We are pleased to introduce the Influence Industry Expert Interview Series.
Inspired by the excellent work of professionals within our international networks, these interviews are a way to amplify the work and voices of the community examining the global and local practices of influencing elections.
Throughout this series, we invite you to join us as we hear from international researchers, professionals and organisers, who have worked on uncovering the broad network of practices and companies working on political influence.
Listen in as former Data and Politics project co-lead Varoon Bashyakarla speaks with various experts, we’ll update this page as we launch new episodes as well as our PeerTube, Vimeo and YouTube channel.
Varoon Bashyakarla is a data scientist and statistician who worked with Tactical Tech for several years as part of the Influence Industry project. His past statistical undertakings led him to a variety of domains: public health, public safety, sports, finance, art, and cybersecurity. He started his career working as a data scientist in Silicon Valley. Today, he splits his time between public-interest technology groups and private sector companies. He aims to help bridge these two spheres and to build privacy and security-preserving technologies that respect democratic ideals.
Find Varoon on Twitter: @vbashyakarla or contact him directly at vbashyakarla [at] proton [dot] me.
Cyber-security expert Bob Diachenko:
Bob Diachenko, one of the founders of Security Discovery describes his journey into data security, why companies minimize the large role that human error plays in data breaches and what politicians running a data-driven campaign should be promising their constituents.
Listen the audio and read the transcript: Interview with Bob Diachenko or on YouTube, PeerTube, or Vimeo.
Lawyer's Hub guests Linda Bonyo and Catherine Muya:
Linda Bonyo, the founder and CEO of Lawyer's Hub describes her experience working to bridge the divide between technologists and law practitioners and the digital divide in Kenya. Fellow lawyer, Catherine Muya, also discusses issues of digital identity.
Listen the audio and read the transcript: Interview with Linda Bonyo and Catherine Muya or YouTube, PeerTube, or Vimeo
Elections and civil society researcher Tetyana Bohdanova:
Tetyana Bohdanova describes the historical events leading up to the 2019 national elections in Ukraine and what she found in her in depth research on data-driven campaigning during the election. Please note the interview was recorded in June 2021.
Listen the audio and read the transcript: Interview with Tetyana Bohdanova or listen on YouTube, PeerTube, or Vimeo.
Data journalist and researcher Nino Macharashvili
Nino Macharashvili speaks about the the state of politics in the country of Georgia in 2021. From offline voting practices that have the potential to be translated online to the history of revolution and hope, this conversation explores Macharashvili’s research and thoughts for the future. Please note the interview was recorded in July 2021.
Listen to the audio and read the transcript: Interview with Nino Macharashvili or listen on YouTube, PeerTube, or Vimeo.
Digital Rights and Leglislation Activist Rafael Zanatta
Rafael Zanatta and Varoon Bashyakarla discuss how popular media often misrepresents techno-authoritarianism, the legal reaction to data breaches in Brazil and why data protection is for everyone.
Listen to the audio and read the transcript: Interview with Rafael Zanatta or listen on YouTube, PeerTube, or Vimeo.
Digital Rights Activist and Researcher Eliana Quiroz
Eliana speaks with former Data and Politics co-lead Varoon Bashyakarla about her journey into activism, the disinformation ecosystem in Bolivia, and how her organisation, Internet Bolivia.org is working to expand the digital rights conversation in Bolivia to include all citizens.
Listen to the audio and read the transcript: Interview with Eliana Quiroz or listen on YouTube, PeerTube, or Vimeo.
Investigative Journalist Kumar Sambhav
Kumar Sambhav and Varoon Bashyakarla discuss Sambhav’s latest investigative reportage about how Meta’s ad platform undercut political competition in Indian elections, the privacy implications of India’s national ID database, and why regulations need to be dynamic in order to protect citizens from the drawbacks of new technologies.
Listen to the audio and read the transcript: Interview with Kumar Sambhav or listen on PeerTube, Vimeo or YouTube.
Member of Parliament Hon. Neema Lugangira (Tanzania)
Hon. Neema Lugangira (MP, Tanzania) speaks with Varoon Bashyakarla to discuss the relationship between online discourse and gender equity in leadership, how the agricultural and nutrition sector are intertwined with technology, and how a girls coding camp in Tanzania convinced a UN office to be more inclusive. The conversation also covers the new African Parliamentary Network on Internet Governance (APNIG) of which Neema is the founding chair.
Hear the complete interview and read the transcript: Interview with Hon. Neema Lugangira. The interview is also avaiable on PeerTube, Vimeo or YouTube.