‘Diplohacking’ for human rights

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‘Diplohacking’ for human rights

Author: European Council.

At a ‘Diplohack’ event held in Geneva on 26 and 27 February a group of techies, designers, entrepreneurs, human rights experts and diplomats spent the entire weekend working on innovative ways to gather and verify evidence of human rights violations and to share them with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) .

On Monday 29 February the ideas and prototypes from this event were presented to foreign minister Bert Koenders, who was in Geneva to attend the UN’s Human Rights Council. The participants, who were divided into four teams, came up with a range of ideas and practical solutions, including:

  • A ‘Self-learning Assessment Framework for Rights’ that can be used to quickly assess whether human rights violations can be identified in photos or videos and, if so, what kind. Thanks to machine learning, this tool continuously improves its ability to filter, sort and verify photos and other data. This would enable the OHCHR to process a lot more data.
  • A ‘False filter’ that can be used to see whether photos or videos are authentic or whether they have been doctored.
  • A ‘First Defender Toolkit’ that can be used to share information securely, without the need for technical expertise and without leaving any traces behind, for example via a device with a satellite connection.
  • A ‘CommUNicate’ app or dedicated website that anyone can use to find information about the UN or to share information with the UN securely and easily.

After the ideas were presented to him, Mr Koenders symbolically handed them over to the OHCHR. ‘We need you, the Diplohackers’, said the minister. ‘Innovation is crucial if we are to do a good job in the field of human rights.’ He stressed the importance of being able to share reliable information quickly, and how essential technology is to this process. The Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kate Gilmore, was impressed by the creativity and innovation demonstrated by the Diplohackers. She said that she was keen to make use of the results of the Diplohack event.

For more information on this Diplohack and other Diplohack events, see: www.diplohack.org.

Copyright European Council.