Blog

By Ben Lynch | August 29, 2017
CiviCRM
NDItech is currently searching for vendors to help us with CiviCRM-related development and support over the next 12 months. The process is open to any organization, so please feel free to share this with anyone that might be interested and help us spread the word.   The vendor would help us maintain and improve Civi, our most popular DemTool, which is based on CiviCRM. Among other things, we are looking for vendors who have familiarity working with CiviCRM as well as...
By Chris Doten | August 29, 2017
Developing prototype tools for citizen security at TechCivica Mexico
We’ve got a new job opening on the team - NDI’s first-ever product manager. NDI needs someone committed to the vision of adapting or creating tools that can scale to serve thousands of organizations that make up critical pillars of democratic society - local governments, elected officials, civil society groups, and political parties. While the product manager will be the primary leader of our DemTools initiative, they will also work on new ideas for scaleable solutions to common...
By Chris Doten | August 24, 2017
Hard at work at a computer in Zambia
I was recently discussing with a colleague what software development means to a non-profit like NDI. My thinking on this has evolved quite a bit over the seven (!?) years I’ve been working in international development, drawing on our team’s successes - and failures. At NDI we’re really lucky to have a small software development team in-house, which is a rarity among our peers. Since it’s a small team, we necessarily have a limited set of skills. We're really good at...
By Ben Lynch | August 22, 2017
Cloudflare
As tech companies are increasingly being held responsible for hate speech on their platforms, they are also facing opposing concerns about their role in deciding the bounds of free speech. This issue came to the front last week when the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer was repeatedly dropped by numerous DNS and hosting services that refused to accept it as a customer, often citing their terms of service. Cloudflare, a service that protects websites from attacks, also dropped the Daily Stormer...
By Ben Lynch | August 15, 2017
Protest
Recently, there has been a series of crackdowns on VPNs around the world. Apple made headlines when it agreed to remove a number of VPNs from its App Store in China, defending the move by saying it must abide by the laws in each country in which it operates. Previously, Chinese police have also tracked down creators of VPNs, confronting them at home and demanding they take down their VPNs. Rather than putting an outright ban on VPNs, China is rolling out restrictions...
By Ben Lynch | August 7, 2017
Bitcoin Split
There was big news in the blockchain field last week as Bitcoin experienced a “hard fork” and split into two currencies. More people using Bitcoin has led to slower transaction processing times, leading many to suggest that Bitcoin blocks should be expanded so that they process more transactions at once. A large group of users agreed to a multi-part proposal slated to take effect later this month to help solve the issue, but a smaller minority backed a proposal to increase...
By Jesper Frant | August 7, 2017
cat in giant cat-foot slippers
Artificial Intelligence is one of those buzzwords in tech that everyone’s heard, but few people actually understand how it can be used in practice. If you’re to believe Hollywood or Stephen Hawking, AI either means androids that are indistinguishable from humans (except for the inability to use conjunctions) or super-intelligent computers that could spell the end of the human race. After attending a Tech Salon on how AI can be used in international development, I can say with...
By Dean Valentine | August 1, 2017
Drupal Govcon 2017 Keynote Audience
Hundreds of Drupal aficionados and implementers gathered yesterday at the NIH campus in Bethesda Maryland for Day One of Drupal GovCon.    After registration and some early sessions - I kicked off the day with Untangling Your Drupal Git Workflow where I picked up a few tips for improving our own workflows - it was off to the main auditorium to hear the keynote from Pantheon’s self-described “Warrior Princess” Michelle Krejci.    The keynote was a whistle...
By NDI Tech | June 30, 2017
Hello World!
Hello world! My name is Kayla Branch. I recently graduated from Phelps ACE High School in Washington, D.C. While attending Phelps, I took a class on Cisco/IT Essentials trade, which later led to a certification in that trade. While I was in high school I applied to do an internship over the summer with DCPS. This ultimately led me to NDI where I am now an intern for the NDItech team. In the fall of 2017 I will be attending Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia,...
By Ben Lynch | June 22, 2017
DisInformation Conference
In preparation for DisInformation Week, NDI hosted Philip Howard and Samuel Woolley from the Computational Propaganda Lab at the Oxford Internet Institute to talk about their new report on the effects of online disinformation. NDI President Ken Wollack began by noting that the vision of social media as a means to create open societies around the world has given way to an acknowledgement that social media has instead turned into yet another battleground for democratic practices. Ken also quoted...
By Ben Lynch | June 15, 2017
Doha Skyline
The ongoing diplomatic rift involving Qatar continues to grab headlines, but less discussion has focused on the fact that the incident was triggered by an alleged hacking. On May 23rd, the state-run Qatar News Agency (QNA) ran stories including controversial quotes by the country’s leader. Despite Qatar stating that the quotes were fake and put up on the QNA website as the result of a hack, a half dozen regional allies whose alliance with Qatar was already strained used it as a pretext to...
By Ben Lynch | May 31, 2017
Oslo
This past week, NDI attended the Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF). Nicknamed the “Davos for Human Rights”, it seeks to bring together high-profile activists and leaders working to advance freedom around the world and share the latest progress being made. The conference featured presentations by prominent figures like Garry Kasparov, Anne Applebaum, Viktor Yushchenko, and Mohamed Nasheed, as well as numerous other activists who are paying a heavy price to advance human rights in their own...