The IO Foundation

NextGen Rights Defenders

ShortURL | Playbook | Assistant

Engaging the correct stakeholders

In the efforts to ensure that technology is designed and build in ways that are protective of citizens and their digital twins, the most important actor is largely non-engaged: Technologists.
They are the people tasked to architect and build the technology everyone is so much concerned about and yet they occupy, on a practical level, a marginal space in the whole conversation.
At The IO Foundation, we recognize technologists, and most importantly programmers, as the Next Generation of Rights Defenders.
While TIOF recognizes that all technologists play an equally important part in building better and safer digital spaces, we concentrate our efforts towards programmers.
Why? Because any technology always has a last layer of software through which citizens interact with it. Helping programmers accelerates the impact of the DCDR advocacy.
Want to spread the word?
Use these these hashtags in your posts:


Technologists face a number of challenges that are stopping them from taking an active role in architecting and building better and safer digital spaces. Until these challenges aren't addressed, they will largely remain external actors and not embrace their role as NextGen Rights Defenders.
Technologists are the people designing and building the technology everyone is so concerned about.
TIOF has identified the following challenges:
  • Challenge 1: Lack of taxonomies Why: Without a common, clear, technical language describing Digital Harms or Digital Rights it is impossible for a technologist to envision what are the repercussions of technology to both citizens and their digital twins.
  • Challenge 2: Lack of financial incentives Why: Civil Society does not have comparable financial means as Corporate or Governments. The lack of career advancement rewards can't be appealing when the alternatives can be very lucrative; even more so when debt is introduced in the equation.
  • Challenge 3: Lack of tools and knowledge to become that change Why: Minimizing frictions for technologists will scale their adoption of their role as NextGen Rights Defenders.

Supporting the NextGen

DCDR Principles

While the UDDR is still a work in progress, The IO Foundation has created the DCDR Principles to act upon Challenge 1 and guide developers to update some of their paradigms and stepping up as NextGen Rights Defenders.
See more information in the Data-Centric Digital Rights documentation.


Ensuring that DCDR Principles become part of the technologists' toolbox as well as provide them with a space to bootstrap their own Tech NGOs.
See more information in the TechUp documentation.


This initiative aims at acting upon Challenge 3 by providing tools to quickly and easily bootstrap a Tech NGO. It would also enable some solutions for Challenge 2 by encouraging donations through accountability and transparency by design.
See more information in the CrowdShape documentation.