Solidarity Technology

Values for an Earth Defender’s Toolkit

Digital Democracy’s mission is to empower marginalized communities to use technology to defend their rights. As technology becomes cheaper and more accessible, we believe it can and should be used to bring more voices to the table. Digital Democracy helps our partners achieve transformative change and works toward a world where all people can participate in decisions that govern their lives.

Over the past year, we’ve dug deeply into our convictions and had empowering conversations with practitioners, allies, and partners. Based on these conversations, we’ve crafted some recommendations for technologists who want to build solidarity technology. We combine this with our own experiences co-designing technology with earth defenders over the past five years.

Center self-determination and human rights

Respect. All peoples have the right to determine their future for themselves. Prioritize solutions that increase self-sufficiency and reduce dependence on outside entities.

Autonomy. Read the principles of Free Prior and Informed Consent, and recognize your user’s intellectual property rights. Users should be able to take their data with them.

Collaborate through Equity and Intentional inclusion

Lead from the Heart. Build an ecosystem of organizations and individuals and prioritize projects that enable collaboration.

Co-design. Design first, implement later. Instead of driving product decisions from metrics dashboards, form direct partnerships and work side-by-side in collaborative design processes.

Challenge Oppression (Social & Environmental Justice)

Consent & Safety. Data can be used as a weapon against marginalized communities. Always ask: Do we need to store that data? What is the threat model? How long do we keep data?

Accessibility. Create tools that are adaptable and usable across typical boundaries such as class, race, language, literacy and culture.

Be Fearless & Creative

Open Open Source. The project is open to new contributors to help steer the project.

Take a stance: Reflect on your team’s & communities’ values, and decide “best practice” for yourselves. Don’t reproduce Silicon Valley practices blindly.