Human Rights Video and the Open Internet – September 2014 Tech News Digest

This post is the beginning of a monthly series on technology and human rights in the news, written by our technology advocacy team. This month, we look at net neutrality and the work of the Global Net Neutrality Coalition.

Lessons from RightsCon: Human Rights and Technology

Leading human rights experts, investors, corporate leaders, engineers, activists, and government representatives came together to tackle some of the toughest human rights challenges in tech today.

After Abuses, Liberians Demand Action from U.S. Government

A new video and report by the Accountability Counsel were recently submitted as part of a formal complaint filed by hundreds of Liberians demanding accountability for a U.S. federal agency’s funding of a biomass project that caused serious human rights, labor and environmental abuses, including sexual abuse by company employees of local women.

WITNESS Endorses International Principles on Human Rights & Surveillance

We join 150+ organizations from 40+ countries supporting these 13 principles that explain how international human rights law applies to the current digital environment.

Watching, Documenting, or Participating: A Documentarian’s Ethical Dilemmas

When is it okay to watch? When is it okay to shout with the crowd? Filmmaker Chris Kelly explains his bright line between observing and participating. Do you agree? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Ethical Storysharing: My Words, Not My Story

If your story isn’t yours, what is? Ethical storysharing advocate Aspen Baker tells how her personal abortion story was used to fit someone else’s narrative. What are our obligations as advocates, as filmmakers, as editors — as storysharers?

16 Days Series: Revealing Rape – How to Illustrate a Crime

Women describe their rapes from behind black face scarves in videos on our site that documents sexualized violence in Syria. We have no photos of women whose faces aren’t covered. We have few photos of survivors of rape even with their faces covered. Sometimes these women hide themselves for religious reasons or for safety—for fear of retribution for speaking out—but oftentimes they cover themselves out of mortification. Rape has taken their cultural purity.

You Are Being Watched: What Faceprints Mean for Generation Y

On July 18, YouTube launched a new tool that would enable users to blur the faces in the videos they uploaded, thereby protecting the identities of people featured in them. The platform explicitly identified the human rights threat as a primary motivator for this online technological development.

The (Virtual) Bystander Effect: Witnessing Human Rights Abuse Online

When a video goes viral, millions of people become witnesses. Whether it is a clumsy kitten, an adorable child, or a gruesome protest, we as viewers are transported to that moment. We see everything. We hear everything. But we change nothing.

Tactical and Technological Defences For Facial Recognition Technology

In my last post I looked at how facial recognition technology (FRT) works, how it’s now in our phones, social networks and media management, and how legislators and regulators are reacting to this. But it’s also increasingly used by law enforcement and for surveillance of “public” spaces.

The Face of a Revolution: Debating Privacy in the Digital Age

You probably know a 26-year-old woman. Is she your sister? Friend, or daughter? Perhaps she’s fiery and stubborn. Perhaps she takes singing lessons. Perhaps she’s engaged to be married.

WITNESS, Technology and #Video4Change at #SXSW

WITNESS is at #SXSWInteractive, one of the world’s largest conferences focused on interactive technologies and online innovation.

U.S. Needs Strong Privacy Protections for Digital Communications

One of the most cherished rights in the United States is the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable government searches, which has long protected the privacy of Americans’ homes and communications. But as technology has rapidly advanced, this right—long a crown jewel of U.S. civil liberties—has not been fully applied to protect digital communications.


Gregory Aziz