The Human Rights Technology Consortium is a platform for the collaborative creation and dissemination of knowledge about the use of technology to promote and protect human rights. Founded in March 2014 by Jay Aronson (Carnegie Mellon University), Molly Land (University of Connecticut), and Enrique Piracés (RightsLab), the Consortium has several interrelated goals:
- to foster connections, collaboration and coordination between activists, academics, funders, and advocates working in the field of human rights technology, and in particular North-South connections and collaboration;
- to support efforts to define a scholarly agenda for, and a theoretical framing of, the study of the intersection of human rights and technology;
- to further the understanding of the ethical dimensions of the use of ICTs and advanced data analysis techniques in efforts to promote and protect human rights;
- to offer a means for preserving, in a searchable and accessible format, research results and findings on the applications of new technologies for human rights purposes (including negative results and cautionary tales); and
- to educate technologists about human rights, and human rights advocates about technology.
The Consortium is focused not only on new technological developments but also on the social practices these technologies foster as well as new and innovative applications of older technologies.
The Consortium has identified as a preliminary matter several areas that are of particular interest:
- participatory technologies for humanitarian and human rights purposes;
- the admissibility and analysis of digital information as evidence (audiovisual and textual) in domestic and international human rights litigation;
- collecting, archiving, annotating, and analyzing human rights video, particularly those available online or shared via social media; and
- the ethical dimensions of the use of technology in human rights contexts.