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Technology as a Strategic Tool for Moving Forward

The Report Roundup

A guide from the Technology Association of Grantmakers, NetHope, NTEN, and TechSoup positions tech as a tool for overcoming adversity.

The Report Roundup is a curated list for policymakers, practitioners, and community activists working at the intersection of technology and civil society.

01. Investing in Digital Infrastructure: A Roadmap for Funders

A new guide from the Technology Association of Grantmakers, NetHope, NTEN, and TechSoup, provides nonprofit professionals with concrete ways to invest in what it describes as “three core elements of digital infrastructure.” Digital transformation, capacity building, and data collaboration are each critical for social change as funders, CSOs and their partners use digital resources to deliver on their missions. The guide considers the impact of the crisis on daily operations, and positions technology as a strategic tool for moving forward.

02. COVID-19 and Freedom of Expression

Civil rights are in rapid decline globally as governments race to contain the spread of COVID-19. In April, David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, brought attention to technology-based efforts that “may be failing to meet the standards of legality, necessity, and proportionality.” In the report, Kaye highlights five areas of concern, “showing that access to information, independent media and other free expression rights are critical to meeting the challenges of the pandemic.” Available in six languages.

03. Digital Contact Tracing and Surveillance During COVID-19

In June, UNICEF released a working paper outlining general and child-specific ethical issues around data collection for the purpose of containing the spread of the global pandemic. The paper examines systemic risks of the use of digital technologies for public health surveillance, including the impact on communities, and compares six proposed international digital contact tracing applications. “Balancing the need to collect data to support good decision-making versus the need to protect children from harm created through the collection of the data has never been more challenging than in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic.” Research brief also available.

04. Leveraging Data for Economic Recovery: A Roadmap for States

New guidance from the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation is designed to assist policymakers as states respond in real-time to COVID-19 health and its unfolding economic effects. Led by Beeck Center fellow Tyler Kleykamp, one of the country’s first state Chief Data Officers, and researcher Katya Abazajian, the guidance improves on outdated recovery practice developed after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “By improving the way they use data, states can go beyond restoring the pre-pandemic conditions that enabled disproportionate impacts on communities of color and the poor, to an environment that supports equity and mobility from poverty.”

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