Responsible Data Forum on Human Rights Documentation – Philippines, 21-22 March 2015

RDFhumanrightsThe Responsible Data Forum on Human Rights Documentation will bring together practitioners and researchers to explore the ethical, privacy and security challenges posed by the use of data and new technologies in human rights documentation. It will be held just outside of Manila, The Philippines, on 21-22 March, on the fringes of RightsCon.

The Forum will be a hands-on and collaborative event, focused on developing concrete tools and strategies to ensure that documentation efforts do no harm. Issues such as practical de-identification of data, inclusive and participatory use of technology, verification and data standards will be considered through the lens of responsibility, and the potential of new technologies for protecting and promoting human rights.

To apply, please fill out this application form by 6 February 2015. If you have any questions, send an email to friedhelm [at] huridocs [dot] org. Here is Friedhelm’s PGP key.

Who: Approximately 20-25 people working to document human rights violations: front-line activists and human rights defenders, members of the international training and support community, international and national human rights researchers. Organizational partners coordinating this event include HURIDOCS, Benetech, Amnesty International, Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) and the engine room.

Background: Technological tools and innovations have dramatically altered the landscape of human rights documentation. Access to tools and the ability to collect, manage and disseminate information with relatively little technical training promise powerful opportunities for human rights defenders. But the use of these tools and strategies also introduces new risks and challenges, which are little understood in practice or in theory.

About: The Responsible Data Forum is a collaborative effort to develop useful tools and strategies for dealing with the ethical, security and privacy challenges facing data-driven advocacy. Activities include organizing events; fostering discussion between communities; developing and testing concrete tools; disseminating useful information; and advocating for advocates and their supporters to improve the way they work with data. Learn more about it on the Responsible Data Forum’s website.

Issues for this Forum:

  • Anonymity: When does data need to be anonymized at collection, and how does this change in context where different data sets can be easily mixed to re-identify individuals? When does identifying information get automatically collected by digital technologies?
  • Inclusivity: In what circumstances might affected communities become marginalized in the process of data collection, analysis and use? How can human rights defenders identify and mitigate this risk?
  • Red Lines: Some information should never be documented. What are those red lines? How do human rights defenders identify these red lines in practice? How to the account for the long term consequences of data that lives forever?
  • Open Human Rights Data: When does publicly releasing data on human rights strengthen accountability, and when does it risk increasing marginalization, supporting discriminatory policies and enabling violations. How can human rights defenders tell the difference?
  • Verification: In a world where anyone can collect and publish evidence or testimonial about human rights violations , how can the information obtained be verified? How do researchers include verification in efficient data management and advocacy? How do these challenges change in dangerous or repressive contexts and how do they coexist with the need to tell an urgent story?
  • Structure and standards: Is there a benefit to adhere to common protocols and/or commitments for the collection and management of information? Is there a benefit on adhering to common standards for data storage? Could this increase responsible sharing with enhanced source protection?


  • Developing guidelines for developing responsible documentation strategies
  • Overview of tools and platforms, their comparative strengths and weaknesses
  • Practical resources for managing responsible data challenges in the field
  • Identifying good practice for responsibly managing and deploying human rights data

To apply, please fill out this application form by 6 February 2015. If you have any questions, send an email to friedhelm [at] huridocs [dot] org. Here is Friedhelm’s PGP key.



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