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Part II, 6 How to Conduct Discovery Using Open Source Methods

Paul Myers

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, 2015. All Rights Reserved.date: 23 November 2020

Subject(s):
Access to information — Media — Internet — Evidence — Fact-finding and inquiry

The challenges faced by human rights researchers when using the web are faced by every professional chasing information on the Internet: finding reliable, useful information on the subject of interest. This chapter explores the techniques that are most useful for researchers working in the human rights arena. If first looks at the basics of information research and how search engines can be manipulated to find the evidence needed. It shows how historical satellite and image evidence can be used to obtain a view of the world from the recent past — essential for seeing when, for example, a storefront changed hands or a building was demolished. Next, it discusses ‘people research’, which involves finding information about an individual person. The chapter also shows how to search for social media posts by location and use images in investigations, and how specialist databases and tools can provide useful contact information and evidence.

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