor of political science and director of the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies and the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, an interdisciplinary research and development “hothouse” working at the intersection of the Internet, global security, and human rights.

Sohier Hall
is co-founder and chief executive of the commute management platform Luum, based in Seattle, WA. Hall spent 10 years as an executive in Microsoft’s Online Services Division overseeing global product & business incubation efforts within MSN, Search and the Advertising platform.

Kenneth Irving
recently retired as chief executive officer of Irving Oil after a 30-year career. There, he earned a reputation for innovative growth in building world-scale energy infrastructure. Ken has hit the reset button, and left industrial endeavours for the pursuit of his passion in the networked information economy.

Digital Stewardship Initiative

The Digital Stewardship Initiative (DSI) is a collaboration between Open Effect and the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs. The Citizen Lab is a world-renowned research institution that investigates the intersection of global politics, human rights, and digital technology. The Access My Info tool was developed under DSI, as were its accompanying reports.

Open Source

Open Effect releases its software under open source licenses. Please have a look at our Github page for more information.