Recent innovations in science and technology have provided human rights advocates, journalists, and scientists with new tools to expose war crimes and other serious violations of human rights and to disseminate this information in real time throughout the world. The Human Rights Center is pleased to support these recent developments and push new frontiers of applied research.
Information technologies are gaining a significant role in advancing human rights research and advocacy. But technology alone will not make the difference; what will is the combination of human rights defenders with the tools specifically designed to support their work.
In May 2009 UC Berkeley’s Human Rights Center hosted “Soul of the New Machine”, an international conference focused on exploring the intersection of human rights, technology, and new media. Over 250 leading thinkers, civil society members, activists, programmers, and entrepreneurs had the chance to assess the ‘lay of the land’ and discuss emerging technologies related to evidence gathering / documentation and advocacy and outreach. The conference was designed to be a meeting point between the tech-savvy world and the human rights community.
Two years later, much progress in the practice and implementation of human rights and technology projects call for a new opportunity to share experiences, best practices, and lessons learned from deploying technology in the field. Building on the success of the 2009 conference, Advancing the New Machine: Human Rights and Technology will convene human rights practitioners and technologists to discuss the progress, successes, and challenges that have emerged.
The conference will be hosted on April 26th and 27th, 2011 at the David Brower Center.
Soul of the New Machine, a two day conference held at UC Berkeley on May 4-5, 2009, explored a wealth of topics at the intersection of human rights and technology, from technology success stories and overarching ethical and security issues, to the implications of moving human rights advocacy and research online. Conference sessions covered topics such as databases and data security, digital photography and video, media advocacy, and PDAs and phones for data collection. The vast majority of these panels were live video streamed in real time over the internet so that individuals not able to make it in person were still able to watch the proceedings and submit questions via chat. They have been archived and are available for viewing.
To learn more about the conference or to watch conference video, visit the conference website.
Mobile technology, often in conjunction with the Internet, can help expose users to a wide variety of information, accommodate dynamic information, and enrich understanding of critical issues through the juxtaposition of data, photos, video, audio or text.
The Mobile Challenge, an open innovation competition hosted by the Human Rights Center in conjunction with NetSquared, invited submissions from nonprofits and advocacy organizations to develop mobile tools that combine data, imagery, mapping and social networking to advance human rights.
The Challenge received 50 project submissions from 23 countries. Ten finalists were selected by online community vote, and award winners, selected by a panel of judges, were announced at the Soul of the New Machine conference. Winners received cash awards to implement their projects, as well as technical support from NetSquared volunteers.
View the winners of the Mobile Challenge.