Tactical Tech

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About

Our vision is a world where digital technologies can contribute to a more equitable, democratic and sustainable society. To enable this change, we investigate how digital technologies impact society and individual autonomy, using our findings to create practical solutions for citizens and civil society actors.

What we do

We work with an international audience of engaged citizens and civil society actors to investigate and mitigate the evolving impact of technologies on society.

Our work has gone through a number of phases since the organisation was founded in 2003, but the core principle hasn’t changed: we examine how issues arise in different contexts, explore what responses are needed and find strategies and tactics to work with and around them in a sustainable way.

Our work can be most easily categorised by the two main audience groups we work with:

The first is a much broader audience, grown from the increased public awareness around these issues and the demand for public education around online privacy and autonomy in a data-driven world. Through projects like The Glass Room and the Data Detox Kit, we find creative and accessible formats to demystify technology and give people actionable, sustainable changes to make in their own digital lives.

The second audience group are made up of civil society actors, such as journalists, other NGOs or human rights defenders, who we work with to create safer, more robust and more informed practices with regard to their use of digital technologies. Projects such as Exposing the Invisible help empower people to use digital investigations to uncover truth or corruption. Similarly our work on Data and Politics, provides a unique contribution to understanding how the misuse of data is impacting negatively on democracies around the world.

How we work

Our techniques are informed by our cross-disciplinary expertise in political engagement and technology. Our methodology uses an iterative, design-based way of thinking, creating a continuous loop between ideas, testing and development. Our aim is to make the issues accessible – at times fun and at times challenging – but most importantly, to create interventions that make these issues relevant and accessible to our audiences.

Our collaborations with partners enable us to contextualise our centralised work, considering nuances in movements, geographical regions and activist practices. They also allow us to continuously test, listen and further develop our work. And lastly, they enable us to increase our reach and impact among diverse audiences. This large network, built over a decade, continues to support our work by utilising, adapting and translating our resources, often in partnership with local communities.

Our history

The idea of Tactical Tech was born around 2001, as a question posed by co-founders Stephanie Hankey and Marek Tuszynski: What can be done to help activists, advocates and campaigners to think about and use technology differently?

At the time, there was a general optimism about technology, but not much specific focus on what it could do for civil society. There was also a lot of talk about how technology could be an equalising, emancipating force - but not much being done to make this actually happen. Trainings tended to take a top-down, parachute-in approach, with questionable results.

Tactical Tech was officially founded in 2003 to respond to these gaps. Initially run out of a small former hairdressing salon in Amsterdam, the organisation slowly expanded, setting up small informal offices around the world from Brighton and Bangalore before bringing its expanded international team together in 2012 to settle in Berlin.

Funding

Without the generous support of our funders, the work we produce would not be possible. Currently our main sources of funding are: