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.

Tips for Activists Using the YouTube Face Blur Tool

Recently, YouTube launched a feature that allows blurring on videos uploaded to their site. It’s a step we’ve pushed for from the commercial video-sharing platforms and social networks – as a way to enable easy, faster, more accessible options for preserving and enabling visual anonymity in a networked, visual age.

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.

Video for Change Best Practices: Filming for Human Rights Documentation and Evidence

Before you pick up a camera, be prepared with the right equipment and plan so you can film safely and effectively.

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.

A Few Reasons Activsts Shouldn’t be Banned from the Internet

Last month on Human Rights Day (December 10th) I wrote an opinion piece for the HuffingtonPost about the increasingly important role technology companies and platforms are playing in the human rights landscape.

New Twitter Settings Activists Need To Be Aware Of

Recently, I logged into my Twitter.com account. Twitter users know, this is not a frequent occurrence because most of us use third-party applications like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or any of the mobile apps. But it is a necessity, especially as an activist, in order to help keep the information on your account safe and secure.

Threats Increase Against Monk Fighting Forced Evictions in Cambodia

Since 2009, our partner organization in Cambodia, LICADHO, has been using video to document forced evictions and land-grabbing. We met the Venerable Loun Sovath, a Buddhist monk, through our work with LICADHO. His tireless campaigning for those at risk of forced eviction in Cambodia, has repeatedly put him at risk.

The Ethical Engagements of Human Rights Social Media

The explosion of digital media on human rights pushes us all to rethink how documentary film ethics apply in a more networked, social media-driven era.

Hacking for Human Rights: Open Video Conference and Open Subtitles Design Summit

About a week ago WITNESS participated in it’s first “hack day ” at the 2010 Open Video Conference here in New York. Several hours (and pizzas) later, we came up with this:

Your Ideas on Human Rights and Free Expression on YouTube

This is the fourth in an occasional blog series about human rights video, written by Steve Grove, Head of News & Politics at YouTube, and Sameer Padania, former Hub Manager at WITNESS, cross-posted from YouTube’s blog. As always, we welcome your comments and feedback.

What do you think about human rights (and your rights) online?

Government police shutting down farmer’s protests in China. A tobacco company employing under-age workers in Kazakhstan. Iranian merchants striking to protest tax increases in Tehran.

Does The Number have a lesson for human rights activists?

Our good friend Ethan has done it again, drawing the connection between a recent viral meme, anti-censorship, and human rights in an article on World Changing.

A 16 digit number used as a key to decrypt HD-DVDs became the center of an online revolt against internet censorship yesterday, when it was posted on several blogs, and attempts to stop its proliferation only led to increased popularity.

My interest in the situation has less to do with DVD hacking and more to do with the question of how sensitive information can spread on the Internet. The spread of the number is something of a perfect storm. Many of the techno-libertarians who populate sites like Digg have no great sympathy for digital rights management or the DMCA. The clandestine information – a 16 digit number – is really small, and can be spread through numerous different methods. (As cryptographers have observed, it’s much easier to stop the spread of the video files, which are gigabytes in size, that targeting less that a kilobyte of information…)

Guess video will still be a problem for the foreseeable future.