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Strong Crypto Safeguards Human Rights Data

Strong cryptography can safeguard critical human rights data from repressive governments that steal data in order to persecute citizens. When vulnerable citizens dare to bear witness by naming perpetrators, their crimes, and their victims, the sensitive identifying information about those witnesses must be protected. In the late 1990s, HRDAG’s Director of Research, Patrick Ball, began his work with encrypted data while documenting crimes committed by the Guatemalan national police—and strong cryptography has remained critical to all of HRDAG’s work. hr {border-width:20px;} .main-container p a{color:#f98d00 !important;} h2 {font-we...

Patrick Ball Honored with Degree at Claremont Graduate University

We’re happy to announce that our executive director, Patrick Ball, has been presented an honorary degree from Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. University President Deborah Freund presented the degree to Patrick at the university’s 88th annual commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16, 2015. The degree conferred was Doctor of Science honoris causa. “We at CGU are thrilled that Patrick Ball accepted our Honorary Degree invitation and joined us for commencement,” said Thomas Horan, CGU Professor and Director, Center for Information Systems and Technology. “Patrick’s work stands as a model for conducting first-r...

Talks

Upcoming Talks TBA Past Talks 2015 Presentation on the research behind the Evaluation of the Kosovo Memory Book Database. National Archive, Pristina, Kosovo. Patrick Ball. February 4, 2015. How do we know what we know? Patrick Ball. Arizona State University. January, 2015. AAAS Science & Human Rights Coalition Meeting: Big Data & Human Rights. Megan Price, panelist. Washington, D.C. January 15-16, 2015. Examining the Crisis in Syria: Conference Hosted by New America and Arizona State University’s Center on the Future of War and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Megan Price, panelist. Washingt...

Disrupt San Francisco TechCrunch 2018

On September 7, 2018, Kristian Lum and Patrick Ball participated in a panel at Disrupt San Francisco by TechCrunch. The talk was titled "Dismantling Algorithmic Bias." Brian Brackeen of Kairos was part of the panel as well, and the talk was moderated by TechCrunch reporter Megan Rose Dickey. From the TechCrunch website, "Disrupt is a 3-day conference focused on breaking technology news and developments with big-name thought leaders who are making waves in the industry." Video of the talk is available here, and Megan Rose Dickey's coverage is here.

Counting the Dead in Sri Lanka

ITJP and HRDAG are urging groups inside and outside Sri Lanka to share existing casualty lists.

Covid-19 Research and Resources

HRDAG is identifying and interpreting the best science we can find to shed light on the global crisis brought on by the novel coronavirus, about which we still know so little. Right now, most of the data on the virus SARS-CoV-2 and Covid-19, the condition caused by the virus, are incomplete and unrepresentative, which means that there is a great deal of uncertainty. But making sense of imperfect datasets is what we do. HRDAG is contributing to a better understanding with explainers, essays, and original research, and we are highlighting trustworthy resources for those who want to dig deeper. Papers and articles by HRDAG .ugb-bbeb275 .ugb-blo...

FAQs on Predictive Policing and Bias

Last month Significance magazine published an article on the topic of predictive policing and police bias, which I co-authored with William Isaac. Since then, we've published a blogpost about it and fielded a few recurring questions. Here they are, along with our responses. Do your findings still apply given that PredPol uses crime reports rather than arrests as training data? Because this article was meant for an audience that is not necessarily well-versed in criminal justice data and we were under a strict word limit, we simplified language in describing the data. The data we used is a version of the Oakland Police Department’s crime report...

Press Release, Timor-Leste, February 2006

SILICON VALLEY GROUP USES TECHNOLOGY TO HELP THE TRUTH COMMISSION ANSWER DISPUTED QUESTIONS ABOUT MASSIVE POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN TIMOR-LESTE Palo Alto, CA, February 9, 2006 – The Benetech® Initiative today released a statistical report detailing widespread and systematic violations in Timor-Leste during the period 1974-1999. Benetech's statistical analysis establishes that at least 102,800 (+/- 11,000) Timorese died as a result of the conflict. Approximately 18,600 (+/- 1000) Timorese were killed or disappeared, while the remainder died due to hunger and illness in excess of what would be expected due to peacetime mortality. The magnitude of deaths ...

Reflections: A Love Letter to HRDAG

On the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, HRDAG executive director Megan Price tells us why she loves her work, and why she feels hopeful about the future.

Reflections: The People Who Make the Data

HRDAG associate Miguel Cruz has an epiphany. All those data he’s drowning in? Each datapoint is a personal tragedy, a story both dark and urgent, and he’s privileged to have access.

Improving the estimate of U.S. police killings

Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing writes about HRDAG executive director Patrick Ball and his contribution to Carl Bialik's article about the recently released Bureau of Justice Statistics report on the number of annual police killings, both reported and unreported, in 538 Politics. Doctorow writes: Patrick Ball and the Human Rights Data Analysis Group applied the same statistical rigor that he uses in estimating the scale of atrocities and genocides for Truth and Reconciliation panels in countries like Syria and Guatemala to the problem of estimating killing by US cops, and came up with horrific conclusions. Ball was responding to a set of new estima...

Download: Megan Price

nyt_square_logoExecutive director Megan Price is interviewed in The New York Times’ Sunday Review, as part of a series known as “Download,” which features a biosketch of “Influencers and their interests.”


Kriege und Social Media: Die Daten sind nicht perfekt

Suddeutsche Zeitung writer Mirjam Hauck interviewed HRDAG affiliate Anita Gohdes about the pitfalls of relying on social media data when interpreting violence in the context of war. This article, “Kriege und Social Media: Die Daten sind nicht perfekt,” is in German.


Experts Greet Kosovo Memory Book

On Wednesday, February 4, in Pristina, international experts praised the Humanitarian Law Centre’s database on victims of the Kosovo conflict, the Kosovo Memory Book. HRDAG executive director Patrick Ball is quoted in the article that appeared in Balkan Transitional Justice.


Civil War in Syria: The Internet as a Weapon of War

Suddeutsche Zeitung writer Hakan Tanriverdi interviews HRDAG affiliate Anita Gohdes and writes about her work on the Syrian casualty enumeration project for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. This article, “Bürgerkrieg in Syrien: Das Internet als Kriegswaffe,” is in German.


Data and Social Good: Using Data Science to Improve Lives, Fight Injustice, and Support Democracy

100x100-oreillymedia-logoIn this free, downloadable report, Mike Barlow of O’Reilly Media cites several examples of how data and the work of data scientists have made a measurable impact on organizations such as DataKind, a group that connects socially minded data scientists with organizations working to address critical humanitarian issues. HRDAG—and executive director Megan Price—is one of the first organizations whose work is mentioned.


Recent Talks


Predictive policing violates more than it protects

William Isaac and Kristian Lum. Predictive policing violates more than it protects. USA Today. December 2, 2016. © USA Today.

William Isaac and Kristian Lum. Predictive policing violates more than it protects. USA Today. December 2, 2016. © USA Today.


The Case Against a Golden Key

Patrick Ball (2016). The case against a golden key. Foreign Affairs. September 14, 2016.  ©2016 Council on Foreign Relations, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Patrick Ball (2016). The case against a golden key. Foreign Affairs. September 14, 2016.  ©2016 Council on Foreign Relations, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Can ‘predictive policing’ prevent crime before it happens?

100x100-sciencemagHRDAG analyst William Isaac is quoted in this article about so-called crime prediction. “They’re not predicting the future. What they’re actually predicting is where the next recorded police observations are going to occur.”


Our work has been used by truth commissions, international criminal tribunals, and non-governmental human rights organizations. We have worked with partners on projects on five continents.

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