First reading Facebook released the company's Human Rights Impact Assessment for Sri Lanka today. At the time of writing, Joshua Brustein writing for Bloomberg has one of the first takes on the report, highlighting Facebook's apology for its role in Sri Lanka's violence. Commissioned by Facebook, the report was conducted and written by Article One. … Continue reading Facebook’s Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) on Sri Lanka: Some brief thoughts
I've written about Google Latitude earlier on this blog. What dedicated GPS devices like a Garmin did in the past, most mobile phones can now do out of the box. Location mapping is a new dimension in web services, and while platforms like Ushahidi are in the limelight for using location data via mobile phone to, … Continue reading Google Latitude for human rights activists
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?
The one time I have participated in a discussion hosted by New Tactics in Human Rights was around a discussion on leverage mobile phones for advocacy and activism. This page alone is well worth a visit to the website. The group has now come out with New Tactics in Human Rights: A Resource for Practitioners … Continue reading New Tactics in Human Rights: A catalogue of ideas and resources
Unsubscribe is Amnesty International's new campaign against human rights abuses (by Western Governments including the US and UK) under the guise of the war against terror. The following video, featuring Jiva Parthipan as the prisoner, is shocking and one of the most compelling videos against HR abuses I have seen on the web. As the AI website … Continue reading Waiting for the Guards – Amnesty International’s video on torture
In I am an enemy of the State, I said that Rajapakse regime's war was not in my name. Amnesty International's unsubscribe-me web campaign is based on a similar sentiment. As the website notes, Unsubscribe is a movement of people united against human rights abuses in the 'war on terror'. The threat of terrorism is real, … Continue reading Amnesty International’s unsubscribe campaign: Compelling, visceral and cutting-edge
I use the word incredible in the sense of difficult to believe or extraordinary. In one of the most revealing and interesting articles I've read in a while, the London Review of Books looks into the world of mobile phone surveillance. It begins with the example of http://www.mapamobile.com in the UK, a freely available service … Continue reading Deciding which mobile phone to bug and how: The incredible flip side of the growth of mobiles
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?
Particularly in light of the fact that Skype is used by human rights defenders, including in Sri Lanka, as a means of secure communications is the speculation that it has a back-door entry that allows third parties, such as repressive government and intelligence agencies, gain access to conversations. According to reports, there may be a … Continue reading Skype not secure?
Last week I captured through my mobile phone camera the user account, password and URL of a confidential human rights monitoring and advocacy database. The users had plastered these details on a public notice board for easy reference, in a manner that could be viewed by anyone who came into the office. It hadn't occurred … Continue reading IT Security: Planning for the lack of commonsense