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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Center for Democracy and Technology

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Censorship, Freedom of Speech & Press, Civil Rights, Crime & Law, International, International Development, Public Interest Law

Mission: CDT works to promote democratic values and constitutional liberties in the digital age. With expertise in law, technology, and policy, CDT seeks practical solutions to enhance free expression and privacy on the Internet and in the other new communications technologies. Combining the functions of think tank, convener and advocate, CDT is dedicated to building consensus among all parties interested in the future of the Internet and other new communications media.

Target demographics: every internet user

Geographic areas served: Techology policy

Programs: Privacy & data:the role of technology in our daily lives is changing rapidly, as is its impact on individuals, communities, and public policy. Cdt works to protect individuals by developing privacy standards and safeguards for digital information and data. We identify policy and technical solutions for emerging issues, and are a champion for the voice of the individual in unregulated spaces, by crafting and implementing innovative policy and technical solutions.

security & surveillance:new technologies have given governments unprecedented means to access personal information. In order to ensure all people can seek information and express themselves freely, there must be reasonable checks and balances on governments' ability to access, collect, and store individuals' data. Cdt advances thoughtful solutions for government surveillance, cyber security, and other issues concerning civil liberties and new technologies.

free expression and global human rights:cdt works to extend the highest level of free speech protections to the internet and to keep new technologies free of government censorship and content gatekeepers. Our team advances policies and technologies that increase a free and open internet on both a domestic and global stage.

Community Stories

63 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Advisor

Rating: 5

CDT offers strong and thoughtful non-partisan advocacy for civil rights in the technological age. This is a vital stream of thought in today's world.

Board Member

Rating: 5

CDT plays a pivotal role in protecting First Amendment rights.

Advisor

Rating: 5

CDT is a rare nonprofit focused on how to ensure that technology is regulated to ensure the public interest. It does incredibly important work, focusing on issues from privacy to surveillance to algorithmic bias.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've been following CDT's work for more than a decade now. They play a critical role in the internet policy ecosystem as a thoughtful, principled, pragmatic voice on challenging topics, including privacy, content regulation, competition, and election security.

Advisor

Rating: 5

In my previous role as the Chief Privacy Officer of a FINTECH company I worked regularly with the staff and leadership of CDT. The privacy thought leadership at CDT is the best in the industry. The advice was priceless and TechProm continues to exceed expectations each and every year.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CDT has long been at the forefront of issues surrounding the tech industry. The art of nuance is typically quickly forgotten in this industry. So, I have always appreciated the authentic expertise CDT has brought to each and every policy discussion. Further, it has long sought to seek out and elevate those issues not yet being discussed.

Jeff J.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CDT provides outstanding thought leadership on key technology policy issues. The organization is efficiently managed, demonstrating consistent value and cost controls.

Donor

Rating: 5

CDT is a principled and thoughtful voice, grounded in the values of free speech and open inquiry.

Advisor

Rating: 5

Intelligent and effective advocacy for a free and open Internet, and for consumer privacy. The Internet is key to our business and personal lives, so CDT's advocacy to keep the Internet open, innovative, and free, is increasingly critical to civil society.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The kind of think tank we need at a time of ideological polarisation and misinformation. Committed to the public interest and rigorous analysis of the issues at hand.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I can always rely on CDT's content for accurate analysis of key tech policy issues.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned with CDT this summer and loved my experience! All of the employees are deeply passionate about their work and take their roles as advocates and thought leaders very seriously. Everyone I spoke to at other tech policy organizations in DC commended CDT for taking reasonable stances on tech issues and always backing up arguments with research and logic.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Center for Democracy & Technology is one of the very best consumer/citizen advocacy organizations that works to preserve our digital freedoms, from privacy and data protection to fighting for an open Internet. Nuala O'Connor's recent testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee is an excellent example of the values they are working so hard to uphold. If you care about secure elections, net neutrality and freedom from government surveillance, they are worth your attention and support.

Advisor

Rating: 5

CDT provides thought leadership on issue areas that underpin our democracy. Their role is more important today than it ever was.

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Donor

Rating: 5

CDT is an organization that is near and dear to my heart. Given the growing importance of the internet, both in our daily lives and in the management of free and fair elections, we need to ensure that government policy with respect to the internet is fair and evenhanded; CDT has taken a leading role in advocating for such reasoned policies, and in providing policymakers with the information they require to defend our rights effectively.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Doing great, important work that's needed now more than ever!

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I was at Microsoft, as Microsoft was entering the anti-virus and anti-spyware space, there were no consensus definitions across industry describing software behaviors or the inherent harms of specific behaviors. Each vendor in the space described things slightly differently which, as an unintended side effect, made is very easy for the darkest of grey vendors to argue that their software was "fine" and should not be removed even when many individuals would argue they should be removed. Partnering with CDT to bring together all of the major players in the space demonstrated to me the high degree of knowledge, skill, and diplomacy they are able to bring to bear to solve a thorny problem like this. The Anti-Spyware Coalition was formed and I participated along with my counterparts and Symantec, McAfee, and numerous other AV providers to reach consensus on behaviors and harms. ASC was, in my opinion, wildly successful-- largely because of CDT's leadership and domain excellence around privacy and security. I have nothing but the highest regard for them, their leadership, and their staff.

Donor

Rating: 5

We have supported CDT at with a grant and very much appreciate all their work to sit at the important juncture of technology and public policy. The work that Nuala and Joe Hall does to improve how we run (and secure) elections is incredibly important, and we have been proud to be a small part of their work.

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is an amazing outfit that collects and analyzes important information on the ways technology is affecting the democratic process (e.g. the security of voting machines) and then works to act on that knowledge and to advocate in meaningful ways. I have been very impressed by the professionalism, efficiency, and smarts of this organization!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The summer before my final undergraduate year, I interned here with the Communications team. Both because of the high quality of work and the learning opportunities afforded to me, I am so happy to have had this experience. I continue to follow CDT's work closely and look forward to what they will accomplish in the coming years.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I worked for a non-profit with a similar mission and consistently admired CDT's work. It was effective and practical, and consistently of high quality.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have been a Fellow with the Center for Democracy and Technology since 2016. In my capacity as a university professor, I have an enormous amount of appreciation for CDT's expertise-based advocacy on technology policy issues. I have also found their work in communicating about these issues to policymakers and the general public to be of tremendous use in teaching university students about the fundamental importance of technology policy issues like privacy and security.

In my view, there is no other organization that outpaces CDT in this space. Given the continued need for expertise about issues at the intersection of democracy and technology, CDT will remain indispensable to the continued health of democracy in the United States and beyond.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I'm a graduate student researching American response to privacy and have found CDT consistently at the forefront of dialogue. I believe as connectivity becomes even more embedded on a granular level, societies will rely even more on the critical educational, awareness and advocacy resources like those CDT is already providing.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My partner works for CDT, and I've been floored to learn about tech policy through his experience. I knew nothing about the policy side of the internet prior to our nightly convos over dinner, and needless to say I'm grateful places like CDT are paying attention.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A superb, consequential organization , a thought leader with a conscience, dedicated to crafting practical solutions to some of the great issues of our time while remaining true to first principles of human dignity and individual worth.

Bhrigu K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a great initiative and warranted in today's day and age. I fully support the cause and request you to do the same.

Advisor

Rating: 5

CDT is a key driver of DC's policy discussion around technology and its impact on our society. In city full of hyperbole and rhetoric, CDT is consistently thoughtful, pragmatic and fact-driven. For this reason, CDT respected and trusted across the political spectrum. difference in issues that affect each and every one of us. I greatly appreciate CDT's work to ensure that the Internet remains a tool of freedom, access, and empowerment.

Advisor

Rating: 5

CDT is out in front of the big issues we face relative to maintainting a free Internet, protecting users' rights, and addressing challenges to our democracy. As an advocate myself, I turn to CDT to be most educated about these topics and appreciate the work they do to protect citizens.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

For as long as I have been in Washington, CDT has brought expertise and creative thinking to solving the digital issues impacting our world. I am confident going into meetings that their analysis will be thoroughly researched and firmly grounded, and that they will bring well-reasoned solutions to the table. They are an important and reasonable voice in today's increasingly strident public policy debates -- We need more such groups willing to roll up their sleeves and do this critical work!

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Having collaborated with CDT for almost a decade, I continue to be impressed by the team and their work. Great legal minds + technical competence + political savvy = great results.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

CDT Is a True champion for Digital rights in the tech and non profit world; the work they do fosters real growth within our ever-changing technological society. They have-and will continue to be on the forefront of complex issues protecting our democracy.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CDT is a true thought leader on tech policy, a defender of digital rights, and a savvy influencer in DC. I attended a recent event of theirs -- excellent, diverse speakers with forward-looking ideas. I'd also call them "the sensible nonprofit" in the tech space: A fierce advocate for privacy and free speech, without being shrill and undermining their credibility with policymakers.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Having worked for CDT, and having worked for years with many of my former colleagues there at other non-profits, I can say from experience that it has some of the most dedicated, hard-working and brilliant civil libertarians in both the worlds of technology and non-profits. As a convener of disparate viewpoints, CDT fills a crucial role among civil liberties advocates, and is able to foster dialogue among groups and individuals who would not otherwise be willing to talk to one another, let alone think productively about answers to the hardest questions in privacy, free expression, national security, internet governance and regulation, and so many other issues. The work CDT has been doing to facilitate these difficult conversations--such as looking at the freedom to tinker and its tension with computer crime laws, or the promise and peril of identifying ethical redlines in security research--will deliver real answers that can be translated into concrete policy. It's crucially important work, and I applaud all my former colleagues and friends for doing it with such enthusiasm, good cheer and conviction. And, it bears noting, CDT's work is so much more important given the current political landscape.

Client Served

Rating: 5

G.c.w.c.n.v.
Saving my life and my family
Without the embarrassment or shame of my struggles

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CDT has great respect in the tech community for its balanced and practical approach to policy issues in Internet governance, privacy and surveillance, and tech policy generally. Its positions are thoughtful and balanced.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

An outstanding organization. Works with any and all sides of the political spectrum Respected for their intellectual prowess and their ability to bring complex issues to the table in a way that resonates with those with no knowledge to those who are experts. A pleasure to work with.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

It's hard to imagine a conversation regarding tech policy that doesn't include CDT. They simply are that central. The team is diverse and filled with decades of experience in both civil liberties and the implications of technology. They seems to find unique and important issues that they seize the leadership of and that leads to far better informed policymakers and corporate decision makers.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

CDT is a highly professional operation. Have enormous respect for the intellectual heft of so many people who work there. Many of their key staff are former exemplary ACLU leaders, a fact that only adds to their credibility. They have a real impact on the policies developed by the federal government, and not many groups can say that.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've worked closely with members of CDT over the last five years on Electronic Communications Privacy Reform. This is a great team. They are dedicated to their work, and always upfront on their positions.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This organization sits at the heart of the debate around the Internet, government, business and individuals. It is respected by the major players and yet remains independent of them. It is an organization that is filled with smart, thoughtful, policy-based pragmatists. They are making a difference in issues that affect each and every one of us.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Well-regarded organization in the tech policy arena. A constructive voice in our coalition, with a pragmatic approach, and inclusive dialogue. A great thought leader for two decades!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CDT steadfastly holds on to its principles while being a rational actor that is willing to listen to others and consider different points of view. CDT's smart, fair approach to advocacy made them a joy to work with, and I will continue to support their cause without hesitation.

Donor

Rating: 5

One of my favorite "go to" organizations for the straight information about privacy and security. There website is an awesome resource.

Former staff

Rating: 5

CDT does important, impactful work on critical technology policy issues. As an alum I can say it was a wonderful place to work.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Does great work regarding internet and tech policy, allowing us to freely express ourselves (like here) on the internet.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Although often confronting companies and legislators that prefer a simplistic view of technology policy, CDT continues to provide nuanced, thoughtful evaluations of the potential values and harms that new technologies provide. How we deal with these issues will have significant impacts in the years to come, and it is comforting to know that the technologists and policy experts at CDT are asking the kind of questions that, as a society, we need to answer to successfully move forward in the 21st century.

Donor

Rating: 5

The information revolution is a 'real' revolution, akin to the agricultural and industrial revolutions in its sweeping impacts on culture, civilization, economics, politics, and values. Among those guiding developments in this field, CDT is unparalleled in its thoughtfulness, balance, creativity, and pragmatism. The Internet offers an unprecedented set of global opportunities to advance the human prospect, but it often threatens instead to evolve into a marriage of ultra-intrusive, manipulative government control with pervasive 24/7/365 private marketing. The worst things happen when we are not looking. Most of us are too busy with our lives to be vigilant on all fronts. CDT is the group I trust to stay vigilant on my behalf, and to immediately alert me whenever I need to get involved.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I work with a number of nonprofits and have always been very impressed by the work that that CDT does. Their impact for our digital rights is fantastic, I always am excited to see what they do next!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As someone interested in a public dialogue to encourage growth in technology while also using it responsibly, I appreciate the bipartisan approach that CDT brings to the table. I feel like I can learn without any "spin" and use that knowledge to formulate my own understanding and opinions. Having a safe and informed space to gain knowledge on issues you care about is so important, and CDT offers that. They also cover a wide range of topics to allow a more comprehensive snapshot of the challenges in tech policy today.

Andy32

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The CDT addresses a breadth of issues impacting the online/digital space - from consumer privacy to security/surveillance. The news and insights uncovered by this great firm keep important digital issues at the forefront of the public conversation and are critical to keeping the Internet free and innovative.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Center for Democracy and Technology is one of those organizations that you don't hear much about but is doing very important work that helps tons of people. Organizations like this one help all of us. Keep up the good work!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love the hard work and passion that CDT puts into making changes in the field of tech policy. I am new to the field, but I am looking forward to see what they've got in store for the future! I have high expectations!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CDT provides a tremendous service to industry and consumers alike. Its policy positions are thoughtful, and the experts it attracts are articulate, passionate, and dedicated to advancing the conversation while playing a watchdog role.

As a policy professional, I need to know that the advice I seek out is nuanced and well-researched. I'm confident that CDT provides that kind of expertise and more.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As someone that cares about the ability of the Internet to promote free expression online, I find CDT to be the go-to source for information about the policy issues I need to follow. They have thoughtful experts and clearly care about Internet users globally. Keep up the fight!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

CDT is working hard to address a number of issues relating to Internet Policy for tech experts and policy experts, but they're also looking beyond those audiences and working to make the issues more accessible for lay audiences. Considering the importance of issues like privacy, security, digital copyright and freedom of expression to everyday people around the world, their efforts to elevate conversation about these issues are laudable.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

i work in the information technology field, and have been impressed with some of the work CDT is doing. They seem to have their finger on the pulse of what is important and relative.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CDT has been very insightful for me and my colleagues working in the Tech and Startup sector. My colleagues and I have attended their San Francisco and DC events and enjoy the atmosphere and networking that provides. I'm excited to see their work continue to educate our industry and affect policy.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

CDT encourages thoughtful dialogue on a number of issues in the area of Internet Policy. As we all live lives that continue to become more interconnected through technology, I am excited to follow their work on the many challenges that face us in this exciting field of study.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I'm new to the tech policy space however I love some of the work that CDT is doing. I am super excited to see what they have in store for the future!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CDT is one of the few organization's in the tech policy space that truly encourages bipartisan dialogue to find workable solutions to our most pressing tech challenges. Their staff are thoughtful, pragmatic, and proactive. I've loved seeing the organization engage the public even more under their new leadership. This is the organization that is truly helping ensure that there are smart tech policies in place that create the digital future we want to live in.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been following their work for a while now and it seems like it's just gotten better and better. They have always written good stuff (I remember the spyware work years ago) but lately when I read their work, it literally stops me by how thoughtful and interesting their blogs are - plus, they are one of the few groups that i feel presents both sides of an issue in a balanced way. I check in with them on issues that I don't quite understand (for example on net neutrality) to get a good perspective on what's going on and so far they haven't failed to provide quality. The staff seem to be some of the smartest, most passionate people that work in tech policy and I am continually impressed by their advocacy.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CDT produces information that is thoughtful, relevant and helpful when formulating technology policy. The events and publications are incredibly useful in my work, and its staff is simply outstanding.