We were delighted to contribute to Amnesty International’s free-to-anyone two-part online course on the basics of open source investigations for human rights, available in English, Spanish, Arabic, and Farsi.
Using SnapMap in open source human rights investigations
Using Tweetdeck in open source human rights investigations
Led by Co-I Koenig’s Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley in collaboration with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the protocol articulates standards and guidelines for the identification, collection, preservation, verification, and analysis of digital open source information with an aim toward improving its effective use in international criminal and human rights investigations.
Edited by team members Dubberley, Koenig and Murray, Digital Witness is the first book of its kind to teach the methods and best-practice of open source research for human rights investigation, documentation, and accountability.
What is (digital) open source information?
Open source information is, in essence, any information in the public domain. Digital open source information is defined by the Berkeley Protocol on Digital Open Source Investigations as information on the internet that any member of the public can obtain by request, purchase, or observation.
What types of open source information are out there?
In our research (Murray, McDermott and Koenig, forthcoming 2021), we created a typology of open source information based on two key variables. The first variable asks, is the piece of information a primary source (i.e. an immediate, first-hand account from an individual who had direct experience of the event in question) or a secondary source? Secondly, is the information an individual piece of data, or an account based on an aggregation of data? While there is porosity between the categories, this distinction can be conceptually helpful.
What is the distinction between ‘open source information’ and ‘open source evidence’?
We tend to distinguish between these terms, with ‘evidence’ solely referring to materials submitted as part of a criminal process. ‘Information’ covers all other materials.
Citizen Evidence Lab is an online space to share best practices, emerging techniques, and tools for conducting investigations, combating mis- and dis-information, and contributing to a better-informed public.
The Human Rights Resilience Project seeks to promote resilience and improve mental health and well-being among human rights advocates. Its website contains many useful resources, tools, and links to recent research.
The Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley have compiled a list of useful resources on resiliency and secondary trauma.
First Draft News, Journalism and Vicarious Trauma: A Guide for Journalists, Editors, and News Organisations (while prepared with journalists in mind, many of the same issues of vicarious trauma arise with human rights research).
For tools we have developed as part of OSR4Rights, see the Technical Tools page.
Useful tools for analysis include:
- Amnesty International Citizen Evidence Lab tool: Extract YouTube video metadata.
- InVID: Verification plugin helping journalists, fact-checkers and human rights defenders to debunk disinformation.
- Keep: Video preservation tool developed by RightsLab and Meedan.
- FotoForensics: tools and training for image analysis.
- WayBack Machine: archived web content.
- SunCalc: shows sun movement and sunlight phases on any date or location.
- IBA Eyewitness App: for collecting verifiable photos and videos in the field.
- TinEye: Reverse image search tool.