WebRoots Democracy’s research concentrated on the intersection of technology, democracy, and human rights. Our reports involved a mixture of research methods including polling; expert roundtables; focus groups; workshops; freedom of information requests; and desk-based analysis. They also contain policy recommendations for government, industry, and society more widely.
This project explored the potential consequences of live facial recognition surveillance for minoritised communities. In particular, the project focused on the potential consequences for people of colour and Muslims in the UK. The research involved undertaking expert roundtables, interviews, workshops, and desk-based analysis. We found that the police’s use of facial recognition surveillance is likely to exacerbate racist outcomes in society. The report also revealed that London’s Metropolitan Police failed to carry out an Equality Impact Assessment before trialling the technology at events such as the Notting Hill Carnival.
The Cratos Principles is the final report of WebRoots Democracy’s ‘Cratos Project’ which took place between 2018 and 2020. Through a series of events, roundtables, and expert interviews, the project set out to design a framework to assess the suitability of remote online voting systems for use in elections. The result of the project was the Cratos Principles, a set of 33 key principles which cover key aspects of accessibility, security, and user experience. In addition, the report includes a review of existing literature, detailed discussion on the challenges and opportunities, and a ratings system weighting the principles by importance.
Kinder, Gentler Politics is a report exploring the rise of online abuse in political debate, setting out a number of recommendations for how the state and social media platforms can act to combat the issue. The report builds upon a range of existing research and includes analysis of more than 53,000 tweets directed at political influencers in the UK as well as various popular UK political Facebook groups. The research particularly focuses on the impact that online abuse has on the expression of political opinions online.