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Getting to the truth: Using open source data to defend human rights

From videos of rights violations, to satellite images of environmental degradation, to eyewitness accounts disseminated on social media, human rights practitioners have access to more data today than ever before. Modern technology—and the enhanced access it provides to information about abuse—has the potential to revolutionise both human rights reporting, and documentation, as well as the pursuit of legal accountability.

However, these new methods for information gathering and dissemination, have also created significant challenges for investigators as the capture and dissemination of content is often haphazard. The rise of deep fakes and synthetic media further complicate the picture. For open source data to be of use to investigators it must be discovered, verified, and authenticated. This seminar will discuss the history, ethics, methods and best-practice associated with open source research, and will discuss how it can be incorporated into documentation and investigation processes. It will also explore what more can be done to ensure public policy, in the UK and internationally, supports access to the new sources of information and protects those who use it.

This seminar is organised by the Foreign Policy Centre and the Human Rights, Big Data and Technology project at the University of Essex Human Rights Centre.

Watch the on our Youtube below:

When February 25, 2020 6pm-7:30pm

Committee Room 11, Houses of Parliament, London, SW1A 0AA


Chris Bryant MP

Dr Alexa Koenig, Executive Director of the Human Rights Centre at the University of California Berkeley

Sam Dubberley, Special Advisor to the Evidence Lab at Amnesty International

Dr Daragh Murray, Senior Lecturer at the School of Law at the University of Essex

Chair: Anne Koch, Program Director at the Global Investigative Journalism Network

Listen to an audio recording of the event here.

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