The Hague Hacks strives to find tech solutions to support and defend human rights. Human rights activists and enthusiasts, design thinkers, and tech specialists came together for an ideation session. The idea? Bringing the worlds of human rights and technology together to transform ideas into action. Our goal was creating a prototype for a warning system that could alert activists when their personal safety was threatened. Supporting the difficult and necessary work that they do.
Event The Hague Hack & Nextview
The Hague Hacks held an event together with Nextview at Nextview’s Design Thinking Centre on the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven. Nextview facilitated sessions and the creation of the first concept-design of an Early Warning System prototype.
The Hague Hacks had the pleasure of welcoming people from a variety of fields. From human rights defenders, tech experts, designers, and interested students. The day started with general information on the structure of the event and information about their projects. Human rights defenders were invited to speak about their lives and the importance of ethical technology to support human rights activism.
Two groups were formed working out a ‘journey’ of a Bangladeshi feminist activist who became the target of human rights violations. The group established the key points in her story and discussed how online harassment against her began and escalated. In the other group, the journey map detailed the story of a man who shared his story from Islam to atheism online. The subsequent storm of online harassment caused him to quit social media for a number of years.
Even though both journey maps had different stories, the groups found some distinct similarities between the two stories. The journey maps showed that both human rights defenders did not intentionally set out to become activists. Their first activity did not come from a political or activist point, but from personal experience and opinions. This meant that they became aware of the importance of safety and privacy online only at a later stage in their work. The lack of a trustworthy source of information about online safety and what actions to take when they received threats was a common theme in both stories.
Design of the Early Warning System
Based on the journey maps, The Hague Hacks began to design their tech solutions. Both groups designed variations of the Early Warning System technology. This technology takes into account the individual stories and viewpoints of human rights defenders but also monitors online trends and movements.
The Hague Hacks has been busy with the development of these design ideas and have come up with a concept-prototype of the Early Warning System technology!