DemTech Wrapped 2022

By Moira Whelan | December 28, 2022

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On a deep purple background, is a black square with a pink and yellow triangular design with green circles in the middle. A white square sits over this design with logos for Dem.Tools, Co/Act, Info/tegrity, Open Internet for Democracy, Design 4 Democracy Coalition, and cybersim. Below the black square, in yellow, it says "We spent 1,622,400 minutes making tech work for democracy" and in the bottom left hand corner is the DemTech logo

DemTech Wrapped 2022 is here. All year we’ve worked to make tech work for democracy As we look forward to 2023, we wanted to share with you what we’ve been up to. 

We built technology into all of our work. NDI has more than 50 offices around the world that help democracy activists, parliamentarians and civil society groups keep governments accountable and responsive. Using social media, technology tools (and countering things like surveillance technology) is a big part of our work. This year, 63 of our colleagues completed a course we designed and implemented to help them better utilize technology to do their work, and 250 participated in Human Centered Design workshops to ensure that people are at the center of technology design and development. Our team responded to over 150 unique requests from our colleagues, and to assist them, we revamped Dem.Tools to make sure NDI staff and our partners are up to speed on the tools that will help them work more effectively. 

We helped make our partners safer. We conducted digital hygiene trainings in more than 50 countries this year—each with its own unique challenges. We are especially proud of the work we do with LGBTQI+ groups, women’s groups, and other marginalized communities that NDI supports. These groups are the most targeted by authoritarian governments, and helping them navigate the challenge of staying safe online while still working for democratic freedoms is a top priority for NDI. In addition to training, NDI’s unique partnerships with tech companies allowed us to deploy almost 900 VPNs and security keys this year. 

We also translated the Cybersecurity Handbook for Political Parties and the Cybersecurity Handbook for Civil Society Organizations into nine new languages, while collaborating with the House Democracy Partnership team to launch the Cybersecurity Handbook for Parliaments

We ensured the integrity of the information space. Through Info/tegrity, NDI operates disinformation programs in almost every country in which we work. Through the Info/tegrity networks we’ve helped to build in almost every region of the world, our partners share ideas and best practices, have trainings on combating regime propaganda, promote democratic concepts and use research tools like Crowdtangle. We’re especially proud when our partners work across regions (like the fantastic cooperation we’re seeing between Taiwan and Kosovo) and have worked to highlight the brilliant work of our Ukraine team in countering Russian disinformation. We also worked with technology companies to help escalate specific problems our partners experienced this year and guided them on making tools more democratic through the Design for Democracy Coalition. We supported Code for All in charting a course for engaging civtech in countering disinformation around the world. 

Ending online violence against women in politics has been a major focus of our work this year. In conjunction with 100 activists around the world, tech experts, governments, and global NGOs, we developed and promoted interventions we took to the White House, Silicon Valley, and the United Nations, among other places. This is a Democracy Game Changer and we’re proud to join the Advisory Board of the Global Partnership for Action on Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse to realize real changes in 2023. 

We are working to preserve a global, free, and inclusive internet. Through the Open Internet for Democracy Initiative, we launched the Digital Rights Learning Exchange, a course that introduced more than 40 activists to the essential skills needed to conduct effective advocacy for a democratic digital space. We also joined the Global Network Initiative and participated in the Internet Governance Forum along with partners and friends. 

In addition to what’s listed here, DemTech traveled to every region (and of course the Bay Area), added three staff members, a new baby, and endured 8 cases of COVID. 

Our priority for 2023 is to continue to promote the multistakeholder frameworks we know make the difference in enabling technology to work for democracy. We have big plans to help partners submit inputs to the Global Digital Compact and highlight what’s working at the Summit for Democracy. Stay tuned, and to all of our partners, thank you for sharing your talents and passion with us in 2022. 

Join us in 2023 as we embrace the final direction from NDI Chair Madeleine K. Albright whom we lost this year: “let us buckle our boots, grab a cane if we need one, and march.”