This panel will discuss the role that new information and communication technologies can play in advancing democratization, good governance, and other social and political goals. Much has been made of the role of social networks in connecting and coordinating activists, but technology also advances authoritarian regimes' surveillance and monitoring abilities. The panel will report on and assess innovative uses of technology to monitor elections, promote citizen journalism, expand civic space, as well as how governments shrink and control that space.
Larry Diamond (Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, Stanford University)
John Black (Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado at Boulder)
Qiang Xiao (China Digital Times/UC Berkeley)
Chris Spence (National Democratic Institute)
John Black is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at University of Colorado at Boulder.
Larry J. Diamond
Larry Diamond is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor by courtesy of political science and sociology at Stanford University. Diamond is a professor at the Center on Democracy on Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University. He is also co-editor of the Journal of Democracy and co-director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies of the National Endowment for Democracy.
He has written and edited numerous articles and books on democracy in developing countries and the problems of development and corruption, particularly in Africa and Asia. Dr. Diamond has also served as a consultant to the U.S. Agency for International Development and co-authored its recent report, Foreign Aid in the National Interest.
Xiao Qiang is an adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley. Qiang is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of China Digital Times, a bi-lingual China news website. A physicist by training, Qiang received a B.S. from the University of Science and Technology of China and studied as a PhD candidate (1986-1989) in astrophysics at the University of Notre Dame.
Qiang became a full time human rights activist after the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989. Qiang was the Executive Director of Human Rights in China (1991-2002), and is currently vice-chair of the Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy. Qiang is a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship in 2001, and is profiled in the book Soul Purpose: 40 People Who Are Changing the World for the Better, (Melcher Media, 2003).
Chris Spence is the chief technology officer for the National Democratic Institute(NDI). In this role he manages the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to support and strengthen democracy around the world through NDI programs, as well as the technology strategy for the Institute itself. He joined NDI in 1996 as its first staff person to specialize in ICTs for democratic development, based in Namibia.
In 2001, Mr. Spence was appointed senior advisor for ICT programs to establish this new area of democracy programming for the Institute. During his tenure with NDI, he has overseen ICT programs in dozens of countries around the world in all of NDI's program areas and positioned the Institute as a leader in the use of ICTs in democratic development. Areas of specialization include ICT and e-governance projects, including working with legislatures, local government, election monitoring, political parties and civil society organizations in developing countries and emerging democracies.
Mr. Spence brings to NDI a combination of IT and international relations expertise. He started his technology career in 1986 in Silicon Valley with positions in several companies including Oracle Corporation, Netscape Communications and Triad Systems. He has a bachelor's degree from Colorado State University in physical science.
John Black, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder, proposes methods to build more resilient social networks. "If you’re sitting in a coffee shop ... you can sniff other people's Facebook connections and even take over their account, pretty trivially," explains Black.