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February 13, 2013-Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention, Technology, Genocide Prevention

Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention: Introducing Our 1st Round of Winners

by MICHAEL KLEINMAN

In the fall, Humanity United partnered with USAID to launch the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention. The goal of the Tech Challenge is to bring technologists and the human rights community together, to facilitate the development of new tools and technologies to help the human rights movement.

The first round of the Challenge opened in late October, offering prizes for the most innovative solutions to two intractable problems: how better to document evidence of atrocities on the ground, and how better to identify third-party enablers of atrocities (i.e. those states, corporations or individuals that offer support to perpetrators).

We are incredibly excited to announce the winners. The first place prize for $5,000 on the documentation challenge went to a partnership between Physicians for Human Rights, DataDyne and InformaCam for developing the Kivu Link. This mobile app will equip doctors and nurses with critical tools for collecting, documenting and preserving court-admissible forensic evidence of mass atrocities including sexual violence and torture.

The second prize for $3,000 went to a mobile application that allows uses to covertly take pictures while simultaneously recording the location and time (EXIF) data during internet blackout situations in a hostile environment using an encrypted peer-to-peer Bluetooth network.

The third prize for $2,000 was split between two entries. Bonnie Feudinger, Brian Laning and Heather Vernon from the MCW Biotechnology and Bioengineering Center proposed the International Evidence Locker app, designed to collect relevant evidence, maintain a clear chain of custody of the evidence so that it's admissible in judicial proceedings, and protect the witnesses collecting the evidence. The Signal Program Harvard Humanitarian Initiative proposed AMALGAM: Automated Mass Atrocity Algorithmic Analysis Methodology. This is a open-source platform to allow analysts to easily and systematically process and share remote sensing data specific to predetermined geospatial phenomena.

The first place prize for $5,000 for the enablers challenge went to Le-Marie Thompson of Nettadonna LLC, for her proposal for an Electronic Component Validation Tool for New Product Development, which address the challenge of companies unintentionally sourcing microelectronic components from suppliers that produce components using conflict materials.

The second prize for $3,000 went to Fiona Mati of Kenya for her app Conscious Vacations, which seeks to put pressure on state perpetrators (and those who commercial interests who support them) by helping tourists avoid countries whose leaders are implicated in human rights abuses.

The third prize for $2,000 went to the The Enough Project, for their proposal to combine front-line research with cutting-edge data mining technology to identify and stop enablers of mass atrocities.

We're also very excited to announce that the next round of the Tech Challenge will open in late February! Stay tuned.

Michael Kleinman is a director of Investments, based in our San Francisco office.