Benetech Collaborates with Amnesty International and the Engine Room to Advance Human Rights Documentation Using Emerging Technology

By Benetech, posted on

Benetech, a Silicon Valley nonprofit company that provides technology to address pressing social needs, is excited to announce its participation in a human rights project in collaboration with Amnesty International and the engine room’s Responsible Data Program. The project will evaluate how emerging technologies and data flows are affecting the documentation of human rights. The team is particularly interested in understanding how to integrate new datasets and data flows, such as satellite and geospatial information, social media, crowd-sourced data, and mobile phone video imagery into existing documentation practices.

“The very developments in the broader data economy that pose threats to privacy pose opportunities for those seeking to shine a light on human rights struggles across the globe, and human rights investigators face a clear imperative to make responsible use of new data streams,“ says Scott Edwards, Managing Director of Crisis Prevention and Response at Amnesty International USA.

Another objective of this project is to build a strong community among human rights documentation groups, including both generalists and those working specifically with new data types and streams, to ensure that the project outcomes are relevant and actionable. “Fragmented and piecemeal efforts to leverage new research methods and analytic techniques threaten to allow some abuses to remain in the shadows,” remarks Edwards. “Through a community-wide approach to the key analytic and ethical challenges facing the field, we can strengthen the practice of bearing witness and endeavor to secure justice for those whose plights remain hidden from view — and hidden in data.”

The project team is eager to collaborate with like-minded organizations and share information with the broader community. They plan to share a research diary containing the latest developments and set up public conversations. The first of these calls will be on March 2 at 6:00 pm CET. Anyone with an interest in the project is welcome to join the call on Uber Conference. Contact [email protected] or follow @engnroom for more information on the call. The team will also be collaborating with key stakeholders at relevant events such as next month’s RightsCon, one of the world’s leading events on the internet and human rights, in Silicon Valley.

Benetech’s Human Rights Program empowers activists around the world to pursue truth and justice through capacity building and technology. We have partnered with human rights organizations in over fifty countries, training practitioners to securely capture and analyze sensitive data to protect at-risk communities. We strive to advance the global human rights movement by providing and supporting effective, secure, and open information management and data collection technology for rights defenders, fieldworkers, researchers, and journalists.

We look forward to collaborating with our partners to build a strong human rights community and advance this deep and meaningful work.

For more information:

Amnesty International:  Digital evidence: Using new data streams in human rights research

The engine room: Announcing new projects on human rights documentation