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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.

Mixing it Up: the Tuesday Round-up

Happy Labor Day.jpg

Happy Labor Day! Well, except if you live in the United States, you’ll have to wait until September to celebrate. With that, here is your Monday, err, Tuesday roundup.

streets > social platforms : the Monday Round-Up

a medieval democracy-seeker

Happy International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day! Today also happens to be Canada Book Day, which is less awesomely named but probably more exciting. After reading our Monday round-up, we strongly encourage you to celebrate with Canada and read a book, then share it with your friends.

A SOPA by any other name? the Monday Round-Up

spoken like a true freedom fighter
It's Emancipation Day in D.C., which, in addition to providing a few extra days to file your taxes, is a great opportunity to celebrate freedom. This week we're highlighting news related to Internet freedom and censorship, with a particular focus on a new House cybersecurity bill called CISPA. 

China and the Internet's Turbulent Relationship: the Monday Round-Up

artist's rendition of China's Great Firewall

China has been all over tech news this week - Anonymous China, updates to the Great Firewall, and censorship are among the top stories. Check out our China-related news and others we're reading:

Social Media Works in Mysterious Ways: the Monday Round-Up

The power - and irony - of social media

Our team is making our staff aware (very aware) about digital security this week. Follow the hashtag #NDISecure to see what our staff is learning, and here are some of the other news stories that have caught our eye this week:

  • International fiber-optic cables have made the Internet more widely available to the African continent, especially in recent years. A report by Peter Lange reviews Internet development statistics in Africa, while The Economist has an informative infographic (and article) showing the state of democracy across Africa.
  • CIMA releases a new report detailing the role of digital media in the Arab world, one year after the revolutions.
  • A bill on "information-technology crimes" with broad wording and harsh punishments is due to come before Iraq's parliament in April. The bill could severely restrict basic freedoms and limit Internet use for Iraqi citizens.
  • Yoani Sanchez, a popular Cuban blogger, sees the Pope's upcoming visit as the perfect opportunity for the rest of the world to see the "real situation" in the island nation.
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