NDItech Goes to (Tech) Camp

NDItech Goes to (Tech) Camp

Can blockchain help rebuild trust in democracy?

Can blockchain help rebuild trust in democracy?

Why is a Democracy Organization into Blockchain?

Why is a Democracy Organization into Blockchain?

We're Hiring! Software Engineer

We're Hiring! Software Engineer

NDI, Software Development, and the Long Haul

NDI, Software Development, and the Long Haul

How Smart Automation Can Be Used In International Development

How Smart Automation Can Be Used In International Development

We're Hiring! Product Management, Internship, Systems Engineers...

We're Hiring! Product Management, Internship, Systems Engineers...

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

Projects

Blog

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...
By Elizabeth Sutterlin | November 25, 2020
Image of a neon digital networked globe from IISS
Following the Google antitrust lawsuit launched in October, Facebook will likely be the next technology giant to face antitrust charges by state and federal departments of justice. According to state and federal investigators, the charges will challenge Facebook’s anti-competitive behavior and domination of the social networking market. Facebook’s acquisition of two rivals, Instagram and WhatsApp, may have left users with worse services and fewer privacy protections.   This...
By Elizabeth Sutterlin | November 24, 2020
IGF 2020 Logo
This year, the UN's annual Internet Governance Forum was convened virtually. Members of the DemTech team attended panels to hear discussions and analysis from global experts on the current state of global governance of the internet, AI, and data. If you missed any panels or want to learn more, all sessions are recorded and available on IGF's YouTube page. Here are some of our takeaways from the event.   Harnessing tech for good:   Major themes at this year's IGF were the...
By Elizabeth Sutterlin | November 19, 2020
Header image from the "Freedom of the Media and Artificial Intelligence" report.
The CEOs of Facebook and Twitter, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, appeared in front of the Senate judiciary committee on November 17th to face questions about their handling of the US election. The majority of questions were on content moderation, with Republican senators focused on alleged anti-conservative bias, though researchers have found no evidence to support this. Senator Lindsey Graham called for a reform of Section 230 that would provide greater transparency when Facebook and Twitter...
By Elizabeth Sutterlin | November 12, 2020
Header image from Alex Castro at The Verge, illustrating silhouettes of human faces with computer-drawn polygons.
In the days leading up to the U.S. general elections, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms rolled out a series of features meant to combat misinformation. This included placing warning labels over false information, banning political ads, bringing in more moderators, and hampering the spread of information. While these emergency measures may not last forever, they could prove to be valuable tools for curbing election misinformation in other country contexts and for slowing the...