Tactical Tech began formally conducting applied research in 2014.
Areas of research
1. Research which looks directly at our own work and the sectors we work in: digital security and privacy, internet freedom, digital activism, investigation, journalism, information activism, and visual politics, among others.
2. We are building an evidence base to develop critical perspectives on the politics of information in areas that we're connected to but don't necessarily work in directly. These include ICT4D (Information and Communication Technologies for Development), and a newer area called Technology for Transparency and Accountability (T4TA).
Tactical Tech's Applied Research area of work allows us to:
- raise questions about how political, legal, technical and other developments in the technology sector affect human rights and freedom of expression
- engage in critical debate on how social media operates in framing the politics of visuals, debates, and ideologies
- critically reframe debates and practices within both the advocacy and the digital security training sectors
- document and assess our own work, and loop the results back into our own practices.
SECURITY IN CONTEXT
This two-year project broadly evaluates the history, practice and methods of digital security and privacy training and education. It sets out to answer the following questions:
- How do we know that what human rights activists learn in our digital security trainings helps them change their behaviour and adopt new and safer digital practices?
- What is the ‘after-life’ of digital security trainings?
- How do people adapt to changing digital threats?
It is comprised of two research studies; the first is a qualitative documentation and evaluation of the practices of digital security trainers in their own words; the second is based on three in-depth case studies looking at how context influences digital security practices of human rights defenders, and how networks of solidarity and training can help to support and spread effective practices.
ANONYMITY, VISIBILITY AND THE FLIP SIDE OF TECHNOLOGY FOR TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY This year-long project looks at the risks and barriers perceived by two marginal communities of activists in Africa. It is inspired by the recognition that in a quantified society there is a ceiling to technology-enabled activism for transparency and accountability. How can citizens and governments engage in meaningful dialogue through technology interfaces when governments are actively persecuting or marginalising citizens through violence and criminalisation? What happens when these citizens are marginal in society and have fewer social safety nets and social capital to protect themselves?
WRITING FOR LEARNING AND SHARING, BOTH INTERNALLY AND WITH OTHERS Writing and research to investigate ideas for ourselves, and to compile and share our learnings with others. Some recent offerings:
A blog series on gender, data and discrimination, published on our Visualising Information for Advocacy blog
A chapter of a new book called Diversity & Design (Routledge), titled "Communicating Gender - the challenges of visualising information for advocacy", in Diversity and Design: understanding the hidden consequences by Beth Tauke, Korydon H. Smith and Charles Davis (Routledge)
- "Women's rights campaigning info-activism toolkit", in Agents of alternatives
COMING UP LATER IN 2015
Two articles in Fibreculture journal.
Our data our selves
A new project exploring how data affects activism, political processes, and you.
Data and democracy in the digital age
A report to examine the increasingly prominent role of personal data in political campaigning and highlight the inadequacy of current regulatory safeguards.
Efficiency and madness
An essay exploring the concept of technofixes - the use of data and technology to solve social, environmental and political problems.
Women's bodies on digital battlefields
A short summary in English of an 18 month long study of Latin American and Caribbean pro-choice activists' resistance to attacks online and offline.
Architectures of online harassment
Tactical Tech's Gender & Tech project hosted a workshop with Caroline Sinders to explore what design thinking approaches could tell us about understanding online harassment. Here, Maya Ganesh writes about this workshop in two parts.
Digital security in human rights
Looking at how human rights defenders learn about and adopt digital security practices.
Other than women: exploring harassment and difference online
A Satellite Session at Rightscon by Tactical Tech
Summary of papers and journal articles published in the last few years.
Marginalisation, activism and the flip sides of digital technologies
Looking at the risks and barriers perceived by two specific communities of activists.
Sexuality, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the internet
Tactical Tech has guest-edited an annual journal produced by policy group ARROW. This year, the journal focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the internet.
How we develop guides
Case study contributed to the book Agents of Alternatives (2015)
Chapter contributed to the book "Diversity & Design: understanding the Hidden Consequences" (2014)
Evidence and influence micro-magazine
4 issues compiling multimedia stories about and by the participants at Tactical Tech's Info-Activism Camp 2013.