Hello, this is Michael De Dora at Access Now. Thank you again for your interest, participation, and support for the Technology and Democracy Cohort that concluded at the second Summit for Democracy on March 29-30, 2023. On behalf of Access Now, the UK, and Estonia, I am writing to send you a final email to “formally close” the Cohort.


Initially created in Spring 2022 and publicly launched in October, the Cohort grew into a coalition of more than 150 civil society, government, and private sector organizations across 40 countries. Together, we worked across multiple strands to develop projects that served to highlight and progress issues around internet shutdowns, e-governance and promote inclusivity and transparency online.


At the second Summit, the Cohort came together and produced a well-attended and engaging hybrid event that showcased our work and sought to ignite discussion and action. With thanks to our colleagues and hosts at New America you can watch full video of the event here, and read a useful blog summarizing key points, resources, and opportunities to collaborate here.


Whilst the Cohort has concluded the essential work on these key areas continues through our multi-stakeholder communities and collaboration. Moving forward, and in addition to the points and events flagged in the above summary from New America, we would like to highlight the following:

  • Strand 1: Through the Taskforce on Internet Shutdowns (TFIS) under the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC), we will continue to support the ongoing development and promotion of the Internet Society’s Pulse platform. The Pulse platform, informed by #KeepItOn data, provides a key tool for policy-makers and others to track and respond to internet shutdowns/restrictions drawing on multiple data sources. For more information or to support ongoing development of Pulse, please contact Susannah Gray and Kenny Olmstead at [email protected]. For more information on the work of TFIS please contact [email protected]

  • Strand 2: The American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative held a workshop on Privacy-Enhancing Technologies on March 15. You can view video of the workshop here (passcode: .=8et+E5). For more information, please contact Tyler Holmes and Ravy Uong at [email protected] and [email protected]. Additionally, the German Marshall Fund will continue its work on broadening access to online voter registration for persons with disabilities. For more information, please contact Adrienne Goldstein at [email protected]

  • Strand 3: The Estonian government will continue its work to develop specifications for an e-Democracy functionality that aims to bring democratic features to e-Governance solutions. They aim to integrate this work into the GovStack initiative. For more information, please contact Maarja Kask at [email protected]

We’re pleased with the networks and collaboration the Cohort was able to enhance in a relatively short period thanks to all of your input and engagement. The challenges our communities face on this agenda will persist and evolve, requiring continuous and ongoing multi-stakeholder cooperation. We, Access Now, Estonia and the UK, will continue to support and champion these efforts through the various initiatives and events moving forwards. Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions.


Michael De Dora