Respond Now: USAID Seeks Research Expertise in Responding to Digital Threats
Aug 28, 2020
The Digital Frontiers project is issuing an expression of interest (EOI) to support the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance (DRG) office’s Responding to Digital Threats Activity.
In the 21st century, digital tools increasingly are becoming irreplaceable assets for societies. While digital tools offer an unprecedented opportunity for vulnerable, underserved, and unserved populations to access information and services, they also expose people, organizations, and countries to risks—for instance, the incitement of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar through digital platforms like Facebook, the manipulation of electoral discourse through the spread of disinformation in places like Ukraine, Brazil, and Vietnam, and the reverberating effects of massive ransomware attacks felt in high, middle, and low-income countries alike. These trends pose a threat to rule-of-law, democratic process, and human rights worldwide. In particular, China is exporting to other countries an internet governance model that conflicts with U.S. values of promoting an open, interoperable, free, and secure internet and democratic norms.
Digital Frontiers seeks to identify qualified firms and/or consultants, including researchers, practitioners, and organizations with expertise in one or more of the following: elections cybersecurity, cybersecurity and democracy, artificial intelligence, algorithmic accountability, data privacy, surveillance technology, biometric ID, and digital authoritarianism.
Selected firms or consultants will provide services to assist and strengthen the DRG office in expanding its knowledge and understanding of internet governance and digital threats, as well as creating responsive resources on these topics. This support includes building the capacity of the DRG office to identify digital threats and mitigate risks, organizing expert convenings, and helping the office effectively operationalize and integrate recommendations into current and future programs.
Three young women using a desktop computer from the Digital Inclusion in the Peruvian Amazon, one of five winners of USAID’s second annual Digital Development Awards.
How to Respond:
More information about the Responding to Digital Threats Activity can be found here.
Responses are due September 11 at 5pm ET to [email protected]. If you are interested in receiving updates and further communications regarding this EOI, please email [email protected].
Digital Frontiers is a $74.4 million buy-in mechanism available to USAID Bureaus and Missions from 2017–2022. DAI implements Digital Frontiers, which works closely with USAID’s Global Development Lab, the Center for Digital Development, USAID Missions, the private sector, and international and local development organizations to identify successful and sustainable digital development approaches and scale their impact globally.