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Part I, 1 Open Source Investigation for Human Rights Reporting: A Brief History

Christoph Koettl, Daragh Murray, Sam Dubberley

From: Digital Witness: Using Open Source Information for Human Rights Investigation, Documentation, and Accountability

Edited By: Sam Dubberley, Alexa Koenig, Daragh Murray

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 23 September 2023

Access to information — Media — NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) — Internet

This chapter discusses the history of using open source information in human rights reporting. It focuses on the period from the late 1990s to the present, the digital age, in which open source research capability has expanded enormously thanks to the advent of publicly available satellite imagery, digital social networks, camera-enabled smartphones, and globally cheap and fast network connectivity. If in the categorization of Philip Alston, the first generation of human rights fact-finding describes the work of intergovernmental bodies, and the second generation represents the methods developed by international non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in the 1970s and 1980s, the chapter covers what Alston calls ‘third-generation fact-finding’, which was largely brought about by significant developments in information and communication technology.

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