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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 ...

Kristian Lum in Bloomberg

The interview poses questions about Lum's focus on artificial intelligence and its impact on predictive policing and sentencing programs.


HRDAG’s analysis and expertise continues to deepen the national conversation about police violence and criminal justice reform in the United States. In 2015 we began by considering undocumented victims of police violence, relying on the same methodological approach we’ve tested internationally for decades. Shortly after, we examined “predictive policing” software, and demonstrated the ways that racial bias is baked into the algorithms. Following our partners’ lead, we next considered the impact of bail, and found that setting bail increases the likelihood of a defendant being found guilty. We then broadened our investigations to examine ...

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.

New results for the identification of municipalities with clandestine graves in Mexico

The goal of this project is identify Mexican municipalities with a high probability of having clandestine graves. Knowing where to search will help to create better public programs regarding missing persons in Mexico.

Use this form to donate to HRDAG

Your tax deductible gift helps us seek justice for victims of human rights violations, hold perpetrators accountable, and strengthen the overall human rights advocacy community. HRDAG is a project of Community Partners, providing us with administrative infrastructure — so we can focus on our mission and work. We are grateful for your (and their) support.

Reflections: A Meaningful Partnership between HRDAG and Benetech

I joined the Benetech Human Rights Program at essentially the same time that HRDAG did, coming to Benetech from years of analyzing data for large companies in the transportation, hospitality and retail industries. But the data that HRDAG dealt with was not like the data I was familiar with, and I was fascinated to learn about how they used the data to determine "who did what to whom." Although some of the methodologies were similar to what I had experience with in the for-profit sector, the goals and beneficiaries of the analyses were very different. At Benetech, I was initially predominantly focused on product management for Martus, a free ...

Reflections: Richard Savage’s Vision Fulfilled

In 1984, as a fresh PhD, I heard Richard Savage give his presidential address at the Joint Statistical Meetings in Philadelphia. He called it "Hard/Soft Problems" and made a big pitch for statisticians to get involved in human rights data analysis. It was inspirational, and I was immediately sold. I started working with the American Statistical Association's Committee on Scientific Freedom and Human Rights (now chaired by HRDAG's own Megan Price). Over time, a growing set of statisticians became involved, initially in letter-writing campaigns to help dissident statisticians (and other quantitative academics—economists seemed to have a particular ...

5 Humanitarian FOSS Projects to Watch

Dave Neary described “5 Humanitarian FOSS Projects to Watch,” listing HRDAG’s work on police homicides in the U.S. and other human rights abuses in other countries.

How We Choose Projects

For more than 20 years, HRDAG has been carving out a niche in the international human rights movement. We know what we’re good at and what we’re not qualified to do. We know what quantitative questions we think are important for the community, and we know what we like to do. These preferences guide us as we consider whether to take on a project. We’re scientists, so our priorities will come as no surprise. We like to stick to science (not ideology), avoid advocacy, answer quantifiable questions, and increase our scientific understanding. While we have no hard-and-fast rules about what projects to take on, we organize our deliberation ...

Coders Bare Invasion Death Count

Mining data on mutilations, beatings, murders

El Salvador 1991 – Who Did What To Whom?

Members of the Salvadoran military committed tens of thousands of killings during the country’s civil war which raged from the late 1970’s until 1990. While working for a peace organization in El Salvador in 1991, Patrick Ball was asked by a colleague at a human rights group to help organize a large collection of human rights testimonies. Trained as a social scientist, Ball created the “Who Did What To Whom” (WTWTW) model for examining human rights data. Ball used this system to create a structured, relational database of violations reported in more than 9,000 testimonies to the Salvadoran Human Rights Commission. To determine who was most ...

Learning the Hard Way at the ICTY: Statistical Evidence of Human Rights Violations in an Adversarial Information Environment.

Amelia Hoover Green. In Collective Violence and International Criminal Justice: An Interdisciplinary Approach, ed. Alette Smeulers, Antwerp, Belgium. © 2010 Intersentia. All rights reserved. [Link coming soon]

Tech Corner

The HRDAG Tech Corner is where we collect the deeper and geekier content that we create for the website. Click the accordion blocks below to reveal each of the Tech Corner entries. Sifting Massive Datasets with Machine Learning Principled Data Processing  

HRDAG Testifies in Hissène Habré Trial

Last week HRDAG’s executive director, Patrick Ball, served as an expert witness for the prosecution in the trial of Hissène Habré, the ruler of Chad from 1982 to 1990. The trial is taking place in Dakar, Senegal, where the 73-year-old Habré has been living since 1990 when he fled Chad. He has already been sentenced to death in absentia in Chad. Habré is being charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity, and torture that took place during his eight-year reign. The trial is happening at the Extraordinary African Chambers, which was inaugurated by Senegal and the African Union to try Habré. This is the first time that one country has ...

Ten Years and Counting in Guatemala

We have accomplished so much in the last 10 years at the Historical Archive of the National Police. And yet, despite the efforts, dedication, and commitment of each person who since 2006 has worked in the AHPN, we still can not say “mission accomplished.” In 10 years the environment at the Archive has changed so much and become so full of life. Where the building once sheltered unknown stories, over time some of those stories have been revealed. But Guatemala has a long way to go in letting the world get to know more deeply about the secrets within the documents stored there. Guatemalans and the rest of the world have a very important ...

Contact Us

You may contact us via info @ hrdag.org or use this form. Would you like to receive our newsletter? Great! Please sign up here. Find us on Mastodon Follow HRDAG on Mastodon. Employment with HRDAG Please keep in touch by signing up for our newsletters and following us on Twitter @hrdag or Mastodon. If you do not see a job listed here, please do not send your CV or résumé, as we do not file or save them, and we will only have to send you a sad “no thank you” letter. Volunteering with HRDAG Are you interested in volunteering your time to the Human Rights Data Analysis Group? We’re very flattered—but at this time we’re ...


In 1995, the Haitian National Commission for Truth and Justice (CNVJ) requested the advice of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Dr. Patrick Ball on how to develop a large-scale project to take the testimonies of several thousand witnesses of human rights abuses in Haiti. The team conducted work incorporating over 5,000 interviews covering over 8,500 victims to produce detailed regional analyses, using quantitative material from the interviews, historical, economic and demographic analysis.

Colombia Report

Benetech Human Rights Program and Corporación Punto de Vista Issues Report on Sexual Violence in Colombia Researchers Find that Data About Sexual Violence is Difficult To Collect and Subject to Misinterpretation May 2, 2011, Palo Alto, CA — The Benetech Human Rights Program has issued a report with the Colombian NGO Corporación Punto de Vista which examines how quantitative data can be used to assess conflict related sexual violence in Colombia. Written by Francoise Roth, Tamy Guberek and Amelia Hoover Green, Using Quantitative Data to Assess Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Colombia: Challenges and Opportunities notes that sexual violations ...

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.