Blog

By Madeleine Nicoloff | August 25, 2021
Internet Freedom
In today’s world, the exercise of democracy and human rights relies on access to secure, uncensored participation in the digital space. As society continues to move into the digital realm, the fight to defend human rights and civic space is expanding into this new territory. Technology and the internet hold the potential to democratize access to information and to opportunity, while at the same time carry the risk of being instrumentalized to further exacerbate unequal power dynamics. The...
By Chris Doten | August 16, 2021
Cybersecurity trainers play-testing the Cybersecurity Simulation game
I love games - video, board, card, whatever. I cut my teeth on BBS games (bulletin-board system, online dial-up text-based system, for those who are not ancient) pre-internet, but loved the way even then games could build community. My grade school classes clamored to play Oregon Trail, where I learned a bit about that part of history, piquing my interest in the frontier era and learning that caulking wagons is apparently not as easy as one might hope. Similarly, clearly the interminable hours...
By Summer Boucher-Robinson | August 16, 2021
RightsCon 2021 logo
As we near the end of the summer, the DemTech team has been thinking about our highlights. The pandemic has separated us in unimaginable ways over the last year, but the innovations it generated have also connected us in ways that we never thought possible. Because of this, in June, we were lucky to attend Access Now’s 10th annual RightsCon Summit - a huge highlight. We tuned into countless fascinating sessions, and hosted a few sessions of our own! NDI staff led presentations and...
By Jade Collins | August 12, 2021
Social Media Monitoring Picture
Technology and Internet usage have skyrocketed in recent years, and the National Democratic Institute’s DemTech team has recognized the need for acquiring resources, and using new tools to better understand these ecosystems. To that end, NDI has been working to develop tools, methodologies, networks and guidance for online election monitoring, civic technology, and a host of other subjects relating to social media and information integrity. One of the tools we recently gained access to is...
By Evan Summers | August 4, 2021
Cybersecurity handbook illustration
Democratic organizations of all stripes are facing increasingly complex cyber threats. And while global awareness of cybersecurity is increasing, there’s still a lot of work to do. While some democratic actors are taking steps to protect themselves, most tend to be reactive. Many don’t see themselves as possible cyber targets until it’s too late.   NDI works in over fifty countries in partnership with democratic organizations on a range of issues in the rights, democracy...
By Elizabeth Sutterlin | July 13, 2021
A city overlaid with connected network lines and symbols for cellular technology
5G adoption is happening around the world, even in places with low internet penetration. At the end of 2019, 131 countries had announced plans to invest in 5G, and more than 60 of the 98 countries NDI works in were engaging corporations that have close ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in their 5G plans. Existing research on 5G has focused almost exclusively on its impacts for international security and economic growth. Little is understood in the democracy donor community about the...
By Kaleigh Schwalbe | July 2, 2021
Countering Disinformation: A guide to promoting information integrity
The Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS) launched the Countering Disinformation Guide this April as a one-stop-shop for practitioners and civil society organizations on what is working, and what is not working, in the information space.  The guide was created with funding from USAID in partnership with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), the International Republican Institute (IRI), and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).  It...
By Priyal Bhatt | June 29, 2021
CityScape
In an increasingly digitized era, where people use online services daily for everything from doctors to dinners to drivers, government entities at all levels need to keep up to meet their people’s expectations. This shift to digital is a challenge for many cities but also presents an opportunity to prove that democracy delivers and use this digitally connected era to increase understanding of community needs, create effective, equitable, and accessible solutions, and build for a...
By Elizabeth Sutterlin | June 22, 2021
Two hands in front of a computer with a fingerprint scan application open.
A legally recognized form of identification can fundamentally impact our ability to exercise our economic, social, and civil rights in their everyday life. Taking part in many routine tasks - such as accessing social service benefits, receiving medical care, opening a bank account, or even making a phone call - now rely on showing proof of a legal ID. Those without an ID can be barred from these services, as well as from fundamental democratic processes, like  voting, running for office,...
By Jade Collins | June 16, 2021
mountain landscape
Hello! My name is Jade Collins and I’m thrilled to be joining the NDI DemTech team as a Project Assistant.   Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I have been immersed in an environment that fosters technology-driven innovation. This part of my identity, combined with my multicultural upbringing, influenced my professional trajectory towards technology and international relations. I have since gained firsthand experience in the use of digital technology for enabling inclusive,...
By Summer Boucher-Robinson | June 10, 2021
voting
Hello, World! My name is Summer Boucher-Robinson, and I’m joining the DemTech team as its newest Project Assistant.  I’ve been interested in politics since well before I could vote. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area to two engineer parents, science and technology have always been highly regarded and thoughtful research has always been a core family value. To their surprise, my parents raised a child who much preferred the social sciences.  Volunteering on President...
By Moira Whelan | June 4, 2021
NDI Presents: The Democracy and Technology Summer Series. Join us for a series of weekly tech briefings all summer long!
It’s finally summer. Time to get outside, and in some places, enjoy a bit of a reprieve from a challenging year. It’s been a tough one, especially for democratic actors around the world. Democratic activists have never been more at risk. Tools to mobilize around democratic activity have never been more prevalent, while the vulnerability to surveillance and disinformation is overwhelming. NDI has worked hard to integrate technology into all of our programs around the world by helping...