The do no digital harm initiative

The world's first on-call, deployable team mandated to address the ethical, security, and design challenges faced by humanitarian actors in the Digital Age

The do no digital harm initiative

The world's first on-call, deployable team mandated to address the ethical, security, and design challenges faced by humanitarian actors in the Digital Age

A world-wide mission across multiple fronts

The Do No Digital Harm initiative envisions a world where the most vulnerable and marginalized populations can realize the benefits of digital inclusion, without unnecessary risk.

We’re making this happen by supporting highly vulnerable civil society groups, crisis-affected populations—and the humanitarian practitioners who serve them—to reduce harm resulting from information activities and digital services deployed in natural disaster and protracted conflict environments.

We expect that our work—at the intersection of digital and human security—will become a standard part of any response environment, helping to catalyze more effective, appropriate, and accountable humanitarian action through innovative practices that are ethically-principled, locally-driven, and globally-integrated.

What we do

1. Support

operational NGOs, civil society groups, UN agencies, the private sector, and volunteer technical communities who are leveraging Information Communication Technologies and digital services in their work

2. Convene

inter-disciplinary experts, practitioners, and stakeholders around emerging topics at the intersection of digital and human security

3. advance

international policy, technical standards, and operational guidelines by generating and sharing evidence and best practices

How we do it


Remote-based and on-site assessments of ICT-centric programs, platforms, and initiatives


Development of guidance and tools to respond to identified gaps in practice


Facilitation of collaborative workshops and trainings to build the capacity of practitioners on the ground


Disseminating knowledge and evidence on what works, what doesn’t, and why for the benefit of the sector at large

Areas of focus

Open-source investigation techniques for human rights documentation

Open-source investigation techniques for human rights documentation


Refugee digital identification systems


Mobile connectivity initiatives in formal and informal camp settlements


Digital cash-based transfers to affected populations


Employing remote sensing tools for augmenting conflict early warning capacities


Leveraging mobile data solutions for tracking the conditions and routes of transit of affected populations on the move

aid kit

Exploiting meta data from call detail records to predict the spread of infectious diseases


Harvesting social media for sentiment analysis and rumor tracking in fragile contexts

Beautiful iconography produced by Mangsaabguru from Noun Project

A few current partners

Media Inquiry

General Inquiry

Joseph Guay

Director of Research

Visiting Researcher, UC Berkeley's Human Rights Center

Joe's work looks at the growing use of cyber capabilities against civilian populations as a means and method of warfare, and the implications this has for humanitarian protection in the digital age. He has supported the development of ICT solutions for mass atrocity prevention work in South Sudan, the Ebola pandemic and Nepal earthquake responses, and on mixed-migration and human trafficking in the Horn of Africa. He currently advises a mobile conflict monitoring pilot program in Myanmar. Joe has developed innovation strategies and programs for the Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF), the Global Alliance for Humanitarian Innovation (GAHI), World Vision’s Nepal Innovation Lab (NLab), the Global Protection Cluster at UNHCR, swissnex SF’s “Crisis Code” event series, and the Response Innovation Lab (RIL).

Celina Agaton

Board of Directors

Founder and Managing Director for Map the Philippines

Celina Agaton creates programs, technology tools and events that enhance cross-sector civic and community engagement. She is the founder and managing director for Map the Philippines (MapPH ), a real-time, cross-sector open data mapping platform and resilience model that combines citizen reporting on public and private sector needs with risk data within the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Her work has been featured in the first and second White House Mapathons. She leads programs for the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. She is a board member of the Telus Community Foundation and co-organizes Netsquared Manila and Jane’s Walk.

Dr. Kathryn Taetzsch

Board of Directors

Global Director Humanitarian Partnerships & Cash-Based Programming
World Vision International, Disaster Management Team

Kathryn has over 17 years of strategic and operational humanitarian response and academic research experience in fragile and natural disaster affected contexts in Africa, Asia, and Middle East, with the Institute for Peace Research & Security Studies, GIZ and World Vision.

Kathryn led the Hurricane Maria Emergency Response in Puerto Rico, South Sudan Refugee Response in Uganda, Lake Chad Basin Response in Niger and Chad, WVs humanitarian response operations in Northern Iraq, and WV’s regional Ebola Response in West Africa.

Nanjira Sambuli

Board of Directors

Digital Equality Advocacy Manager at the Web Foundation

Nanjira is a researcher, policy analyst and advocacy strategist interested in and working on understanding the unfolding impacts of ICT adoption and how those impact governance, innovation, entrepreneurship and societal culture, with a keen focus on gender implications.

She is currently the Digital Equality Advocacy Manager at the Web Foundation, where she leads advocacy efforts to promote digital equality in access to and use of the Web, with a particular focus on the Foundation's Women’s Rights Online work.

Nanjira is a member of DFID’s Digital Advisory Panel and served as a deputy on the United Nations High Level Panel for Women’s Economic Empowerment (2016-17).

Sanjana Hattotuwa

Board of Directors

Special Advisor to the ICT4Peace Foundation

As a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Policy Alternatives, he oversees the work of the Centre’s pioneering Civic Media Unit. Since 2006, Sanjana is a Special Advisor to the ICT4Peace Foundation based in Geneva, Switzerland. Through the Foundation, Sanjana works to further the use of ICTs in crisis information management and peacekeeping initiatives at the United Nations.

In 2011, Sanjana was the first Sri Lankan to be awarded a TED Fellowship, two years after he was awarded a News & Knowledge Entrepreneur Fellowship from the Ashoka Foundation. Both awards recognize pioneering efforts to leverage web-based citizen journalism and new media to bear witness to violence and strengthen democracy, human rights and a just peace.

Rakesh Bharania


President of Tarian Innovation

Rakesh Bharania is President of Tarian Innovation, a humanitarian innovation and advocacy organization focused on the ethical and secure use of technology to support vulnerable crisis-affected populations.

He has had more than 25 years of field experience on the ground during major global humanitarian emergencies, most recently as a leader with the Cisco Tactical Operations team, an innovative private-sector humanitarian initiative that has delivered secure connectivity to over a million aid workers and crisis-affected people around the world. He has architected and deployed networks and advanced data protection in support of numerous emergencies, including the Syrian Refugee Crisis, the Ebola Crisis in West Africa, Super Typhoon Haiyan, Hurricane Sandy, the Haiti earthquake and Hurricane Katrina.

Rakesh has served as the chairman of the Global VSAT Forum cybersecurity task force, and the co-chair of the NetHope Security and Privacy Working Group.

Christine Keung


Head of Business Operations at Fountain

Christine is a U.S. Department of State Fulbright Fellow who began her professional career as an analyst on Dropbox’s Trust & Security team, and eventually served as the Legal team’s Chief of Staff. She is currently the Head of Business Operations at Fountain. When she’s not speaking or publishing papers on her research in China, she speaks about her work in cybersecurity at conferences like the SANS Institute. Christine will pursue an MBA at Harvard this Fall, where she will develop her interest and expertise in business practices and policies that govern privacy and security.

Dave Warner, MD PhD


Medical Neuroscientist, Arch Synergist, Synergy Strike Force

Much of Dave's recent work has been in military/civilian operations supporting cross-domain information sharing and open communications capabilities in very difficult settings such as refugee camps, disaster areas, and post conflict stability operations. From 2006 to the present Dr Warner has been directing an ongoing operational experimentation effort in eastern Afghanistan focused on demonstrating that incentivized information sharing is vital to complex operations and that creating environments conducive to information sharing benefits U.S. military and U.S. government objectives while also helping coalition partners, international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the local community.

Current efforts include exploring the use of open internet, social media and crowdsourcing as a force multiplier in civilian support to ongoing stability operations.

George Chamales


Principle at Rogue Genius

George Chamales has over 15 years of computer security experience that includes securing financial, medical, and technology firms with Deloitte, leading R&D work to detect & deceive hackers for DARPA, and the end-to-end security assessment of nation-wide critical infrastructure systems.

His work in the humanitarian sector includes supporting situational awareness for the UN during the Libyan revolution and the development of data fusion and crowdsourcing capabilities for the US Navy. He provided remote technical leadership to teams in Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia, Haiti and Egypt and supported the analysis of homicide patterns in Colombia with the Human Rights Data Analysis Group.

Sean Martin McDonald


CEO of FrontlineSMS
Fellow at Stanford's Digital Civil Society Lab

Sean Martin McDonald builds governance systems for technology and technology systems for governance. He is the CEO of FrontlineSMS and a Fellow at Stanford’s Digital Civil Society Lab. FrontlineSMS is award-winning, open source software that helps governments, humanitarian responders, and businesses use text messaging in more than 200 countries.

Sean is on the Board of the Center for Internet & Society, a member of ICANN’s Rights Protection Mechanism Group. Sean is an advisor to Digital Democracy, the IEEE’s Ethics and AI Committee, ECPAT-USA, and TechChange. He’s the author of Ebola: A Big Data Disaster and co-author of Do No Harm: A taxonomy of harms and challenges in humanitarian innovation. He holds a JD/MA from American University, with specializations in international law and alternative dispute resolution.

Bill Marczak


Senior Research Fellow at Citizen Lab

Bill is a Senior Research Fellow at Citizen Lab, a co-founder of Bahrain Watch, and a Postdoctoral Researcher at UC Berkeley, where he received his PhD in Computer Science under the advisorship of Vern Paxson. HIs work focuses on novel technological threats to Internet freedom, including new censorship and surveillance tools. His expertise is in Internet scanning and conducting digital investigations. Coverage of his work has been featured in Vanity Fair, the New York Times, the Washington Post, on CNN, and on Larry King.

Philip Reiner


Executive Director at
Technology for Global Security

Philip’s mission in life is to make it so that less people have to suffer. He is a service-oriented consultant and advisor on international security, business, and technology as the Executive Director at Technology for Global Security; the Director for Advisory, North America at AETOS Strategy & Advisory; and an Affiliate at Stanford University’s CISAC. He previously served at the NSC at the White House, in OSD Policy in the Pentagon, and at Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems. He is a member of the Johns Hopkins SAIS mafia, and specialized in medieval Japanese esoteric religion at UC Santa Barbara.

Benjamin Bollmann


Head of Science at swissnex San Francisco

Benjamin Bollmann is Head of Science at swissnex San Francisco, where he develops initiatives to foster dialogue and collaboration around science, society, and wider issues facing us today. He launched the Crisis Code conference on humanitarian protection in cyberspace and Everyone a Humanitarian, an event series and physical space dedicated to the future of humanitarian response, with partners ranging from the ICRC and Wikimedia to Salesforce and Stanford. He has led interdisciplinary programs spanning from AI ethics to gene editing to tech diplomacy, and has spoken at conferences such as South By Southwest. Before joining swissnex in June 2015, he worked as a journalist and curator at the intersection of science, technology, and design in Switzerland. Benjamin obtained his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and his master’s in biomedical engineering from ETH Zurich. He also worked in neuroscience and machine learning research at MIT, focusing on brain mapping at nanoscale resolution.

Do no digital harm is administered by the friendly people at digitally responsible aid