Fall 2021 Donoho Colloquium

Surveilling the Surveillers: How New Tech Aids the Investigation of Human Rights Abuses and Grave International Crimes

Available on YouTube

Wednesday, October 27th @5pm

Filene Auditorium, Moore Hall - Dartmouth College


Alexa Koenig, JD, PhD, is executive director of UC Berkeley's Human Rights Center (winner of the 2015 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions), director of the center's Technology and Human Rights Program, and a lecturer in UC Berkeley's School of Law. She co-founded UC Berkeley's Investigations Lab, which trains students and professionals to use digital research methods to strengthen investigative reporting, legal investigations, and human rights advocacy. Alexa is also a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility and co-chair of the International Bar Association's Human Rights Law Committee, among other posts. She has been honored with the United Nations Association-SF's Global Human Rights Award, the Mark Bingham Award for Excellence, and as a 2020 Woman Inspiring Change by Harvard Law School. Recent books include Digital Witness: Using Open Source Information for Human Rights Investigation, Documentation and Accountability (Oxford University Press 2020) and Hiding in Plain Sight (UC Press 2016). 


A global pandemic has accelerated the 21st-century trend of using online public information to investigate allegations of human rights abuses and international crimes, turning a skillset that was a "nice to have" into a "need to have." Today, a diverse array of factfinders—including investigative reporters, international legal investigators, and human rights researchers—use digital means to "surveil the surveillers," and convert the information they find into powerful forms of evidence and advocacy. In this talk, Alexa Koenig discusses this fast-moving phenomenon, including critical gains that have been made to adopt and adapt new technologies and digital research methods to strengthen justice worldwide--and what's likely to come next.