As technology’s role in democracy continues to grow and evolve, NDI is pleased to expand its team with two new staff members, each of whom brings professional experiences along with a deep commitment to strengthening democracy throughout the world.
Joining as a senior advisor, Kip Wainscott will lead NDI’s presence in Silicon Valley as NDI continues to engage technologists and other stakeholders in support of democracy. Until this year, Kip served in the Obama White House as senior director of Cabinet affairs and senior advisor to the Domestic Policy Council, where his work focused on justice, technology and opportunity issues. He was also appointed senior counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he worked on the development of federal policy related to technology, privacy, and other issues of priority to the Attorney General. “The relationship between technology and global politics is currently at the center of democracy’s most promising opportunities and its most urgent challenges,” Kip said. “NDI brings a crucial perspective to this moment, and I’m incredibly excited to join this work at such a pivotal time.”
Prior to entering government, Kip practiced law in political and elections practice, where he served as counsel to federal officials, the Democratic National Committee, and various political and advocacy organizations. He was also counsel and national delegate director for President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, and has held leadership roles in civic, political and professional organizations, including the Washington Foreign Law Society and the New Leaders Council. Since leaving the White House in January, Kip helped launch CrowdJustice, an international civic tech startup to democratize access to the justice system and create pathways for communities to support public interest legal action.
The relationship between technology and global politics is currently at the center of democracy’s most promising opportunities and its most urgent challenges,” Kip said. “NDI brings a crucial perspective to this moment, and I’m incredibly excited to join this work at such a pivotal time.
Kip Wainscott, Senior Advisor
NDI is also pleased to welcome Daniel Arnaudo, as a Senior Program Manager focused on combating disinformation. Dan brings a diverse background to NDI, with experience working both in the think tank and policy communities that will be valuable as NDI continues its work to identify, analyse, disrupt and combat disinformation. As a cybersecurity/senior research fellow at the University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies, Dan worked in Brazil with the Igarapé Institute and published articles (in English and in Portuguese) on Brazil's Internet Bill of Rights and the Brazilian approach to internet governance. He authored the recent case study on disinformation in Brazil, published by the Project on Computational Propaganda at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII). The OII’s Project on Computational Propaganda was recognized, along with two other recipients, at NDI’s 2017 Democracy Award Dinner. “Disinformation is a potent weapon for those seeking to undermine public trust in the core institutions of democracy,” Dan said. “I feel privileged to work in support of so many courageous activists for democracy around the world who are working to expose, analyze and counter disinformation, often in the face of extreme pressure, threats and intimidation.”
Dan has worked on several public/private partnerships, collaborating with the University of Washington, USAID, and Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing, Research, and Education divisions on projects such as information literacy in Myanmar, cybersecurity policies across Southeast Asia, and infrastructure in India and South Africa. Before pursuing his masters degree, Dan worked on nuclear nonproliferation at the Arms Control Association and the Center on International Cooperation at New York University from 2006-2009.
I feel privileged to work in support of so many courageous activists for democracy around the world who are working to expose, analyze and counter disinformation, often in the face of extreme pressure, threats and intimidation.
Daniel Arnaudo, Senior Program Manager
These new hires expand NDI’s work at the intersection of technology and democracy. As part of this commitment, NDI supports programming connected to civic technology, including Code for All — an international network of organizations empowering communities through digital engagement. NDI works with TechCivica, mentoring and supporting tech for social good entrepreneurs in the developing world. NDI has launched INFO/tegrity — an initiative to convene front-line practitioners to combat disinformation in democratic politics. Along with New America Foundation and BitFury Group, NDI launched the Blockchain Trust Accelerator, which connects governments with technologists and resources needed to pilot blockchain applications to improve governance.
Authoritarian governments have weaponized the online information space.
Chris Doten, NDI Chief Innovation Officer
“Over the past decade, technology has moved from playing a supporting role in the democracy community, to being at the core of much of what NDI does,” said Chris Doten, NDI’s chief innovation officer. “The political identities of young people are increasingly being formed online. Democratic discourse -- for good or ill -- is shaped by social media platforms and search algorithms.”
“Authoritarian governments have weaponized the online information space,” Chris continued. “They have harnessed mass communication as a tool of hybrid warfare to undermine new, restored and consolidated democracies, and have used tech as an instrument of social control and to manipulate opinion, conduct surveillance, and threaten and intimidate democratic activists.”
At the same time that recent headlines have rightly focused on some of the negative impacts of tech on democracy, we can’t succumb to cynicism.
Scott Hubli, NDI Director of Governance
Scott Hubli, NDI’s director of governance programs said, “At the same time that recent headlines have rightly focused on some of the negative impacts of tech on democracy, we can’t succumb to cynicism.” Scott added, “Every day at NDI, I am thrilled to engage with an emerging generation of amazing civic tech activists who understand how to design tech for democracy. Kip and Dan are both extremely well suited to work with our partners around the world who are at the forefront of helping democracy to adapt and thrive in the digital age.”