Cameras Everywhere Consultancy – RFP
Request For Proposals: Consultant for researching and writing a report on key challenges and opportunities at intersection of human rights, video, social media and emerging technologies/practices
Please check on WITNESS website whether the position has been filled before applying.
Introduction & Overview
WITNESS seeks an experienced researcher and writer (ideally with media production skills) to conduct a desk study based on a literature review and interviews, write a report, and prepare potential additional outputs identifying and delineating key trends, challenges and opportunities at the intersection of human rights, video and technology relevant to WITNESS and a broader field.
This work will inform WITNESS internal strategic planning as well as ongoing work on systemic technology impacts in our Technology Threats and Opportunities program. Additionally it will be promoted as a resource and set of recommendations to the broader technology and human rights sector. The report should be written in an accessible, technically-literate but not technically-exclusionary style, with use of representative examples and case studies.
The report will be published and promoted in 2022 as a WITNESS report with authored credit and other contributors acknowledged. The timeline can be negotiated with the researcher.
Project Contact: email@example.com
For thirty years, WITNESS has helped people use video and technology to protect and defend human rights. WITNESS pairs grassroots community support with advocacy at a systems level. Our team works holistically on a global scale to understand how communities are using and want to use video and technology for human rights. With a cellphone camera, anyone can become a human rights defender and expose injustice, making it harder for perpetrators to hide or for systems of oppression to remain invisible. But using video for community organizing, justice and accountability can be dangerous – videos can put defenders (or those they film) at risk, can be used against communities in court or deceitfully discredited by tired old power narratives. Filming is almost never enough – for videos to make a difference they need to work alongside strong advocacy or legal strategies; they also need to be created, preserved and shared in ways that avoid creating more harm or trauma. New threats to human rights are emerging at the intersection of artificial intelligence, misinformation and disinformation and a global wave of rising authoritarianism.
When it comes to systemic challenges we are on the watch for both existing problems – like how large amounts of critical human rights footage are lost because of the arbitrary decisions of platforms – but also emerging threats and opportunities, such as those posed by ‘deepfakes’, new ways to manipulate media to make it look like someone said or did something they never did.
It is essential to WITNESS’s mission that we identify the key global trends influencing our work at the intersection of video, mobile, Internet, social media and emerging technologies and practices and identify openings for ourselves and others to adapt and improve their work to respond to these potential threats and opportunities.
Ten years ago we published a pioneering report – ‘Cameras Everywhere: Current Challenges and Opportunities at the Intersection of Human Rights, Video and Technology’ (download link) that presciently captured key areas that have informed our work and the sector. Now, we see a critical need to update this report and identify current and relevant trends and insights, so as to inform our own work and the sector.
As examples of areas discussed in the previous report these included:
Key Challenge: Privacy and Safety
- Visual Privacy and Anonymity
- Networked and Mobile Security
Key Challenge: Network Vulnerabilities
- Technology Providers as Human Rights Facilitators
- Video Censorship and Freedom of Expression
- Dual-Use Technology and Freedom of Expression
- Vulnerability in the Cloud
- Network Capacity and Access
Key Challenge: Information Overload, Authentication and Preservation
- Authentication of Content
- Curation and Aggregation
- Preservation of Human Rights Video
Key Challenge: Ethics
- New Ethical Challenges
Key Challenge: Policy
- Policy is Slow, Tech is Fast
- Inconsistent International Standards
WITNESS will work closely with the consultant to ensure an appropriate range of interviewees, and a scope of work relevant to WITNESS and the growing field of human rights, media and technology. WITNESS will also conduct certain interviews and provide digests of the interviews to the consultant.
Phase 1 (4-6 weeks):
- Conduct desk research and interview, individually as well as in small groups, a broad range of relevant stakeholders. These will include a globally representative and diverse range of individuals with relevant lived, technical and professional experience. WITNESS will provide some contacts as part of this process,help the consultant as needed to define the research parameters and questions, take part in some of the interviews, and conduct additional consultations.
- Provide initial synthesis and findings as well as interview summaries (and/or transcripts) to WITNESS (with consent of participants)
- Receive feedback on initial research and confirmation of green light on Phase 2 of second stage of consultancy
Phase 2 (12-16 weeks)
- Finalize the first draft of the report within 3 weeks from when WITNESS greenlights Phase 2
- Round of reviews with feedback on draft/s from WITNESS, over a 3-8 week period (depending on the number of revisions needed)
- Finalize the report 2 weeks after the final review from WITNESS, including an executive summary, report body and recommendations on images/video embeds
- Once a final draft has been submitted by the consultant, WITNESS will conduct editing, copy-editing or any other input needed for the design, launch and outreach, over a period of around 4 weeks
- Phase 1: An initial research synthesis and set of interview summaries
- Phase 2: A research report presented in accessible terms and highlighting key challenges and opportunities at a trend level, with relevant specific examples
- TBC: As proposed by consultant, additional outputs in image or video format
Succinct proposals for how you will approach this project should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
WITNESS will accept rolling proposals until a suitable one has been identified. Our expectations for a fee for the project are within the range of 12,000 – 15,000 USD. However, WITNESS will review and assess proposals – within this range or outside of it – based on the content, experience of the consultant, and proposed time allocation.
Please include in your proposal:
- Your approach to the project
- References to previous work relevant to this project
- Example(s) of key trends you anticipate covering
- Examples of individuals you would interview with relevant lived, professional or technical experience to this topic
- An articulation of how you intend to ensure a globally inclusive approach to considering potential challenges and opportunities
- Proposed fee structure for Phase 1 and 2.
- Proposals for any additional deliverables beyond a text report
Anticipated content lengths (to be confirmed within consultancy agreement)
- Executive summary (2000 words)
- Report text (5000-8000 words)
WITNESS aims to build an inclusive workforce that is reflective of the communities we work with, and actively seeks applications from those who are marginalized and underrepresented.
WITNESS is an equal opportunity employer. People of all ages, races, ethnicities, national origins, religions, genders, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, and individuals protected by any other statuses under international, federal, state or local laws, including but not limited to, disability, marital, domestic partnership, familial, caregiver, transgender, military or veteran statuses, are encouraged to apply.