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Coming up This Friday and Saturday: Tech@State

Register today!

This Friday features the Tech@State conference at the George Washington University, followed by the unconference hosted here at NDI. This year's topic is ElecTech, and looking at the agenda for the event, it will not be one you want to miss (you can register here). There is even a visualization to capture the excitement.  So for this week's Round Up, we've included information about and pieces by a few of the amazing people who will be speaking this Friday for the event:

The Day That Data Shook the World

photo by ChrisDag on Flickr

Now that the elections are over, a number of articles have shown the amazing ways that information systems worked behind the scenes during the presidential election this year. Between Nate Silver's success in predicting state election outcomes, and the top notch team behind the President's success, the way in which data was used for this election warrants further investigations to gain understanding for how this information will be used in future elections. For this week's Monday Round Up, we feature the latest technology trends in elections and democracy. 

Don't Forget to Vote Tomorrow!

Don't forget!

As you probably already know, tomorrow is the last day to vote in the Presidential elections in the US. As a organization that encourages citizens around the world, we would be amiss not to encourage you to go out and vote! As you've probably been overwhelmed with election stories, for today's Monday Round Up, we feature a mix of exciting news from around the world:

Fish Bowl Technology: Making Governments More Transparent

So clear that you call see there are only plants, no fish
In case you have not already heard the news, there is a new blog in town!, the site for the network of parliamentary monitoring organizations, will feature conversations and news from the very active PMO Network Google Group and original content and analysis on parliamentary monitoring organizations (PMOs)." In order to celebrate this wonderful new resource, the week's Round Up features news items on increasing transparency. 

Rules of (Tech) Engagement

"Mr. Watson--come here--I want to see you" was the first conversation via phone. How engaging (source: Library of Congress)
If nothing else, technology provides us with a great platform for discussion. Ever since the first phone call, technology has connected us with one another, though the quality of discussion varies (and sometimes suffers) greatly. According to a new report by the Knight Foundation, technology can also help communities "shape their own futures" by improving the ways we engage with each other and with leaders in government. Today's Monday Round Up features other examples of technology and engagement:

Speak Your Mind: Citizen Participation

Taking action to make changes

Have you ever watched local access channels and saw a glimpse of a budget participatory meeting? Let's be honest: you probably didn't watch too long (unless you're watching Parks and Rec). Yet meetings like those determine where millions of dollars are spent and where taxpayer money goes. The 21st century has presented us with interesting alternatives to the old gavels and chairs formats. For today's Monday Round-Up, we'll be looking at other examples of citizen participation using ICT: 

Gather 'round, see the latest and greatest in election technology!

This gentleman exercising his right to vote

Elections remain an integral part of a good democracy, as well as an opportunity for transitioning countries to demonstrate their openness and ability to manage the process. Civil society organizations use tech for domestic monitoring and citizen reporting projects and governments increasingly put election results online and use tech to help citizens with the voting process. In today's Monday Round Up, we look at examples of both: 

Technology in Political Campaigns, Anno 2012

President Obama's working on his AMA (via Reddit)

Now that both of the US political conventions and their associated weather systems have passed, the campaigns will be running on high gear through the US Presidential elections in November. Technology, of course, plays a key role in providing direct access to candidates and parties, ways to raise money, build list, and even have some fun.. In today's Round-Up, we look at the way technology has affected the 2012 campaign:

Telecoms, Government, and Privacy, Oh My!

Toto, I've a feeling we're not using dial up internet anymore

Technology moves and grows at exponential rates; policy, on the other hand, does not. This combination leads to a potential conflict in the relationship between governments, private industry, and citizens. Huawei, the giant Chinese telecommunications company, is currently struggling with this very issue, as it balances large growth in the private sector with concerns over the state's relationship with the company. India, China's neighbor to the south, is also attempting to address this issue: the government received criticism for shutting down websites and restricting texts in response to ethnic violence. This week's Monday Round-Up inlcudes stories about mobile, advice about your passwords, and donkey powered WiFi.

Security Starts With You: Kids Edition

harmless, until she Tweets her famous dad's current exact whereabouts

We're back with our regularly scheduled programming after a productive team retreat last week. We highlight recent security issues around the world in this week's news round-up, from Russia, to China, and on to Alexa Dell's Twitter account.



Our team is on retreat today, so in lieu of a Monday Round-Up we have a few news items to share from the weekend and, of course, the necessary bit of random trivium. Enjoy your Monday and we'll be back with the Round-Up next week. READ MORE »

Monday Round-Up: Forecasting the Future of Digital Publication

Books? Or future wall decorations? (Photo Credit: William Hoiles)

In the ongoing debate of potential business models for media publications, the New York Times believes it has found the right model for media publication, and an analyst at Barclay's agrees. According to Kannan Venkateshwar, digital subscriptions to the paper will exceed its print subscriptions by 2014. In another realm of publication, Amazon in the UK (not to be confused with a sound-alike song name) has announced their ebook sales have outstripped their print book sales. Both Amazon and the Times must contend with lower prices for digital media access as they explore how to best utilize technology, but increasing online subscriptions may point towards what the future holds for the paper publishing. In today's Monday Round-Up, we also have the latest on disaster mapping, the newest mobile developments, and more:

Monday Round-Up: The fastest net in the West

Elmer Fudd has no chance catching this wabbit
Google, in its onward march towards making everything, now offers internet service boasting speeds 100 times faster than what you currently have. Don't get too excited; as of now, the only city that has access to the incredibly fast speeds is Kansas City, Missouri. Not only that, but neighborhoods must reach a threshold in order to receive service and become a "fiberhood" (except for schools, hospitals, and community buildings, of course).  Still, with 5Mbps speeds for free, and 100 Gigabit internet speeds for $70, Google has given traditional ISPs a run for their money. Our other news today for the Monday Round-Up includes major donors renewed committment to ICT, findings from the latest Black Hat convention, and mobile phone impact:

Monday Round-Up: The Battleground for Internet Freedom

The signal for internet freedom!
In an effort to combat restrictive internet policy, such as ACTA or SOPA, a number of internet sites including Mozilla, Imgur, Reddit, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have signed up to be a part of the Internet Defense League (IDL). Anyone can sign up, with the understanding that if such policy comes close to passing, all signees will take other unified action for internet freedom. This week's Monday Round-Up explores more stories concerning internet freedom and privacy, new advances in small computers, and the latest in dropping prices of mobile phones in developing countries. 

Monday Round-Up: When Movies Come True

Using touchscreen before it was cool

When "Minority Report" was released, it featured slick-looking, futuristic technology and a psychic police force. But is predictive crime fighting no longer limited to the silver screen? In this week's Monday Round-Up, we look at stories involving policing technology, Yahoo and Apple being hacked, and conferences discussing the importance of ICT, among other items.

The Monday Round-Up: #SouthSudan and #opendata

South Sudan celebrates its first independence day. From
July 9, 2012 marks South Sudan's first independence day. We've been keeping an eye on the world's youngest nation since the vote for independence early last year - follow the #SouthSudan hashtag on Twitter for more updates and news on South Sudan's birthday.

First in ICT Flight: Monday Round-Up

Photo courtesy of Balloons Over Britain

Today marks the anniversary of Steve Fossett's record-setting solo flight around the world in a hot air balloon in 2002, which in turn landed on the same sad date that Amelia Earhart disappeared in her own attempt at circumnavigation in 1937. To honor these aviary pioneers and their "firsts in flight", below are a few firsts (and seconds) in ICT:

How the Internet *really* works: The Monday Round-Up

How the Internet works. thanks to

In addition to forming the very organization that in turn produced a cool democracy-supporting non-profit (read: us), President Ronald Reagan declared June 25 as National Catfish Day in the United States. After reading this week's news round-up, celebrate with a nice piece of fresh fish.



The Monday Round-Up: "Dumbphones" Are Not the Answer

Gizmodo's not a fan of "dumbphones"
On this day in 1948, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights adopted its International Declaration of Human Rights. Read the old-timey New York Times article here, and check out the modern-day Declaration on the UN website.
  • Violence continues in the western state of Rakhine in Myanmar, prompting the state to resume censoring newspapers.
  • During anti-Putin protests in Moscow last week, the websites of three independent Russian news organizations suffered crippling DDoS attacks.
  • Skype and other VoIP services are now banned in Ethiopia thanks to a new law passed late last month. Tor, which can be used as a workaround, has also been banned.
  • How safe are you when it comes to cyber crime?

Working Thru the Weekend: the Thursday Round-Up

thanks to
This week's news round-up arrives a few days off-schedule: our team spent the weekend in NYC at Personal Democracy Forum 2012. We heard plenty of awesome speakers and great presentations, which we'll be posting about in the coming week.

The Monday Round-Up: Under the Radar

Carmen Sandiego, the best detective computer game

Today's round-up is looking at news about being undercover: whether it's sneaky viruses that impact networks, or how groups are able to continue their work online despite diverse obstacles; and much more:

Freedom to Tuesday Round-Up

Memorial Day, courtesy of Instagram

After the holiday weekend, where many of you consumed a few too many of these and some of these, here are some of the news stories we've been following on internet rights and much more to welcome you back to the work week. 

Everything but the Monday Round-Up: Catch-All Edition

probably not the best choice for democracy. thanks to

May 21 is World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, a day created by the UN following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US. Check out the list of 10 things you can do to celebrate this day. Also on this day: The first Democratic National Convention was held in 1832 in Baltimore, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in 1881, and most importantly, "The Empire Strikes Back" was released in theatres in 1980.

The Monday Round-Up: ICT in Africa and the Silicon Savanna

The LION2 undersea cable, and others around Africa (

Africa is quickly becoming an I(C)T hub, with Kenya in particular in the news lately. For this week's roundup, we're focusing on technology in Africa, so check out the articles we've been reading and share your thoughts with us in the comments.

The Monday Round-Up: Think of Security as a Snuggie, not a Blanket

we suggest stronger security approaches than this

National Cyber Security Awareness Month is a good five months away, but now is always the right time to refresh basic security practices, especially for travelers and advocacy workers. We're always thinking about new ways to improve our security at NDI, so join the conversation: check out this week's security articles and resources and comment with your thoughts.

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