Honoring the Pledge of Never Again: Modern Tools for an Ongoing Challenge

Uploaded by whitehouse on 23.04.2012

Samantha Power: It is a great pleasure.
This is going to be a very interesting panel.
We have a combination of US Government Official in the
form of Deputy Administrator, Don Steinberg, Alec Ross,
who is Secretary Clinton's Senior Adviser on innovation and
one of the most creative people probably the US Government has
ever known, Sam Gregory from Witness,
John Hudson from the Satellite Sentinel Project.
John, I hope you heard the shout out that you got in the
President's speech today, the reference to satellites and all
the new tools being used by the advocates.
And, of course, Ben Keesey from Invisible Children,
so this is a veritable dream team.
And we also have a number of technology gurus and innovators
in the audience as well.
Feel free to take bathroom breaks and so forth.
Because we didn't build in breaks,
because we wanted to maximize the content.
So just come and go as you choose.
But, again, this should be a great panel.
And just to preview again, we are going to go to Africa panel
thereafter, specifically on Sudan and the LRA,
and then we are very fortunate that Ben Rhodes who is the
President's Deputy of the National Security Adviser
and the head of Strategic Communications here has written
and worked with the President on some of the best speeches that
you have seen the President give over the years.
He will be with us as well as our closing speaker.
Thank you.
Alec Ross: Terrific. Well, thank you, Samantha.
I am Alec Ross, I am Secretary Of State,
Hillary Clinton's Senior Adviser for Innovation.
And since we are focused on modern technologies,
social media and the like, we are going to try to act in the
spirit of those interactive medium.
And instead of having opening statements from the panel,
what we are going to have is just maximum two,
three sentence introductions of themselves and of their
organization and then we are going to get right into it.
We are going to begin with questions.
Take questions from you.
Take questions from social media.
And so with that, if I could turn first to John.
John Hudson: Thanks, Alex. Alec.
I am the Director of Communications for the
Enough Project which focuses on ending genocide and crimes
against humanity.
I am also a spokesperson for the Satellite Sentinel Project which
is led by a Harvard Humanitarian Initiative Digital Globe,
and the Enough Project.
And it is the world's first early warning system for human
rights and human security.
Ben Keesey: And hi, everyone, I am Ben Keesey with Invisible Children.
It is an honor to be here.
Invisible Children started when our founders met an amazing
woman named Jolie, Who is sitting in the front row.
And when they got to know a boy named Jacob who is sitting in
the back row.
So it is great to be alongside of them today.
That was nine years ago and since then,
Invisible Children has been on the quest to both make the
atrocities there are known and then contribute towards
their end.
Sam Gregory: Hi, my name is Sam Gregory.
And I am the Program Director for Witness.
We help people use video for human rights.
We work world wide thinking how do you enable people to create,
share, and use videos in ways that are ethical, safe,
and impactful?
And I run our Cameras Everywhere Initiative which thinks that now
that millions of people have the tools in their hands,
usually cell phones, to document human rights,
how do we turn that into genuine political change?
Don Steinberg: And I am Don Steinberg.
I have already introduced myself,
but the one thing you have to know about me is I am probably
the least tech savvy person in this entire room.
But the beauty is that I have surrounded myself with the
people who really know how to use technology for this purpose.
Alec Ross: It is never too late, Don.
Don Steinberg: It is in my case.
Alec Ross: Come on, Secretary Clinton is texting.
So let's, let's dive right into things.
So we are talking about modern tools for ongoing challenges.
Yet a lot of the places we are talking about geographically are
not necessarily places that we think of principally in terms
of their connectedness, in terms of having 21st
century infrastructure.
So if I could ask Sam Gregory from Witness first,
if I could ask you the first question.
Sam, is there something, is there an implicit limitation
to the effectiveness of digital tools in preventing
or responding to mass atrocities when the place
where the atrocities might be taking place is someplace that
might be not as connected else where like the Central African
Republic or the East Congo or what have you?
Sam Gregory: I think this is really a question about which
tools we are using.
And also about what we are expecting they will do.
And if we think about genocide prevention and mass atrocity
prevention, there is you know four things we want to do.
We want to prevent it happening.
We want to mobilize people to take action against it.
We want to warn people who are maybe in communities nearby
about the risk, and we want to hold people accountable.
And you know I can talk about the experience within my own
work of working with groups in Eastern Congo and the Democratic
Republic of the Congo, where there is not huge
amounts of data.
So there may only be small amounts and in the case of
my work, video.
But when used appropriately and shifted out of the networks,
it can be used very effectively to mobilize
people internationally, to put pressure in the case of,
of the work we were doing on the International Criminal Court to
follow-up on the case of Thomas Lubanga, a DRC war Lord.
And also to hold people accountable.
So I think that is a starting point.
I also think we need to think about the range of technology
and recognize the importance of SMS and very basic cell phone
networks as a way of connecting with people particularly when
they are connected to radio.
And I know Invisible Children has done really great work
around that with the LRA crisis strike up.
And then I think the thing that is really important is to look
ahead really and think about how quickly this is changing.
So even in places that feel like they have low connectivity now,
that is shifting very rapidly.
So in six months last year, there were 350,000
$80 cell phones.
Smart phones, sold in Kenya produced by a Chinese
manufacturer of Wawai.
The predictions are there will be a 36 times increase in mobile
data traffic in the middle east and Africa in the next
five years.
So I think we need to start thinking ahead to how we are
going to turn the documentation that will come out of the places
we currently think of as unconnected into information
that will generate political action and political will and
look ahead and be really ready for that.
Alec Ross: That is terrific. Thank you.
Let me turn now to Benjamin Keesey.
Benjamin, one of the best known examples of using technology and
social media and video specifically as an amplifier
for awareness around mass atrocities is the work that
your organization recently did with producing the Kony videos.
Could you tell us how many people actually watch those
videos first?
And secondly, so a lot of people,
you are going to give us a number,
but I already know it is a big number.
So what would you say it actually accomplished?
Ben Keesey: Sure. Sure. Yeah, thank you.
Well, our goal was for 500,000 people for watch it.
Alec Ross: You hit that goal, didn't you?
Ben Keesey: We did. Rather quickly.
Very unexpectedly.
Alec Ross: Yeah.
Ben Keesey: You know, and I think even before I talk about the amount
of people that saw it,
the goal was to introduce the story of the LRA to
a new audience.
And for the main purpose of this,
President Obama said it and I wrote it down, he said, that,
"There is bigotry that says this.
Another person is less than equal to me.
And less than human.
These are the seeds of hate."
And I think since the beginning of Invisible Children,
that has been one thing that has changed
our lives as individuals.
And that is through film what we want to share with the world.
That human beings have inherent value and should
be treated equally.
And so when we made Kony 2012, our goal was for 500,000
people to get that message.
Now, here six weeks later, it has been 140 million
around the world.
And of that, over you know, 3.5 million have signed on to a
pledge that says, you know, they are asking their world leaders
to unite, to come together and to end the atrocities -- end the
atrocities of the LRA.
And what we have seen is, when the people respond,
policy makers follow.
That is the belief that the secret starts the awareness
and that goes to informed action and, you know,
the President's announcement today that they are renewing
their commitment for the broad and comprehensive strategy that
the United States is helping towards, you know,
helping the regional effort is just one example of how we as
citizens, we as young people, we as, you know,
every element of society, we have a role to play and our
voices can be heard.
Alec Ross: Terrific, thank you.
Don Steinberg, you and I are book ending innovation here.
We are the two, two guys from government and sitting between
you and I are three individuals and three institutions that are
all notable for having innovated using information communications
technology tools from within civil society.
So given the degree to which connection technologies have
become powerful tools within this space,
what is the appropriate role for government?
How should government adapt especially in the face of so
much of the innovation coming from the NGO sector?
Don Steinberg: We need to recognize that we have a very
specific role in this exercise.
We have diplomatic pressure that we can bring to bare to
facilitate the entry of social communication.
We have convening authority that we can be using.
We can reduce the risks.
We can use our diplomacy, in order to open up space for the
activities that we are seeing here.
When I, when I come to this space,
I look at what we have done in the area of prevention of
natural disasters, where we have been very aggressive.
We have a tool at USAID called Fuse Net where we
use geo-spatial technology, we use digital communications,
We use a variety of methods to try to anticipate where
the next disaster is going to occur from an ecological
and drought standpoint.
We need to be applying those same sorts of tools
in this space.
And so, for example, we are working with the,
with a number of our colleagues on the table to actually build
solar towers for cell phones in the regions of low connectivity.
And what that is going to do in the Eastern, Central,
African Republic and in the Congo is to give those literally
6 billion cell phones around the world greater connectivity,
to tell us earlier on, where we should be putting
our ounce of prevention.
Alec Ross: That is fantastic.
And I think this is consistent with a lot of the direction that
USAID is heading in, which is elevating
innovation within development.
That is impressive.
Let me turn to John Hudson from the Satellite Sentinel Project.
You guys have taken a decade's old technology in satellite
imaging and you have applied it in a completely new way.
Could you tell us what you are doing?
John Hudson: Well, we are certainly standing on the shoulders of giants.
Others before us have used satellite technology in the
human rights arena.
Notably Amnesty International, and Eyes On Darfur Project,
the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Others have done that before.
But our killer app, Alec, was not the technology,
as you said it is decades old.
It is really collaboration.
It is getting the private sector, a company like Google,
Academia, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and a commercial
satellite firm, Digital Globe to collaborate with us, you know,
NGO Activists at the Enough Project,
to build this early warning system for human rights and
human security.
One of the key challenges for the US Intelligence Community
is sharing information in teams.
Even in the same building, people tend to have a lot of
siloing of information, right.
And it is hard to get information quickly shared
between team members even in the same agency and even more
difficult between agencies and even more difficult between the
US Government and our allies.
So one of the advantages that we have at the Satellite Sentinel
Project is the use of commercial satellite imagery.
Which the video of that, it is unclassified so you can share
it with anyone very quickly.
We can transparently share in near real time,
high resolution of commercial satellite imagery of emerging
crisis of the expectation that better,
faster imagery makes for stronger,
faster responses to emerging crisis around the world.
Alec Ross: So let me ask, let me ask a follow-up question to that.
And then we are going to take a question from Twitter.
And as a reminder, ask your questions using the
hashtag, WHChat.
One follow-up question, though, John,
the key asset that you are talking about, is intelligence.
It is information.
Could there be any unintended consequences of your publishing
this information?
Could dictators use your images or your information for their
own purposes?
John Hudson: Absolutely.
Dictators quickly adapt to the new tools and technologies and
we must expect and counter adapt to their,
their use of technology as well.
You know, Twitter and Facebook have been used by student
leaders in the Arabs frame.
They have also been used by dictators in places like the
Assad Regime in Syria.
Or the Khartoum Regime in Sudan to,
to entrap youth leaders and to expose networks.
And, yeah, we do have a responsibility to say that
because we are engaged in, you know,
crisis mapping and the fusion of satellite imagery along with
sources from the ground, eyewitnesses,
we have to know that we are dealing with populations who
are at risk of being arrested, beaten, tortured or worse.
And so we have to be honest with ourselves and say just because
our intentions are pure, doesn't mean that we couldn't create
some unintended risks for the populations whom we are trying
to help.
There is a real need to develop in the crisis mapping community
standards of ethics and professionalism.
Some of our colleagues at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
and Harvard Carr Center for Human Rights Policy are very
interested in engaging the entire crisis mapping community
to develop such standards and, and professional ethics and
accountability mechanisms to address those very
real concerns.
Alec Ross: And so you are saying that brings two things
immediately to mind.
One is something that Secretary Clinton has said about
technology generally.
She says our information networks are like nuclear power,
they can fuel a city or destroy it.
And the second thing that occurs to me is exactly that which you
described is a lot of what propelled the issuance of the
President's executive order today,
which is recognizing that the same technologies that can be
allowed to facilitate the free flow of information,
can also be used to surveil one's people,
can also be used to oppress one's people.
So I think the points that you made very compellingly,
undergirt a lot of the thinking that went into the President's
executive order today.
So a question from Twitter from Don Verderoso (phonetic).
How can social media photos and video be used in a legal context
to prosecute and prevent atrocities?
Who would like to step up to that?
Sam Gregory: I think this is a, a really important question because it
goes to how we respond to what citizens do for themselves to
try and challenge and document atrocities and
to secure accountability.
And I know it has come up in the context of the ICC
investigations in Libya.
Is all of this citizen shot footage of what went on and how
that can, can, can, can play a role in a potential trial there.
At the moment, it is quite complicated.
Citizen social media isn't, hasn't had a very prominent
place for -- in the ways we prosecuted war crimes,
tribunals and at the International Criminal Court
and I think it is somewhere where we need to make an effort.
Otherwise, we are going to be putting in front of people this
opportunity and saying, look you can document,
you have the tools.
We want your voice to be heard, but we are then going to exclude
it from the space where accountability is secured.
My own organization is working on ways to address that.
We have been working on a, tools that think about how the data
you gather on a cell phone meets evidentiary requirements.
And I think there is a lot of initiative that can be taken in
this area to really think how we transfer and turn citizen action
and agency into the types of information that will also fit
in formal processes like war crimes, tribunals.
Alec Ross: Fascinating.
Why don't we turn to the audience now?
I see in this audience there are a lot of digital natives.
So I, I anticipate that there are a lot of good observations
and good questions that would come from this,
from this audience.
So why don't we turn directly to this audience.
Audience Member: Hi there.
I am -- (inaudible) -- and I am here with my friends
from Duke University.
I just wanted to say thanks for coming out.
So my question is related to technology.
You know, as students we realize that social media and videos,
they are awesome in terms of the 21st century fighting for
atrocities prevention.
All you need is a flip cam to make an impact, right?
I think what we have also realized is you know that with
that great power, comes a great responsibility.
As Daniel Solomon mentioned earlier,
we still need to shift the narrative to emphasize empathy,
not sympathy.
And I guess the question from me,
may be directed to you Mr. eesey.
In terms of what the Kony 2012 campaign,
there has been a lot of lessons learned in the past six weeks in
terms of using narratives, how we use narratives for
atrocities prevention.
Number one, first question is what do you think Invisible
Children, your organization has learned?
Is there anything about your narrative you would change given
the conversation that has happened over the
past six weeks?
And number two, given the organic nature of social media,
now, how do we emphasize responsible narratives for
students all across the country?
You know at the grass roots level.
Ben Keesey: Yeah. Great questions.
Thank you.
Well, I think one thing that we have learned is that and again I
would say it, I said at the beginning.
We in this room maybe take it for granted that we live in a
society that most people value human life around the world.
And I think we are still, that movement is still
growing, right?
And so I think part of the purpose and the way that we
think about things and we are building you know films or
campaigns at Invisible Children, how do we tell
that most basic story?
The most basic story of the equality of human life?
And the value of human life and the global human connection.
So that is a part of our thinking now.
To answer your question about what have we learned over these
past six weeks, gosh, I mean I could spend hours.
Because it has been such an intense time.
One thing we learned is it is really hard to have
a global audience.
You know, when you are speaking to one audience you are able in
your short amount of time, having a message with them,
have that message be very appropriate.
But what we saw with Kony 2012 is you know,
it started in the US, it started primarily with young people and
it spread all around the world.
So having an audience that is, or a narratives that is relevant
towards the global community is more difficult.
One thing that, one specific thing that we learned was,
having the, the story of a war survivor there right after the
film which is the model for most of our screenings.
They are usually done like in high school gyms or a college
gymnasium, where when the movie ends a war survivor stands up
and speaks.
That is such a powerful model, and we need,
we want to figure out a way to do that if and when we do
another on line campaign in the same format.
So I think, if that answers your question.
In terms of the social media question,
I think it has been amazing to see, as a result of the film,
young people that are now messaging their member of
Congress, messaging their Parliament.
And a little secret to all of us that have been on Twitter and
Facebook for a long time, there is still a lot of United States
Senators who maybe have a thousand or
1,500 Twitter followers.
Because they are really new at it.
So if you send them a message and they are handling their
account personally, they will see it.
And I think using social media has been a big way that you know
in the six weeks since the movie launched,
young people have gotten members of Congress in this
country to introduce.
There has been seven pieces of legislation introduced related
to the LRA in the last six weeks, and, you know,
two of the main resolutions now have over hundred co-sponsors in
the House and the Senate in a bipartisan way.
So they are powerful tools.
And when we use them, you know, your voice can get heard very
directly and very quickly.
Alec Ross: Thank you.
Let's continue with questions from the audience.
And again if you want, if you are watching the live stream
and you have questions that you would like to ask through
Twitter, it is hashtag: WHChat.
Yes, sir.
Ben Brockman: Thank you. My name is Ben Brockman.
And I am a student at the University of Pennsylvania.
And a former State Department intern.
So I think it is one of the great things about today is
we have a number of folks from government,
but also from civil society.
And I was wondering and this is for everyone on the panel,
how can we keep this conversation going?
And utilize the Atrocity Prevention Board to keep all of
these groups and conversations going between the civil society
folks and the government folks?
Maybe using the prevention board as kind of this mechanism where
it can serve as a meeting place.
So for the civil society folks, how -- what are you looking for
in the government to better engage?
And on the flip side, for the USAID gentleman and the State
Department, how can we better connect with civil society to
keep those connections and conversations going
on these topics?
Alec Ross: Great. Thank you.
Why don't we start with the board member,
with Mr. Steinberg and work our way down.
Don Steinberg: Well, the beauty is that two years ago,
many of the people that who are on the Atrocity Prevention Board
were in civil society.
So Samantha and I both played a part for example in the USIP
Holocaust Museum study on the prevention of genocide,
and now we are having a chance to implement what we are doing.
One of the key things that we said at that point was no one
has a monopoly on good ideas.
No one has monopoly on financial resources.
No one has a monopoly on ground truth.
And no one clearly has a monopoly on moral authority
in this space.
And so one of the things we built into the Atrocity
Prevention Board are regular consultations
with civil society.
And not just in this kind of a setting.
But sitting down in a room at the White House, and saying,
okay, what is going on in Eastern Congo?
What are the ideas that you have about how we go after the LRA
now that it is so amorphous?
What can we be doing more in the serious situation?
And again, these are worked into the official guidelines of the
Atrocity Preventions Board and we will be back in touch with
you about what the procedures will be.
Sam Gregory: I am excited to see how, how the board works.
Let me put, two, two thoughts out that go to the role of
technology particularly in this.
And to the stakeholders in the government but also in
the technology community, the technology companies.
Because I think a lot of what can happen in terms of genocide
prevention can come out of citizen will,
our use of the tools we have at hand,
but those two stakeholders have a huge sway in our ability to
use them effectively at a global and national level.
And so I would be excited to see an interaction between the board
and the work that, for example, that I know Alec has been
leading with Secretary of State Clinton around Internet freedom.
And keeping the mobile infrastructure free.
It is no good if people have the ability to communicate with it,
to each other in their communities,
to document if I can get shot off at a moment's notice.
And people don't have that ability to share information.
It is going to really cripple our efforts at a local level.
Take Israel, I anticipate more citizens moving in
this direction.
So that is one thing at the government level.
And then the second level, is the role of
the technology companies.
I know there are some representatives here from
Google and Facebook and I encourage them.
And I know they are all are ready to think about their role
in enabling the freedom of expression that allows people to
document, to share, and to mobilize around a lot of human
rights issues, but obviously at the most critical moments around
mass atrocities, really thinking about how they enable that space
for people who are in critical challenging
situations to do that.
Those two stakeholders are acting in that way,
will enable civil society to do what it does really well which
is to self organize, to act, to challenge abuses that are going
on around them.
Alec Ross: Good.
Why don't we take one more question from Twitter and then
we will go back to the audience.
A question from Twitter from Andrew Kirshner.
He asked, is using technology to raise awareness enough?
How can we further these tools as a medium for change?
Who would like to step up to that?
Ben Keesey: I could add, I could make a quick comment.
I think it goes in line with one of your earlier comments
about how does digital and technology work in areas
that aren't as connected.
As places in the west and I think we have seen with our
work in Central Africa and the Republic and the DRC,
if there can be a fusion between low tech and high tech,
there can be a really strong partnership.
So one quick example is there is a man named Abebiwa (phonetic)
who leads a parish in the DRC that is really effected
by LRA violence.
And they had a system of a really low tech radio network
using HF radios.
You know, it is like basically a high powered walkie talkie,
it bounces off of the ionosphere.
And we were able to support that and fund the rehabilitation of
some of these radios and then pull that through Sales Force,
a database to be able to publish that to the web.
So I think it takes that appropriate use of low tech to
high tech partnerships to bring some of this stuff from the
physicalized world to the digital world.
John Hudson: I would say that beyond awareness,
we need to move toward accountability and technology
can help do things such as track assets under control by a regime
members, of dictatorial regimes.
And at the Satellite Sentinel Project we are interested in
moving from awareness to accountability in terms
of gathering evidence and documenting evidence of
mass atrocities to a standard that could,
it could be introduced at a war crimes trial in the hague.
And so, you know, we interview people who are witnesses,
eyewitnesses to mass killings and mass graves.
We corroborate that with, in many cases,
on the ground photos, videos, documents,
and the commercial satellite imagery donated generously by
Digital Globe.
But for us it is just not about awareness,
it is about focusing awareness toward that
accountability moment.
Alec Ross: Great. Mr. Don Steinberg.
Don Steinberg: In our development side of the house,
we have found that the innovative ideas of students
and researchers around America, has yielded incredible benefits.
We know that students at MIT, sitting around their dorm
rooms have come up with solutions to take arsenic
out of ground water.
Some kids at UCLA came up with the solution to find how to use
a telephone to do testing for malaria instantaneously.
There is a 17-year-old girl who spoke here at the White House
who came up with the solution for finding where land mines
are in the ground.
And I know because I was the President's adviser for fighting
land mines that we spent millions of dollars through
DARPA trying to replicate the nose of a dog.
Trying to get bees to tell us where the land mines were.
Well, we should have just asked this 17-year-old who came up
with the answer.
So one of the things that the President announced today was a,
was a tech challenge for atrocity prevention.
And what this means, working with Humanity United,
USAID has put together a challenge to all of you
to come up with that next solution and you will be
financially rewarded for it.
It is a very generous tech award.
But we want you to come up with the solutions and tell us,
how can you, for example, I talked before about the
problem with Rwanda.
Well, there were people doing broadcasts in Rwanda over Mille
Collines calling out for people to go out and attack.
And we sat trying to analyze that.
Well, we now have digital voice recognition techniques.
How can you apply that as we start listening to what they
are saying in the rural areas of the DRC or Kordofan or whatever?
So that is the first challenge that we have issued.
But we have another challenge which is a grand challenge for
development, where over the course of the next eight months,
we are going to be going out to businesses around the country,
to NGO's, back to the universities, saying,
put your best minds on this issue.
And not only will you get, quote, a prize,
but you will get funding to take the project that you are talking
about to scale, in terms of preventing genocide all around
the world.
This couldn't be a higher priority for us.
Alec Ross: That is fabulous. Thank you.
So we have four or five minutes left.
So why don't we take the remaining time to gather a
hand full of questions from the audience and rather than
responding to them individually, we'll collect them up and allow
the panelists to have a final word each responding to the
questions which you can within the constraints of time.
So if we could start first in the back.
Yes, Ma'am.
Janice Kamenir-Reznik: Yes. Last year, my name is Janice Kamenir-Reznik from
Jewish World March, a Los Angeles based grass roots
anti-genocide organization.
Last year, I was part of the Dodd Frank legislation.
There was a piece of legislation about conflict
minerals in Congo.
And I am wondering because it seems like the implementation
of that provision which talked about auditing the minerals from
-- that are, that are used for all of our digital devices,
it seems like the implementation would be delayed because the SCC
has not yet promulgated the regulations or released the
regulations in terms of how those, that audit will be done.
And I am wondering if any of you in the tech world have begun to
figure out a way that through, through private resourcefulness,
we can figure out a way to audit the minerals to ascertain which
minerals are coming from the illicitly mined locations
in Congo.
Alec Ross: Thank you.
John Hudson: Well, at the Enough Project we have been
talking with the private sector.
With companies like Apple, or Hewlett Packard or Motorola,
about ways to trace, audit, and certify supply chains to free
them of the conflict minerals that fuel ongoing mass
atrocities in Eastern Congo.
And we are also very engaged with civil society leaders from
groups on the ground in the DRC, the Democratic Republic of Congo
to get their solutions about how to not just clean up the supply
chains but also have alternative livelihoods for artisanal miners
who are displaced by the interruption of,
of the conflict minerals trade that is putting guns in the
hands of warlords.
How do we give them alternative livelihoods,
other ways to make a sustainable living that is treating them
fairly to have a safe job and that pays a living wage?
Alec Ross: Thank you, John.
Other questions from the audience?
Yes, Ma'am.
Right here in the middle.
And what we'll do is we will take this question and then one
more and then we'll go back to the panel.
Audience Member: My name is Ali Cruperponte (phonetic).
I am also a student the University of Pennsylvania
and the Kony 2012 video is something we have been
discussing a lot on campus.
And one of the issues that sort of came up was we also saw the
media as a very sort of democratic platform when
we talk about developed countries, a lot of people
are sort of involved in social media.
On a global scale, there seems to be a real sort of exclusion
of voices in developing countries,
simply because they don't have access to these platforms.
And in addition, one of the sort of interesting phenomenons that
happens with social media is that there is no real sort of
scrutiny or sort of like way of sort of evaluating the merits of
videos that go viral.
The stranger things that go viral on the Internet.
And I guess sort of my question for the panel was,
how should we think about sort of accountability in terms of
social media and sort of understanding that you know not
all voices are sort of equally represented on these platforms?
And some of the voices that we should be listening to aren't
really able to speak out on these platforms.
Alec Ross: Thank you. And final question in the back.
Yes, Ma'am.
Please just wait real quick for the microphone so that we can
hear you on the Internet.
Angie Holland: Hi, I am Angie Holland from Towson University
and came with the Resolve.
I had a question and also Mr. Steinberg,
I join you in the last tech savvy group.
I am 21 and I still don't really get Twitter which is one of the
most basic social media networks.
But on top of that, I guess at least to my next question of,
do you think social media can work too fast where it comes to
a human issue, there is less human interaction?
In terms of people going on the Internet and posting blogs,
and when I think that is great, I think it is also hard now to
kind of go to your next door neighbor and talk
about these issues.
And so are there any ways with social media that you hope to
use that and create more personal interactions?
I know Invisible Children uses Laertes and makes them come to
the screenings and talk.
But I just think that it is kind of discouraging with the social
media with human actions.
Alec Ross: Thank you.
So I think there is actually a common theme between those
two questions because they really go at the,
at the core of the question of accountability and efficacy.
So if we could, Sam, why don't we start with you.
And if we could have just very short responses,
we'll transition from this to our final panel once again.
Sam Gregory: I think of it as two questions.
As one, which I hope is a relatively short-term one
which there is a disparity at the moment on who gets heard on,
in social media which excludes the voices often from the places
where human rights abuses are happening.
I think there is a really important role now for spaces
that amplify that and really do their best to make sure those
voices are heard if we think internationally.
I have a huge respect for websites like Global Voices,
Witness itself tries to do similar things.
Has been working on a human rights channel on Youtube that
will amplify some of these under covered voices and try
to push them up.
I think the trust one is really hard to address.
I think there are increasingly people who are finding ways to
work out which social media to trust.
They do that algorithmically.
So things like a tool being developed by a group called
Ushahidi called SwiftRiver and they do it by looking the same
way we trust other people.
We trust people who we have listened to before who have
told us good things before.
Who will come back and talk to us again the next time we
have a question.
Versus people who are a single source that we will never talk
to again.
And so I think if we start applying those in social media
it is also about our conversations as well
going to the second part of the question or the second question.
Alec Ross: Okay. Ben.
Ben Keesey: Yeah.
I think one way I would maybe address it is I think there is
a, there is sometimes a tension between narratives that appeal
to a mass audience and deep sophisticated policy messaging.
And I think even from my own experience,
it took me a couple of years just to understand the acronyms
and some of the words that are used in these circles.
And so I think when you are trying to reach massive amounts
of new people, your, your message needs to
be a little different.
Now, one of the previous questions of lessons that we
learned at Invisible Children, before you launch a goal,
a media campaign that is going to get a hundred million views,
your PR team needs to be more than one intern.
So for us it has been a scramble to kind of get
some other voices heard.
We have done that recently.
We made a part two, Kony 2012 part two that is a lot more
voices from the ground and a lot more follow-up videos that bring
a lot more of those voices out as well.
Alec Ross: John, do you want to wrap things up for us?
John Hudson: Well, let's remember on the tech front,
one of the fastest growing populations of Smart Phone
users is in Africa.
That is true throughout Africa, people are starting
to join the conversation.
And it is also important for us to support the efforts in the
agency of, of people who are joining the conversation under
their own terms.
One thing that I have been involved in is mentoring a group
in the Nuba Mountains where people are hiding in caves
and facing daily bombardment from the Khartoum Regime.
And yet they have laptops, they have video cameras,
they have solar chargers and we can converse.
And they are sharing information, eyewitness reports,
and visual evidence from the ground that we can then go and
corroborate with Satellite Sentinel Project images.
And so let's not assume, however dire the circumstances,
that people don't have their own agency and ability to join the
tech conversation.
People are very innovative in Africa and in places where there
are emerging crisis around the world.
Alec Ross: Yes. And we are going to have a final word
from our board member.
Don Steinberg: I just wanted to say, that when I accepted the offer
to join the board, I said that our participation in the board
was going to be judged on four bases.
First of all, whether we were establishing time bound goals.
Secondly, whether those goals were measured and monitored on
a regular basis.
Third, whether we were expanding financial,
and human resources for this issue.
And fourth, whether we were identifying individuals who
would be accountable.
Personally accountable for the actions that take place under
the board.
I would invite all of you to hold the entire board to those
same standards.
Alec Ross: Thank you.
That seems an appropriate note to conclude on.