he went to the other day and had an interesting experience: Documenting human rights abuses. I tried to write a comment on his site, but somehow his comment script kept rejecting it. So here is my comment:
Information wants to be free… when there isn’t a warlord at the other end of it who will use clear evidence of Western tampering and favouritism (clearly anyone featured in a North American website is supported by the US) as cause to raze the village and stop relief efforts by international organizations.
Information wants to be free… until that warlord repurposes the images to demonstrate how clearly those people need his help and protection and uses them to gain financial support from other organizations in his bid to be seen as the legitimate protector of villages he controls.
Boris I love the idea of the project and think it would be a great thing for you to bring to life. But the concerns they mentioned in the conference are pretty valid. People in parts of the world where basic human rights – food, shelter, right to life – are routinely abused have a lot to fear from such projects, and to do it right I think a group would have to go the extra mile to make sure those problems were addressed, and aggressively so.
I think Karl has hit on part of the solution, but if you are going to move forward with this – which I hope you understand I would thoroughly encourage you to do – I would recommend including a specialist in such development issues on the team. There’s a lot of bad history with abusive media representations of disadvantaged people, and I know you’d want to avoid that as far as possible.
Boris Anthony says
Not sure what’s going on on my server, apologies. Experiencing difficulties with the host again. :(
To answer quickly, it seems again a case where I did not express myself properly on my weblog (that is one of the reasons I do not do much there anymore). The question was based on a hypothetical project, first of all, and yes I agree context is very very important. However, electricity explodes data. That is a reality, I think, some people do not get or cannot accept.
People will always repurpose data for their needs. We just keep making it easier and easier. Trying to restrict that is a Quixote/Windmill affair. Consider me Sancho Panza. Or not. ;)
Thanks for the thoughts and time! It is something that is very much on my mind of late and every perspective is useful.