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Wednesday, March 30 • 10:30am - 11:45am
Reporting, Whistleblowing, and the Challenge of Data Verification: Tech Demos and Lightning Talks

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"The Whistle: A Human Rights Reporting Platform that Empowers Civilians and Speeds Verification"
ID: 36 — Dr Ella McPherson (Lecturer, University of Cambridge - Department of Sociology), Giles Barton-Owen (Researcher, University of Cambridge - POLIS), Isabel Thorton (University of Cambridge, Department of Sociology), Rebekah Larsen (Student, University of Cambridge - Department of Sociology), Matthew Mahmoudi (Student, Queen Mary University of London - School of Politics and International Relations)
Great optimism exists around the potential for digital reports of human rights violations, particularly in the possibilities for empowering civilian witnesses and simultaneously broadening access to the accountability mechanism of human rights. Yet research has shown that the time and expertise required to verify this information can be a bottleneck to its use by human rights organisations. The Whistle is a project based at the University of Cambridge that aims to translate this academic research into a tool that can support the use of digital information from civilian witnesses in human rights fact-finding. It intends to do this on a reporting platform in two ways: (1) educating civilian witnesses on the production of high-quality human rights evidence through prompting them to include certain types of information in their reports and providing them resources via a reporting interface (thus boosting their information literacy); and (2) reducing the expertise and time necessary for fact-finders to verify digital information through automating the cross-checks of reported data with third-party tools and databases. This presentation will introduce the research behind and within the project, the current conceptual and technical status of The Whistle, and give an example of how The Whistle might be put to varied uses depending on the case (e.g., in the realm of corporate social responsibility) by introducing our current partner, Wikirate. We are very interested in feedback from others in the verification space as well as from human rights fact-finders about how The Whistle might fit into their existing research practices.

"Implementing a Whistleblower Submission Portal in Mexico to Protect Individuals’ Data Privacy Rights"
ID: 301 — Cédric Laurant (Executive Director, SonTusDatos (Artículo 12, A.C.)
This session will cover the implementation of our open source anonymous submission portal for whistleblowers.  We aim to collect information from people who would know of an actual data breach an organization in the private sector has faced but not notified to its clients, customers, users or employees, despite being legally compelled to notify it under the Mexican data protection legal framework.  That information will help us investigate the data breach and determine whether to make it public, or refer it to the Mexican Data Protection Authority.  The principal objective of the portal is to protect data owners in Mexico who might be affected by identity theft or other type of online or offline fraud because of the failure of a company to notify it, or report it to the authorities.  Our goal is also to collect relevant information about most of the data breaches in the private sector that until now go unreported in Mexico.
We will focus on some of the following questions: how likely is it that the people who we want to inform us about potential or actual data breaches through the whistleblower submission portal will have the skills to detect them?; how should one adjust the balance between private corporate interests and the public’s right to know?
In this session, we specifically look for the input and feedback from experts with knowledge and expertise in anonymous whistleblowing submission portals.

"Publeaks Connects Whistleblowers with the Media" 
ID: 35 — Marcel Oomens (Project Officer Gender, Innovation & Safety, Free Press Unlimited)
Publeaks makes counter-surveillance technologies transparent and available to journalists and their sources. The platform allows whistleblowers and journalists to communicate privately, anonymously and safely. Publeaks supports investigative journalism, holding governments and businesses to account. Free Press Unlimited has successfully established secure, digital whistleblowing platforms in Mexico (Méxicoleaks) and the Netherlands (Publeaks NL). We're also involved in setting up similar platforms in several African countries. In this session we wish to share experiences with setting up whistleblowing platforms and reach out to people and organisations that have an interest in starting similar initiatives in other countries and regions, especially in regions where journalism and freedom of expression are under threat.

Checkdesk: Verify breaking news online
ID: 66 — Chris Blow (Director of User Experience, Meedan), Tom Trewinnard (Business Development Manager, Meedan)
Checkdesk is a flexible toolkit for collaboration around verifying user generated content, with a special focus on social media and the demands of real time, collaborative verification. The Checkdesk project has worked to build tools, support independent journalists, and develop media literacy training resources that aim to improve the investigative quality of citizen journalism and help limit the rapid spread of rumors and misinformation. In this demo session, we will look at the Checkdesk platform, our new work on building a verified sources database for journalists, and use cases around verification for journalism, human rights research and education. 

"VideoVault: Preserving online video as evidence for human rights practice and journalistic work"
ID: 454 — RightsLab

"Hancel, a security app for journalists"

ID: 299 — Gloria Patricia Meneses (Software developer and Internet Activist at Karisma Foundation and RedPaTodos Collective)
Hancel is a a set of communication tools intended to improve your security
and protect the privacy of your information without relying on others.
The app focuses on three dimensions: alert on life-threatening situation or
physical imminent attack, a set of secure & private communication tools
(secure call & chat), and digital self-protection survey.  Designed for
Android mobiles, having in mind journalists and activists, but useful for a
more general public.

During the tech demo, we will show the current development stage, future
features and how people and organizations can get involved.


Giles Barton-Owen

Research Associate, University of Cambridge
Researcher, University of Cambridge - POLIS
avatar for Chris Blow

Chris Blow

Designer, Meedan
Director of User Experience, Meeda

Rebekah Larsen

Student, University of Cambridge - Department of Sociology
avatar for Cedric Laurant

Cedric Laurant

President & Executive Director, SonTusDatos (Artículo 12, A.C.)
SonTusDatos ("It's Your Data") is the first non-profit program that defends since 2012 the privacy and data protection rights of ICT and Internet users in Mexico. (It is part of Artículo 12, A.C., a non-profit organization based in Mexico.) | More info at http://sontusdatos.org/. | Bio: http://sontusdatos.org/staff/cedric-laurant/

Matthew Mahmoudi

Student, Queen Mary University of London - School of Politics and International Relations

Dr Ella McPherson

Lecturer, University of Cambridge - Department of Sociology

Gloria Patricia Meneses

Software developer and Internet Activist at Karisma Foundation and RedPaTodos Collective
avatar for Marcel Oomens

Marcel Oomens

Project Officer Gender, Innovation and Safety, Free Press Unlimited
Project Officer Gender, Innovation & Safety, Free Press Unlimited

Isabel Thorton

University of Cambridge, Department of Sociology
avatar for Tom Trewinnard

Tom Trewinnard

Programs & Partnerships, Meedan

Wednesday March 30, 2016 10:30am - 11:45am
The Demo Room

Attendees (54)