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Hello, World!

The State of Democracy and Technology

The State of Democracy and Technology

Cybersecurity in Political Campaigns

Cybersecurity in Political Campaigns

Improving the Digital Landscape in Georgia

Improving the Digital Landscape in Georgia

Sorting Truth from Truthiness in the Digital Age

Sorting Truth from Truthiness in the Digital Age

In the Fight Against Disinformation, Many Tools are Needed

In the Fight Against Disinformation, Many Tools are Needed

Cybersecurity in Ukraine: Deep Dives vs Broad Brush

Cybersecurity in Ukraine: Deep Dives vs Broad Brush

Hiring! Cybersecurity and Partner Engagement!

Hiring! Cybersecurity and Partner Engagement!

We're Hiring! Product Manager and Project Lead to Shape Tech for Democracy!

We're Hiring! Product Manager and Project Lead to Shape Tech for Democracy!

Event: Human Centered Design with DemTools

Event: Human Centered Design with DemTools

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Blog

By Elizabeth Sutterlin | February 4, 2021
A phone shows Google's "No internet" error screen, indicating an internet shutdown.
As people in Myanmar woke up to the news of a military coup on Monday, the military had restricted internet access to 50% of the country's normal digital traffic flow. In addition to throttling the internet, a journalist for Reuters tweeted that phone lines and radio services had been cut as well. Although access was restored later on Monday, the military issued an order blocking Facebook and the company's other products (WhatsApp and Instagram) in Myanmar, purportedly for security...
By Madeleine Nicoloff | January 29, 2021
Koi fish in a reflecting pond
Looking ahead into 2021, one of the things I’m excited to watch is the growing collaboration between the world of tech and the world of art and storytelling. The background research into futurist thinking that I’ve done recently has opened my eyes to the current initiatives and conversations taking place around the power of art, virtual reality, and immersive experiences as tools for transforming our decision-making. I’m encouraged by the movement led by organizations like...
By Derek Turner | January 21, 2021
Future Pathway
There are some bright spots on the horizon for 2021. I’m looking forward to some of the positive developments in the world of campaign technology and tech company practices from the 2020 elections in the United States being extended to the rest of the world. Presidential campaigns in the US significantly elevated the usage of text messaging to educate and mobilize voters last year. Text-banking, much like phone-banking, provided a way for volunteers to engage with voters and help them...
By Elizabeth Sutterlin | January 21, 2021
A map of cyber troop activity around the world from the Oxford Internet Institute
Following the return and detention of popular opposition figure and Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, Roskomnadzor, the Russian government’s communications watchdog, has asked social media platforms to stop the spread of posts encouraging minors to take part in unsanctioned rallies in support of his release from jail. It requested that TikTok and Vkontakte prevent the dissemination of information that could lead minors to engage in "illegal activities that put their lives and health in...
By Chris Doten | January 19, 2021
NDI cybersecurity exercise in Kenya
Well, 2020. That was quite the annus horribilis. Let’s not have another like that, shall we? Fortunately the DemTech team is pretty optimistic about the year ahead (and we are attributing the horrific start to 2021 as 2020 trashing the place after its lease is up) so we thought it a good idea to focus on some of the positive things we’re looking forward to in the year ahead.    The shocking event of January 6th appears to have finally been a bridge too far for many...
By Elizabeth Sutterlin | January 13, 2021
Photo of a woman walking in front of a wall with blue numbers and digital motifs.
Technology and democracy have been front and center in recent headlines, following last week's insurrection at the United States Capitol building. Those events have thrown into stark relief the consequences of disinformation and hate speech that run rampant on mainstream and fringe social networks, from Facebook to Parler. Reports of stolen laptops from congressional offices and photos of the insurrectionists in front of unlocked staffers' desktop computers raised significant concerns...
By Elizabeth Sutterlin | January 6, 2021
A loading bar for 2021
As the world bid 2020 goodbye and geared up for the start of a new year, many have had their eyes on the future challenges and successes for technology in 2021. One New York Times columnist foresees that digital remittance payments will soar in the year ahead, as shutdowns and pandemic regulations limit how many migrant workers can send money across borders through more traditional ATM wires. The Reuters Foundation published a list of eight digital rights and data privacy battles that will...
By Elizabeth Sutterlin | December 30, 2020
Illustration of people protesting for open internet from the Paradigm Initiative's Ayeta Toolkit
Google's parent company, Alphabet, reportedly launched a “sensitive topics” review of research papers earlier this year, adding an additional layer of scrutiny to papers written by its AI scientists on topics including gender, race, and political ideology. The new review procedure asks its researchers to consult with legal, public relations, and policy teams before publishing evaluations of Google’s services that address biases. Google told employees to “strike a...
By Elizabeth Sutterlin | December 23, 2020
Image of a security camera monitoring a laptop screen from Getty Images
This week, Michael Pack, CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), has moved to stop federal funding for the Open Technology Fund (OTF) for three years, an action difficult for the incoming Biden administration to reverse in January. Appointed by Trump and confirmed in summer 2020, Pack's approach to the Fund has been continually adversarial: he temporarily withheld millions in funding to the nonprofit in June and attempted to fire and replace its entire board of directors in July,...
By Elizabeth Sutterlin | December 16, 2020
A person communicates with a chatbot on a phone screen.
Last week, the Federal Trade Commission sued Facebook for anti-competitive and monopolistic conduct. After a long period of investigation, the complaint alleges that Facebook's acquisition of Instagram in 2012 and of WhatsApp in 2014 were part of a systematic strategy to eliminate any threat to its monopoly on social networking. The complaint also cites Facebook's anticompetitive conditions imposed on software developers, such as only allowing APIs available to third parties if they...
By Elizabeth Sutterlin | December 10, 2020
Header image from the Washington Post showing an illustrated hand and red flag over a Facebook feed
Facial recognition software developed by Huawei sparks concerns about the dangers of artificial intelligence surveillance--in this case, a potential Chinese government crackdown on the oppressed minority group, the Uyghurs. Facial recognition software is capable of estimating age, gender, and ethnicity through an effortless scan, and AI researchers and advocates are concerned about the normalization and proliferation of this technology. They argue that ethnicity recognition technology can...
By Elizabeth Sutterlin | December 2, 2020
Header image from the New York Times showing illustrated "like" and "dislike" buttons.
This week, the European Commission is unveiling its European Democracy Action Plan, which will include potential new limits on "microtargeting" of political advertising and partisan messages across social media platforms. The plan will also outline revisions to the Commission's approach to disinformation, which officials say include suggestions for better access to data from social media companies on who buys political ads and how messaging is targeted at voters.   These EU...