Part 1: Elections — There’s An App for That
Part 2: Why Investigate Election Apps?
Part 3: Campaign Apps Ghana 2020
Part 4: The National Resistance Movement App and Digital Politics in Uganda

Screenshots from the Ugandan National Resistance Movement’s iOS app, explored in the text below, with added distortion. Source

Information and Communications Technology in Uganda

Days before Uganda’s January 2021 election, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni posted an animated video of himself joining the #Jerusalemachallenge in response to reported requests from young voters. The challenge was a viral social media trend in which people from Buenos Aires to Odessa posted videos of themselves dancing to the South African hit song. …


Trackers, Vulnerabilities and Take-Overs

Part 1: Elections — There’s An App for That
Part 2: Why Investigate Election Apps?
Part 3: Campaign Apps Ghana 2020
Part 4: The National Resistance Movement App and Digital Politics in Uganda

Despite Ghana’s Electoral Commission registering close to 30 political parties, the country has been dominated by two rival parties since democratisation in the early 1990s. In December 2020, both the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) contested the country’s general election and fielded campaign apps within their digital campaign strategies to connect with the 17 million voters. …


Looking at the tech behind political campaign apps, feat. The App Analyst

Part 1: Elections — There’s An App for That
Part 2: Why Investigate Election Apps?
Part 3: Campaign Apps Ghana 2020
Part 4: The National Resistance Movement App and Digital Politics in Uganda

“There’s an app for that” was a commonly used phrase during the time of the initial ascendance of the smart phone and tablet apps. The phrase carried with it both a celebration of this innovative approach to engaging with digital content and services, as well as low-level sarcasm about the ubiquity of apps that spanned…


by Varoon Bashyakarla

Part 1: Elections — There’s An App for That
Part 2: Why Investigate Election Apps?
Part 3: Campaign Apps Ghana 2020
Part 4: The National Resistance Movement App and Digital Politics in Uganda

Retailers, gyms, theaters, places of worship, dating services, restaurants, and public transit aren’t the only services rolling out apps nowadays. Politicians and political groups are as well. Apps provide supporters, especially during the pandemic, a virtual space to congregate, to express their support for a candidate or party, to share election moments, and to make their voices heard. Sometimes, they incorporate elements of gamification…


by Sasha Ockenden

Misinformation and disinformation have dominated headlines in 2020 and eroded trust in the information that surrounds us, from social media to conventional media; from politicians to scientists; from text to photographs to videos. Reality, it seems, is increasingly only skin deep.

What are deepfakes?

Deepfakes are videos (and sometimes photos or audio) which have been manipulated to replace the person in the original source material, often a public figure, with somebody else. …


By Daisy Kidd

Tactical Tech’s Youth initiative starting 2020

In 2020, tens of thousands of high school students across the United Kingdom took to the streets to protest the use of an algorithm that predicted their end-of-school grades. The algorithm had lowered almost 40% of grades, meaning some pupils were no longer eligible for their chosen university or college. The algorithmic scoring impacted students from lower income backgrounds the most, despite warnings of the ‘potential risk of bias’, raised in a parliamentary education committee a month prior. Days later, the UK Education Secretary Gavin Williamson backtracked on the decision, stating that pupils who had been marked…


by Amber Macintyre

In 2018, the Cambridge Analytica scandal brought worldwide attention to the use of voters’ personal data in political campaigns. The scandal helped spotlight the impact of digital campaigning firms, in particular in the US and the UK. Few of the headlines, however, addressed how such firms based in the US and Europe have also consulted for various political parties, using similar data-driven methods of influence, in other areas of the world including Sub-Saharan Africa. Yet the involvement, and consequences, can be substantial — in 2017, the founder of the Washington-based digital campaigning firm Aristotle International Inc., John…


A look at how digital technologies designed for young people are often addictive, unhealthy or unsafe — and what we should be doing about it.

by Stephanie Hankey and Daisy Kidd

Tactical Tech’s new youth initiative, launching mid-2020

The destruction of the natural environment has sparked anger and frustration among young people¹, who have taken to the streets to demand change, and yet threats to their digital environment are less widely discussed. Young people around the world are disillusioned that their futures are being drastically impacted by the actions and decisions of older generations, who they feel have not done enough to act responsibly and sustainably. The…


by Rachel Wilkinson

Cover image of Tactical Tech’s report ‘Personal Data: Political Persuasion’

Our phones, our tablets, our computers, the apps we download, the social media platforms we use, and the websites we visit are all inherently personal to us. These technologies have given us the ability to choose what we watch, listen to and read about — the content can be anything and everything we could possibly imagine. But amongst all these online technologies, who is capturing our personal data about our habits and preferences, and who is using it? Who else is curating what pops up in our live feed? To what ends? …


by Stephanie Hankey

A collage of Facebook’s ‘free street’ in Menlo Park, California
A collage of Facebook’s ‘free street’ in Menlo Park, California
Collage: Facebook’s ‘free street’ in Menlo Park, California, 2020

“We just want to keep it small,” were the words I heard from the representative of the messaging service WhatsApp, now used by over 2 billion people worldwide. I was standing in Menlo Park, California, in the middle of a street lined with shops serving muffins and pizzas. But there were two strange things about this street: firstly, everything in the shops was free; and secondly, it was bustling with thousands of Facebook workers. This is what it is like to step inside the real world of Facebook — as well as Instagram and WhatsApp, which they…

Tactical Tech

Tactical Tech is an international NGO that engages with citizens and civil-society organisations to explore and mitigate the impacts of technology on society.

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