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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...

When It Comes to Human Rights, There Are No Online Security Shortcuts

Patrick Ball. When It Comes to Human Rights, There Are No Online Security Shortcuts, Wired op-ed, August 10, 2012. Wired.com © 2013 Condé Nast. All rights reserved.


Indirect Sampling to Measure Conflict Violence: Trade-offs in the Pursuit of Data That Are Good, Cheap, and Fast

Romesh Silva and Megan Price. “Indirect Sampling to Measure Conflict Violence: Trade-offs in the Pursuit of Data That Are Good, Cheap, and Fast.” Journal of the American Medical Association. 306(5):547-548. 2011. © 2011 JAMA. All rights reserved.


10MM Images from Guatemala’s National Police Go Online: Disappearances, STD Experiments, More


Documents of war: Understanding the Syrian Conflict

Megan Price, Anita Gohdes, and Patrick Ball. 2015. Significance 12, no. 2 (April): 14–19. doi: 10.1111/j.1740-9713.2015.00811.x. © 2015 The Royal Statistical Society. All rights reserved. [online abstract]


Megan Price Elected Board Member of Tor Project

Today The Tor Project announced that it has elected a new Board of Directors, and among them is HRDAG executive director Megan Price. The Tor Project is a nonprofit advocacy group that promotes online privacy and provides software that helps users opt out of online tracking. Megan and Patrick have long maintained that encryption and privacy are essential for enabling human rights work. Patrick's ideas are described in Monday's FedScoop story about encryption, human rights, and the U.S. State Department. “Human rights groups depend on strong cryptography in order to hold governments accountable," says Patrick. "HRDAG depends on local human ...

Counting Civilian Casualties: An Introduction to Recording and Estimating Nonmilitary Deaths in Conflict

ed. by Taylor B. Seybolt, Jay D. Aronson, and Baruch Fischhoff. Oxford University Press. © 2013 Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

The following four chapters are included:

— Todd Landman and Anita Gohdes (2013). “A Matter of Convenience: Challenges of Non-Random Data in Analyzing Human Rights Violations in Peru and Sierra Leone.”

— Jeff Klingner and Romesh Silva (2013). “Combining Found Data and Surveys to Measure Conflict Mortality.”

— Daniel Manrique-Vallier, Megan E. Price, and Anita Gohdes (2013). “Multiple-Systems Estimation Techniques for Estimating Casualties in Armed Conflict.”

— Jule Krüger, Patrick Ball, Megan Price, and Amelia Hoover Green (2013). “It Doesn’t Add Up: Methodological and Policy Implications of Conflicting Casualty Data.”


Privacy Policy

Mailing List Subscription We use Mailchimp to help us keep track of community members who want to stay informed about what HRDAG is doing and thinking. If you self-subscribe to our list, we will never share your contact information. We will never subscribe anyone who does not explicitly agree to a subscription.  Over the course of a year, we mail quarterly letters and fundraising letters, as well as one or two updates as events demand. If, during the course of a fundraising campaign, you make a donation, we will do our best to remove you from the remainder of fundraising mailings that year. We may use your contact information to invite you to ...

Foundation of Human Rights Statistics in Sierra Leone

Richard Conibere (2004). Foundation of Human Rights Statistics in Sierra Leone (abstr.), Joint Statistical Meetings. Toronto, Canada.


Procès Hissène Habré : Le statisticien fait état d’un taux de mortalité de 2,37% par jour

Les auditions d’experts se poursuivent au palais de justice de Dakar sur le procès de l’ex-président tchadien Hissène Habré. Hier, c’était au tour de Patrick Ball, seul inscrit au rôle, commis par la chambre d’accusation de N’Djamena pour dresser les statistiques sur le taux de mortalité dans les centres de détention.


Applications of Multiple Systems Estimation in Human Rights Research

Lum, Kristian, Megan Emily Price, and David Banks. 2013. The American Statistician 67, no. 4: 191-200. doi: 10.1080/00031305.2013.821093. © 2013 The American Statistician. All rights reserved. [free eprint may be available].


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...

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...

Counting the Dead in Sri Lanka

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

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 ...

How much faith can we place in coronavirus antibody tests?

Given a positive test result, what is the probability that an individual has antibodies? This HRDAG-authored Granta article explains the science.

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.

Skoll World Forum 2018

Illuminating Data's Dark Side: Big data create conveniences, but we must consider who designs these tools, who benefits from them, and who is left out of the equation.

14 Questions about Counting Casualties in Syria

In early 2012, HRDAG was commissioned by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to do an enumeration project, essentially a count of all of the reported casualties in the Syrian conflict. HRDAG has published two analyses so far, the first in January 2013, and the second in June 2013. In this post, HRDAG scientists Anita Gohdes, Megan Price, and Patrick Ball answer questions about that project. So, how many people have been killed in the Syrian conflict? This is a complicated question. As of our last report, in June 2013, we know that there have been at least 93,000 reported, identifiable conflict-related casualties. The ...

Reflections on Data Science for Real-World Problems

"Data science can lay out evidence to engage the state about systemic issues and assure people that they are not alone."

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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