Technology Guides

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The Changing Landscape of Social Media Monitoring Tools

A guide to understanding the social media monitoring tool options for civil society organizations to undertake data collection, data analysis and data visualization, as well as limitations to their use and vulnerabilities.

Description Updated: Dec 12, 2023

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Municipal Digital Transformation Guidebook

Integrating technology can be a positive for local government, boosting citizen engagement, reducing corruption, speeding service delivery, and cutting costs. However, most projects fail – and too many facilitate repression. This guidebook is designed for political leaders and project managers to navigate the goals of modernizing the public sector while supporting democracy and human rights.

Description Updated: Feb 13, 2023

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People Powered Guide to Digital Participation Platforms

Interested in the world of participatory budgeting and or other forms of participatory democracy? has a large repository of papers, guides, tools and information focused on ways that citizens can directly engage with government processes.

Description Updated: Feb 13, 2023

Graphic of a woman at a computer entering a password.

Online Course- Cybersecurity Basics for Democracy Activists

As someone who stands up for democracy, you are likely to find yourself –- if you haven't yet already –- the target of a cybersecurity attack. This is not intended to be alarmist; it is reality these days, even for individuals that do not consider themselves to be particular targets. The good thing is that you do not need to become a coder or a tech whiz to defend yourself against common threats. But you do need to be prepared to invest some effort, energy, and time in developing some defenses. Without doing this - and the odds are stacked against you.

This course was developed to help get you started in preparing those defenses. Digital security and the concepts associated with it can be intimidating and overwhelming, so we have designed this course to use simple language, cover the most essential, foundational concepts, and connect with existing resources to avoid reinventing the wheel. Before we begin, please note that this course is intended to be just a starting point on your security journey. While we'll cover a lot of important ground, keep in mind that - especially if you are working in a high risk environment - there are many other specific topics you'll want to consider as well. So in addition to completing this course - and sharing all these best practices with others in your network - we strongly encourage you to conduct your own personal risk assessment and connect with trusted cybersecurity experts and resources for more advanced support. This can include the resources recommended throughout this course and in NDI's Cybersecurity Handbooks for Civil Society OrganizationsPolitical Parties, or Parliaments.

Description Updated: Nov 18, 2022

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The #think10 safety planning tool provides women in politics guidance on how to enhance their personal security by combining scores from a self-assessment questionnaire and the country score from NDI’s new Women’s Political Participation Risk Index. The WPPRI calculates the risk to politically active women in 172 countries. In using the tool, women in politics can develop a safety plan relevant to their personal and professional profile, and in their political context. Each country’s ranking in the WPPRI is built from three indicators: the level of women’s political participation at the national level; the state of democracy in each country; and the likelihood of violence that women in that country face. NDI has based these indicators on data gained from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Economist Intelligence Unit, and Georgetown University’s Institute of Women Peace and Security.

Description Updated: Oct 18, 2022

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Building Trust in Democracy: The Potential of Blockchain

This white paper examines blockchain technology's potential application to supporting democracy, improving government service delivery, fighting corruption, and demonstrating the integrity of elections and political processes.

Description Updated: Jun 24, 2022

Identified but Unheard: Assessing the Impact of Digital ID on the Civic and Political Participation of Marginalized Communities Cover Art

Identified but Unheard: Assessing the Impact of Digital ID on the Civic and Political Participation of Marginalized Communities

The goal of this paper is to understand how digital ID systems can impact individuals' abilities to exercise their civic and political rights, particularly for members of marginalized communities, and to provide recommendations for building inclusive, secure, and transparent ID systems. Despite a large body of research on digital ID's impacts on social and economic inclusion, a gap around the impacts on political participation remains. As governments digitize identification systems and electoral procedures and seek to connect them, it is crucial that any digital ID system upholds democratic principles of inclusion, privacy and security, and transparency.

Description Updated: Jun 24, 2022

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FOSStering Democracy: Threats and Successes in Counter-Authoritarian Software Development

An NDI-published white paper examining how Free and Open Source (FOSS) public interest technology is essential to combatting digital authoritarianism and supporting democracy. The white paper draws on NDI’s programmatic expertise, as well as research and interviews with key leaders in the Internet Freedom space. It elaborates on the crisis faced in keeping democracy advocates safe online, outlines the challenges of the internet freedom technology “life cycle,” and identifies lessons learned about coordination, long-term financial sustainability, and technical support to inform the democracy community. The paper concludes with a road map towards building a sustainable public interest internet freedom technology infrastructure, including recommendations for governments, donors, implementers, and technologists.

Description Updated: Jun 24, 2022

5G and the Future Internet: Implications for Developing Democracies and Human Rights Cover Art

5G and the Future Internet: Implications for Developing Democracies and Human Rights

5G adoption is happening around the world, even in places with low internet penetration. As of February 2021, 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 paths to 5G for developing democracies, how players in the 5G rollout process interact with democratic actors in a given country, or where there are strategic points of intervention to defend democracies from illiberal influences and technology standards. NDI set out to address this gap of comprehensive research into the impacts, positive or negative, of 5G on human rights and democracy through NDI's new white paper, 5G and the Future Internet: Implications for Developing Democracies and Human Rights.

Description Updated: Jun 24, 2022

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Combatting Information Manipulation Playbook

 A playbook for CSOs to identify, respond, and build resilience to info manipulation developed with IRI and the Stanford Internet Observatory. The playbook is intended to help leapfrog the first six months of the electoral preparation process and enable societies to effectively push back against efforts undermining free and fair elections, supporting democratic processes and rights more broadly.

Description Updated: Jun 24, 2022