Appropriating technology for accountability: messages from Making All Voices Count
The January 2018, research report from Making All Voices Count, “Appropriating Technology for Accountability”, summarizes 14 key findings from the organization’s four year program, which funded innovative projects that used technology to improve governance problems.
The report highlights multiple ways technology can improve interactions between the state and citizens, including creating new spaces for citizens to engage with the state and strengthening citizen’s agency for empowerment. The report also points out that technology alone is not enough to improve accountability and trust in government, but should be accompanied by systemic change to governance practices. Additionally, with a growing digital divide in some countries, the report concludes that new technologies should be carefully used so as to avoid exacerbating existing exclusions of certain groups who might lack access to the technology.
Innovative technologies, if utilized appropriately, can be practical methods in improving collective, civic engagement. However, practitioners must also consider the wider implications, which can result in decreased accountability and democratic governance.