Tony Roberts

Tony Roberts

Digital Cluster Research Fellow

Dr. Tony Roberts is a Research Fellow in the Digital and Technology cluster at the Institute of Development Studies. He has been working at the intersection of digital technologies, international development and social justice since 1988 as a volunteer, lecturer, practitioner, trustee and researcher.

After lecturing in New Technology and Education at the University of East London, Tony founded and directed two international development agencies. He led Coda International and then Computer Aid International for a decade each. Tony then consolidated almost 25 years of field experience and learning about digital development in doctoral research with women using participatory video in Zambia.

He joined IDS after a period as a Research Fellow in the Gender Technology Lab of the United Nations University, Computing and Society research institute in Macau (UNU-CS). His research has been published in the form of peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, conference papers and book reviews.

For a full list of Tony’s publications and blogs please see his website Appropriating Technology.

Google Scholar



Digital Authoritarianism

The project will contribute to arresting democratic regression by identifying, documenting and analysing existing and newly emerging elements of digital authoritarianism and the practices of digital citizenship that work best to mitigate or overcome them.


The African Sousveillance Project

The Sousveillance Project will document the supply chain of digital technologies from the global North used for illegal surveillance in Africa and produce evidence to hold accountable the companies that benefit from violating citizens’ rights.



State surveillance of citizens reaches far beyond Pegasus

The Pegasus spyware story is just the tip of the iceberg. Beyond the software developed by the Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group, there is a multi-million-pound global market in which companies compete to profit from helping states to illegally spy on their own citizens. Rightly there has...

23 July 2021



Digital Citizenship in Africa: Technologies of Agency and Repression

Since the so-called Arab Spring, citizens of African countries have continued to use digital tools in creative ways to ensure that marginalised voices are heard, and to demand for the rights they are entitled to in law: to freely associate, to form opinions, and to express them online without...

27 July 2023

Tony Roberts’s recent work

Past Event

Participation research week

Digital technologies in participatory research

The migration to digital participatory research methods has been dramatically accelerated by the pandemic as research methods have migrated online. The global pandemic has forced many of us to take seriously both the potentials and pitfalls of mobile, online, and digital tools in participatory...

22 September 2021