Researching the ethical considerations that should be considered when conducting open source investigations for advocacy or legal accountability
Advances in digital communications technology – particularly social media and the spread of smartphones – have revolutionized the practice of human rights. Victims of, and witnesses to, human rights abuses can now document their experiences, and share them directly with the world. This publicly available information is referred to as ‘open source’ information. This information can then contribute to broader human rights documentation and accountability mechanisms. The recent International Criminal Court arrest warrant issued against Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al-Werfalli was based on open source digital information.
Open source investigations and human rights
Open source investigations are becoming central to effective human rights investigations. However, the use of this information raises a number of concerns, particularly with respect to ethics. At HRBDT, we are researching these ethical considerations. We also run a digital verification unit, based at the University of Essex Human Rights Centre Clinic. The unit’s work in collaboration with Amnesty International’s Digital Verification Corps has been shortlisted for a Times Higher Education International Collaboration award.
The project, with the support of the Engine Room, is researching the ethical considerations that should be taken into account when conducting open source investigations for advocacy or legal accountability. This will culminate in a white paper to be published in late 2019. We have also been considering the human rights impact of the current misinformation and disinformation ecosphere. Members of the HRBDT project are also working on a textbook – Digital Witness: Using Open Source Information for Human Rights Investigation, Documentation, and Accountability – to be published by OUP at the end of 2019.
Four ways your Google searches and social media affect your opportunities in lifeRead more
By Lorna McGregor, Daragh Murray and Vivian Ng Originally published in The Conversation on 21 May 2018. Whether or not you realise…
Human Rights Practice in the Digital Age WorkshopRead more
On 27 March 2017, the Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project co-hosted a one-day workshop with the Centre of…
Using Technology to Facilitate Human Rights WorkRead more
Editor’s note: This post forms part of a larger series addressing key issues related to human rights, technology & big data. New…
- Listen to @EAbrusci on @BBCEssex talking about misinformation, disinformation, fake news and human rights. The fu… https://twitter.com/i/web/status/1202917399093231621
- Thank you to everyone who attending our first public event in Colchester - Your Data. Why Should You Care? Thought… https://twitter.com/i/web/status/1201951235013795841
- Clicking Those ‘I agree’ Buttons – The Challenges and Implications of Giving Consent Online. Thought provoking pres… https://twitter.com/i/web/status/1201942930652483584
- Next up Amy Dickens will be discussing the involvement of technology companies in the NHS. Is this making us healt… https://twitter.com/i/web/status/1201935380645154816
- The General Election has bought a new focus on “fake news” but its impact goes far beyond democracy, threatening ma… https://twitter.com/i/web/status/1201933115553284096
- Today at 1630 listen to @EAbrusci on the @DaveMonkShow @BBCEssex talking about #fakenews, the history of dis/misin… https://twitter.com/i/web/status/1201897631645089793