Carnegie Mellon University
June 01, 2017

Article: Human Rights Digital Evidence

Jay Aronson Examines the Preservation of Human Rights-related Digital Evidence in new Article in Genocide Studies and Prevention

Preserving Human Rights Media for Justice, Accountability, and Historical Clarification

This article examines the preservation of digital images and video (and the social media or Internet pages in which they are embedded) that provide information about human rights abuses and war crimes. Archival collections have played a crucial role in historical clarification and justice and accountability efforts in the aftermath of human rights abuse and war crimes. The ubiquity of smart phones with good cameras and social media has dramatically increased the amount of visual data available to investigate such crimes. However, this data often disappears quickly from public view and can be challenging to introduce into legal or other official proceedings because of questions of authenticity. The analysis presented here integrates insights from archival science, human rights documentation, and law. It also highlights important technical, legal, and ethical issues that must be taken into consideration by organizations or individuals engaged in the preservation of human rights media.

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