A brief exploration of Open and Big Data: From investigative journalism to humanitarian aid and peacebuilding

The ICT4Peace Foundation recently published The potential and challenges of open data for crisis information management and aid efficiency: A preliminary assessment, a short monograph in large part based on a longer report I wrote on Big and Open data about a month ago. It’s a work in progress. Our understanding and support of Big … Continue reading A brief exploration of Open and Big Data: From investigative journalism to humanitarian aid and peacebuilding

Citizens Net: Crowd-sourcing human rights violations?

The Sunday Leader recently reported on a new, unique initiative by the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA) in Sri Lanka to gather information on human rights violations. Called Citizens Net, the news report notes that it is open to logging “issues regarding gender-based violence, the rights of children, the elderly and the disabled.” However, there … Continue reading Citizens Net: Crowd-sourcing human rights violations?

Tamil politics, “human rights extremists” and humanitarian crises: Web discussions trump MSM?

Groundviews has over the past month alone exclusively published thought provoking content that has explored facets of violence and a cataclysmic humanitarian disaster. Featuring a wide range of critical voices from NGOs, Government and the diaspora Groundviews is priviledged to host some of the most compelling content and discussions on the current situation in Sri … Continue reading Tamil politics, “human rights extremists” and humanitarian crises: Web discussions trump MSM?

Information visualisation through Microsoft Photosynth: Potential for human rights documentation?

The video below really says it all. Sadly, Photosynth does not yet run natively on a Mac, but the concept behind this information visualisation is astounding.  I’ve been following Photosynth’s development for a while (this TED video is a very early version – the programme now has more models and more features) and the potential … Continue reading Information visualisation through Microsoft Photosynth: Potential for human rights documentation?

Human Rights 2.0?

Firstly, check out Patrick Meier’s blog, iRevolution. It’s rare that I unhesitatingly recommend a blog for its gripping content and this is one. Patrick’s extremely prolific and this is not the only place he blogs which makes it hard to keep up with his writing, but his significant experience and lateral thinking are evident in any … Continue reading Human Rights 2.0?

Websites at Risk – Archiving information on human rights, governance and peace

I created and launched Websites at risk yesterday as a simple yet effective means through which to archive information and knowledge produced on the web in Sri Lanka on human rights, peacebuilding and democratic governance. This has been on my mind for a while ever since I was appalled to be told that the website … Continue reading Websites at Risk – Archiving information on human rights, governance and peace

Geo-location and human rights

“…future monitoring efforts should make sure that precise locations are recorded first time. So, here are two questions for our five or so readers: what’s working well on this issue in the real world; and, what’s the most practical way to manage information about electoral boundaries?” Some thoughts of the cuff, as one avid reader … Continue reading Geo-location and human rights

Mobile phones as a basic human right: Perspectives from Sri Lanka

Moderating an event organised by a professional accounting association recently that had Hans Wijesuriya, CEO of Dialog Telekom in Sri Lanka as a guest speaker, I picked up on how he characterised Dialog, which he said was about “giving wings to equality” (exact quote). This prompted me to ask him how he, as a professional … Continue reading Mobile phones as a basic human right: Perspectives from Sri Lanka

Humanitarian information systems: Ethics, information protection and “information DNA”

One of the discussions that cropped up in the working group on Innovation and also at the Plenary at the UN OCHA +5 Symposium was the ethics of information sharing in humanitarian aid systems. I for one find it hard to believe that we are bereft of the information needed for timely and sustainable humanitarian … Continue reading Humanitarian information systems: Ethics, information protection and “information DNA”

Citizen Journalism and humanitarian aid: Bane or boon?

Despite our best efforts, information available to citizens at times of crises – man-made or natural – is often inadequate, biased, incorrect and late. Studies show that the problem lies not with technology (or lack thereof), but with the culture of information sharing. Technology, while it can help address problems of access, dissemination and archival, … Continue reading Citizen Journalism and humanitarian aid: Bane or boon?