Study Group: Technology and Human Rights - Technology and Opensource Investigations


Wednesday, February 13, 2019, 12:00pm to 1:15pm


Taubman 102

Please join us for a study group on technology and human rights at the Harvard Kennedy School!

The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy invites you to join a study group on technology, human rights and artificial intelligence. The study group, which will meet three times this semester, is convened and moderated by Steven Livingston, Senior Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.

This is an open study group. No registration is required.

The study group will meet from 12:00 - 1:15 pm on three occasions this semester:


Session 1 - Technology and Opensource Investigations:

In recent years, journalists and human rights investigators have turned to opensource investigations in their efforts to report the news and document human rights abuses and war crimes.  In addition to conventional field investigations, data drawn from commercial satellite imagery, social media platforms, video and still images captures with nearly ubiquitous handheld multipurpose devices.  Groups like Forensic Architecture, Bellingcat, Situ Research, the New York Times Video Investigations Unit, and the Digital Verification Corps of Amnesty International use these data to learn and verify events.  For the first time, the International Criminal Court at The Hague issued an arrest warrant based solely on opensource evidence.  We will review this trend in human rights work.


Scott Edwards: 

Dr. Scott Edwards is Project Manager for the Science for Human Rights project at Amnesty International, USA (AIUSA). His dissertation, “A Composite Theory and Practical Model of Forced Displacement,” advances a computational model of flight for purposes of forecasting humanitarian crises, and current research activity focuses on early warning/risk assessment models. Prior to his current post, Scott served as AIUSA's Country Specialist on Sudan from 2003-2008.


Alexa Koenig: 

Alexa Koenig is Executive Director of the Human Rights Center (winner of the 2015 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions) and a lecturer at UC Berkeley School of Law, where she teaches classes on human rights and international criminal law with a particular focus on the impact of emerging technologies on human rights practice. She co-founded the Human Rights Investigations Lab, which trains undergraduate and graduate students to use cutting-edge open source methods to support human rights advocacy and accountability. Alexa is co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Human Rights and Technology, a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility, co-chair of the Technology Advisory Board of the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, and a founding member of the board of advisors for ARCHER, a UC Berkeley-established nonprofit that leverages technology to make data-driven investigations accessible, smarter and more scalable. Alexa has been honored with several awards for her work, including the United Nations Association-SF’s Global Human Rights Award, Mark Bingham Award for Excellence, the Eleanor Swift Award for Public Service, the Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Teaching Excellence Award, and diverse grants, including support from the National Science Foundation and numerous private foundations. Her research and commentary have appeared in the Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, US News and World Report, and elsewhere.