TechCivica: Empowering Citizens through Tech Innovation

TechCivica: Empowering Citizens through Tech Innovation

Tangerang: OpenGov & Technology

Tangerang: OpenGov & Technology

Tale of Three (Indonesian) Cities: OpenGov & Technology

Tale of Three (Indonesian) Cities: OpenGov & Technology

Liveblogging Cote d'Ivoire Parliamentary

Liveblogging Cote d'Ivoire Parliamentary

Hello, World!

Hello, World!

Social Security - Using Digital Media in Zambia

Social Security - Using Digital Media in Zambia

Photos from #ZambiaDecides

Photos from #ZambiaDecides

Redundant Department of Redundancy

Redundant Department of Redundancy

Digital Security Trainings Don’t Work (By Themselves)

Digital Security Trainings Don’t Work (By Themselves)

The DemTools Are Yours Now: A Retrospective

The DemTools Are Yours Now: A Retrospective

Projects

Blog

By Priyal Bhatt | November 8, 2018
DemGames
As the Technology Innovation team at NDI, we are always looking for new approaches to build impactful platforms. One of our recent pilot projects—DemGames—offers our partner organizations an opportunity to engage youth on civic and voter education issues through an interactive gaming platform. As we began to think of the many ways a gaming platform could contribute to a youth debates program in Guatemala, we decided to run a three-day design sprint back in April to develop a low-...
By Chris Doten | October 25, 2018
A look at the DemocracyNotary.org home page
“Who you gonna believe” – as the comics say – “me, or your lyin’ eyes?” When it comes to politics, cognitive bias has always given citizens a strong push to believe “their side,” whatever the evidence to the contrary suggests. As disinformation swamps the internet, the problem has become much worse with lyin’ evidence that’s all too easy to believe. Increasingly, information is forged or manipulated. Convincing but fake, this...
By Priyal Bhatt | October 24, 2018
Tech Civica Datathon, Guatemala
Civic organizations, government, and activists are becoming more adept at using digital technologies to engage on community issues, participate in public discourse, and stay connected. This civic technology-- such as online petition platforms, feedback mechanisms, and collaboration tools-- can improve government service delivery, bring transparency to opaque decision making, and create a strong social fabric and network of participation. (tldr: we think civic tech is pretty cool.) Since 2016,...
By Julia Rhodes | October 12, 2018
Internet of things
Good news! California just passed a law requiring all Internet-of-things (IoT) devices to have unique, secure password. According to Broadband Genie’s survey of UK and US consumers, 51% of respondents hadn’t taken any kind of security precaution for their IoT knick-knacks. However, with simple username-password combinations (think: admin/admin), wireless routers, internet-connected cameras, and even the unsuspecting microwave can serve as vectors for attacks. The infamous Mirai...
By Julia Rhodes | October 1, 2018
Roughtime
Last week, Cloudflare announced it would support Google’s Roughtime, a protocol that (roughly) keeps the internet’s clocks in synch. Accurate time is critical for cybersecurity, particularly for verifying encryption (SSL) certificates. (You might see these as the “Secure” or “Not Secure” lock icons in your address bar.) Network Time Protocol (NTP) usually governs clock synchronization, but it lacks strong security protections. That’s where Google...
By Julia Rhodes | September 21, 2018
junk news
On September 9th, Swedes took to the polls to vote for a new prime minister and members of parliament. Studying a sample of Twitter posts in the run-up to the elections, researchers at the Oxford Internet Institute found that 22% of shared content specifically about the election was Junk News (an actual term), or deliberately misleading information that does not link back to a credible source. In contrast, Professional News accounted for 52% of all election-related posts. As such, the...
By Julia Rhodes | September 14, 2018
Journalism
Last week, the 172-year-old Associated Press (AP) announced a collaboration with the little over twelve-month-old Civil Media Company, a blockchain-based news organization. The partnership will provide Civil with content, as well as offer new use-cases for the technology, from establishing ownership rights to tracking readership. Outside of AP, organizations like the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and Splice, in addition to a cohort of established media figures, have joined the...
By Ben Lynch | August 30, 2018
User experiencw testing
As anyone who has spent time in tech knows, “designing good software” is as complicated as the term is simple. It’s easy to come up with ideas and improvements for your products. But the actual implementation is full of pitfalls that keep you from a high quality product. Buggy code will make your product unusable; feature creep can make it overly complex; and poor user experience (UX) design can make it impossible to navigate. These headaches can seem insurmountable when even...
By Noble Ackerson | August 22, 2018
citizen centered design
  “We shape our tools and, thereafter our tools shape us…”  — John Culkin (1967)   It’s amazing what humanity can do with the right tools. If you’ve ever looked up the work of Marshall McLuhan, he talks about how even the basic things we create change our outlook on life, politics and society. The light bulb, for example, changed what time of day we can commune with each other. Before the invention of the wheel, we didn’t have roads, the...
By Ben Lynch | August 10, 2018
Telerivet phones ready to go
When my colleague Jared and I landed in Bamako, I was expecting to head to our hotel, have an early dinner, and then grab the sleep we missed out on during our plane ride over, so that we would be prepared to get to work the next morning. Instead, plans were quickly set and we had an hour to settle in before a car arrived to whisk us away to the recently opened data center. With the first round of Mali’s presidential elections five days away, time was at a premium to make sure systems...
By Julia Rhodes | August 7, 2018
Zimbabwe election
On July 30th, six million Zimbabweans took to the polls to elect new members of parliament and a new president. Taking place less than a year after former President Robert Mugabe’s longtime rule was brought to an end, these elections presented “an historic opportunity to break with the past 18 years of political crisis and mark the beginning of a genuine democratic transition.”  The incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who played a role removing Mugabe from power, led...
By Julia Rhodes | July 20, 2018
SMS
A six-member team of researchers published a report on the effectiveness of SMS messages to change voter perceptions in the 2016 Uganda district elections. Using information from Uganda Office of the Auditor General, the team sent texts about local corruption to constituents and measured post-election voting patterns. Compared to the control group, citizens who received negative news about candidates were not less likely to report voting for the incumbent chairperson, but were 3%...