Blog

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...
By Ben Lynch | May 25, 2017
Consensus 2017 Conference
In this week’s news, a scaling agreement for Bitcoin was reached, with implications for both the digital currency and online cooperation more broadly. The agreement would allow for more transactions in a single Bitcoin block by enlarging each block’s size to 2Mb and decreasing the amount of data recorded in each transaction (by implementing a change called Segwit). Implementation is scheduled to happen in the next 6 months, pending community approval. The move is intended to help...
By Chris Doten | May 24, 2017
CCMG data center for Zambia 2016 elections
As you know if you read this blog, NDI works to support and protect citizens who are fighting to make their voices heard by their leaders and push governments to be more open and accountable. We need techies who want to make a difference in the lives of millions of citizens and who share our passion for democracy, human rights, and open government around the world.The NDItech team works with over a thousand staff and hundreds of partner groups across sixty countries, laboring for a more...
By Ben Lynch | May 16, 2017
cyber attack map
Last Friday marked the outbreak of a massive ransomware cyberattack named "WannaCry" that hit computer systems across the globe. Infected computers had their data encrypted, followed by a message saying that data would only be unencrypted if the owner paid $300 to an anonymous bitcoin account (although there is no evidence that files will or even can be unencrypted if the ransom is paid). The malware hit numerous companies such as FedEx and Deutsche Bahn and also spread to government...
By NDI Tech | May 5, 2017
Fix My Community
Guest Post by Jetmir Bakija: Jetmir Bakija is a civil society activist in Kosovo who, with Democracy Plus, has initiated and managed the FixMyCommunity Platform - ndreqe.com. He has previously managed the Civil Society Program for NDI in Kosovo and more recently in Nepal and has served as a trainer for NDI in Afghanistan, Macedonia and Turkey. Community activists are constantly looking for ways to use technology to more effectively and efficiently pursue their goals of developing and...