Posts Tagged ‘google’

Excellent news: HURIDOCS to receive 1 million $ from Google for AI work

May 8, 2019

Google announced on 7 May 2019 that the Geneva-based NGO HURIDOCS is one of 20 organizations that will share 25 million US dollars in grants from the Google Artificial Intelligence Impact Challenge. The Google Artificial Intelligence Impact Challenge was an open call to nonprofits, social enterprises, and research institutions to submit their ideas to use artificial intelligence (AI) to help address societal challenges. Over 2600 organizations from around the world applied.

Geneva-based HURIDOCS will receive a grant of 1 million US dollars to develop and use machine learning methods to extract, explore and connect relevant information in laws, jurisprudence, victim testimonies, and resolutions. Thanks to these, the NGO will work with partners to make documents better and freely accessible. This will benefit anyone interested in using human rights precedents and laws, for example to lawyers representing victims of human rights violations or students researching non-discrimination.

The machine learning work to liberate information from documents is grounded in more than a decade of work that HURIDOCS has done to provide free access to information. Through pioneering partnerships with the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), HURIDOCS has co-created some of the most used public human rights databases. A key challenge in creating these databases has been the time-consuming and error-prone manual adding of information – a challenge the machine learning techniques will be used to overcome.

“We have been experimenting with machine learning techniques for more than two years”, said Natalie Widmann, Artificial Intelligence Specialist at HURIDOCS. “We have changed our approach countless times, but we see a clear path to how they can be leveraged in groundbreaking ways to democratise access to information.” HURIDOCS will use the grant from Google to work with partners to co-create the solutions, carefully weighing ethical concerns of automation and focusing on social impact. All the work will be done in the open, including all code being released publicly.

We are truly excited by the opportunity to use these technologies to address a problem that has been holding the human rights movement back”, said Friedhelm Weinberg, Executive Director of HURIDOCS. “We are thankful to Google for the support and look forward to be working with their experts and what will be a fantastic cohort of co-grantees.”

We received thousands of applications to the Google AI Impact Challenge and are excited that HURIDOCS was selected to receive funding and expertise from Google. AI is at a nascent stage when it comes to the value it can have for the social impact sector, and we look forward to seeing the outcomes of this work and considering where there is potential for use to do even more.” – Jacquelline Fuller, President of

Next week, the HURIDOCS team will travel to San Francisco to work with the other grantees, Google AI experts, Project Managers and the startup specialists from Google’s Launchpad Accelerator for a program that will last six months, from May to November 2019. Each organization will be paired a Google expert who will meet with them regularly for coaching sessions, and will also have access to other Google resources and expert mentorship.

Download the press release in English, Spanish. Learn more about the other Google AI Impact grantees at Google’s blog.

Fo more on HURIDOCS history: and for some of my other posts:


Jigsaw designed software (“Outline”) for self-controlled VPNs

March 21, 2018


A VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORK (VPN), that core privacy tool that encrypts your internet traffic and bounces it through a faraway server, has always presented a paradox: Sure, it helps you hide from some forms of surveillance, like your internet service provider’s snooping and eavesdroppers on your local network. But it leaves you vulnerable to a different, equally powerful spy: Whoever controls the VPN server you’re routing all your traffic through.

To help solve that quagmire, Jigsaw, the Alphabet-owned Google sibling that serves as a human rights-focused tech incubator, will now offer VPN software that you can easily set up on your own server—or at least, one you set up yourself, and control in the cloud. And unlike older homebrew VPN code, Jigsaw says it’s focused on making the setup and hosting of that server simple enough that even small, less savvy organizations or even individual users can do it in minutes.

Jigsaw says that the free DIY proxy software, called Outline, aims to provide an alternative to, on the one hand, stronger anonymity tools like Tor that slow down web browsing by bouncing connections through multiple encrypted hops around the world and, on the other hand, commercial VPNs that can be expensive, and also put users’ private information and internet history at risk.

The core of the product is that people can run their own VPN,” says Santiago Andrigo, the Jigsaw product manager who led Outline’s development. “You get the reassurance that no one else has your data, and you can rest easier in that knowledge.”

..A Swedish NGO, Civil Rights Defenders, has been testing Outline since last fall with the group of sensitive internet users it works to protect, who include journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders and LGBT communities in 18 repressive regimes around the world. ..

see also:

Today official launch of AI’s Panic Button – a new App to fight attack, kidnap and torture

June 23, 2014

Amnesty International launches new open source ‘Panic Button’ app to help activists facing imminent danger.

Today, 23 June 2014, Amnesty International launches its open source ‘Panic Button’ app to help human rights defenders facing imminent danger. The aim is to increase protection for those who face the threat of arrest, attack, kidnap and torture. In short:

Read the rest of this entry »

Nordic Creative Commons Film Festival: Witness on-line discussion 5 September

September 5, 2013

Google Plus Hangout On Air Live at Nordic Film Festival

Priscila Neri, WITNESS Senior Program Manager, discusses digital media, freedom of speech and advocacy at the Nordic Creative Commons Film Festival Thursday 5 September at 10:40am ET. She will present two short videos – you can watch them anytime online: People Before Profit and How to Film Protests: A WITNESS Guide to Video for Change) and discuss the use of Creative Commons and why it’s an important resource for activists. You can watch the live discussion on Google Hangout On Air and send Priscila your questions on Twitter using #WITNESSlive or @witnessorg.

Facebook Joins the Global Network Initiative for Human Rights

May 23, 2013

On 22 May 2013 the Global Network Initiative (GNI) announced that Facebook had become the sixth company to join GNI. “Advancing human rights, including freedom of expression and the right to communicate freely, is core to our mission of making the world more open and connected,” said Elliot Schrage, Vice President of Communications, Marketing and Public Policy at Facebook.

GNI brings information technology companies together with NGOs, investors and academics. Founding companies are: Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!, as well as Evoca and Websense who joined the initiative in 2011. GNI’s principles and guidelines provide companies with a framework for responding to government requests in a manner that protects and advances freedom of expression and privacy. Companies that join GNI agree to independent assessments of their record in implementing these principles and guidelines.

By joining this important collaboration between companies, human rights organizations, investors, and academics, Facebook is fully embracing its responsibility to protecting the rights of its users and setting an example that other companies should follow,” said Leslie Harris, President and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology.

Contacts:  David Sullivan, GNI,
via Facebook Joins the Global Network Initiative | Global Network Initiative.


Vote for development of AI’s PANIC BUTTON

May 22, 2013

I reported earlier in this blog on the Panic Button idea of Amnesty International. Now I have learned that it has been chosen as a finalist in Google’s Global Impact Challenge for work on a mobile alert system that enables human rights activists to trigger rapid response from their network in an emergency. Four out of ten projects will win £500,000. Public voting is open until 31 May! You can watch the video and vote here:

If AI wins this Challenge, the work could be scaled up substantially. Amnesty and partners would launch the mobile alert system and directly train and support activist networks globally to set-up and use the system safely as part of their security protocols. 

via Danna Ingleton, Research and Policy Adviser, Individuals at Risk.


New Global Channel For Human Rights Videos launched

May 26, 2012

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

On 24 May 2012 two NGOs, WITNESS and Storyful, launched a new  channel devoted to human rights videos. The channel specializes in collecting and sharing citizen videos relevant to human rights. “The new human rights channel will give people an ‘on-the-ground’ perspective of underexposed stories often absent from mainstream media, highlight ways to take action and develop new collaborations amongst interested citizens,” says Sam Gregory, WITNESS’ Program Director. The exponential growth of portable video devices – especially in developing countries – has enabled everyday citizens to record otherwise hidden abuses and to advance human rights from the grassroots level.

The channel will feature:

  • Daily updates of breaking stories, alerts and related campaign videos
  • Featured stories through playlists gather videos together to provide insight into an evolving situation or an under covered issue
  • Profiles of videographers and organizations on YouTube who have made a major impact or a significant contribution to video for change
  • Tools and tactics offering 20 years of WITNESS expertise in video for change

This project will offer users new avenues for action and impact on Google+, where the broader human rights community will take part in discussions, share their material, and find collaborators.

The channel can be found at the following link:

And the conversation continues on Google+:


from: WITNESS And Storyful Launch New Global Channel For Human Rights Video – PR Newswire – The Sacramento Bee

New Google Privacy Policy Raises Concerns over User Protection | Human Rights First

March 1, 2012

According to Human Rights First, Google’s new privacy policy will impact users all over the world including human rights defenders in the Middle East who use the internet to organize and advocate for freedom and democracy. The piece is short on detail regarding the risks but deserves attention:

New Google Privacy Policy Raises Concerns over User Protection | Human Rights First.

HRDs is the success story of the UN’s social media

January 16, 2012

United Nations Human Rights Council logo.

Image via Wikipedia

Alex Fitzpatrick sat down with Nancy Groves, social media manager at UN headquarters in New York. Groves is part of the Secretariat, the UN body charged with carrying out the day-to-day work of the organization. She maintains an active presence on FacebookTwitterGoogle+YouTubeTumblr and other networks.

Interesting enough she mentions in the interview that the ‘Be a Human Rights Defender’ campaign was in fact the UN’s most successful social effort to date. Under the “Be a Human Rights Defender” campaign, created to celebrate Human Rights Day, Groves’s team pushed out 30 different articles on human rights, each centered around one article in the Declaration of Human Rights. People that shared the articles were titled “Human Rights Defenders.” Groves said it was an excellent way to spread knowledge about rights that a lot of people aren’t aware they have.