Program Associate – Technology, Threats and Opportunities
WITNESS helps people use video and technology to protect and defend 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. And the actions of courageous individuals and communities at a grassroots level are conditioned by the structures and decisions of global technology platforms and emerging technologies that are distant and unaccountable to their needs. New threats to human rights are emerging at the intersection of artificial intelligence, misinformation and disinformation and a global wave of rising authoritarianism.
WITNESS pairs grassroots community support, and broad learning and sharing with advocacy at a systems level on challenges. Our team works holistically on a global scale to understand how communities are using and want to use video and technology for human rights. 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, or an event happened that never occurred. This is where you come in – you will work closely to support the Program Director and to be a critical team member within the group that works within the broader Program team to identify and respond to existing and emerging opportunities for systemic work to protect and enhance the use of video and technology for human rights.
We are re-building the Technology Threats and Opportunities Team to reflect WITNESS’s vision of a globally-distributed, diverse and empowered team focused on advancing human rights through video and technology. You will work most closely with the Program Director, who leads this area of work as well as focuses on overall strategic direction for the organization. You will work alongside Regional Managers and regional social media consultants who are engaged with online and offline communities who use video and technology for good, and face the challenges. You will collaborate with other TTO team members who focus on specific project areas (for example, emerging forms of misinformation and disinformation, or supporting better preservation of critical videos on platforms).
The Program Associate for Technology Threats and Opportunities will support logistics, research and preparation work for the Program Director both within the TTO work area as well as in the broader area of strategic foresight for the organization. They will support specific projects for the broader TTO team such as convening work to bring together key experts with lived, professional or technical experience. They will be the back-stop for the broader regional WITNESS team in understanding critical incident response systems they need to tap into – for example, to support a partner organization to challenge the removal of critical human rights footage from a social media platform.
WITNESS is strongly committed to challenging existing power structures in the technology world. Candidates from outside the US and those with practitioner and activist experience working closely with marginalized and vulnerable populations, or from communities facing technology-enabled rights abuses, are particularly encouraged to apply.
We have a preference for candidates based in the Americas timezones. However, please note this is not a regionally-focused position but one working with team members across the WITNESS global team.
Supporting Program Director in Technology Threats and Opportunities work as well as Strategic Direction
- Support the Program Director administratively with logistics, research, and follow-up for ongoing work, projects and convenings
- Support Program Director with briefings and preparation for key meetings and relationships
- Support Program Director in developing and maintaining a more structured approach to identifying future trends and emerging threats and opportunities, including supporting a range of staff to participate in this actively
- Support Program Director on overall planning and implementation of strategic foresight
- Update and maintain Salesforce, Contacts and other applicable data or organizational records related to Program Director
- Maintain other existing systems that support our work in TTO area, including tracking spreadsheets and metrics
- Manage the monthly credit card reconciliations, reimbursement requests, timesheet allocations, and related admin functions for the Program Director
Supporting Global Infrastructure for Rapid Response to Platforms
- Develop and update sets of relevant company contacts to address content and account takedowns/keep-ups; track access to programs such as Trusted Flagger or Partner status, and ensure Regional Program team are familiar with these protocols.
- Maintain systems for regular check-ins by broader TTO team with Regional and Thematic leads to assess critical ongoing and emerging threats and opportunities
Working on Research Projects
- Work on designated longer-form research projects as identified by Program Director or others on the TTO team
Communicating around key Program Direction and TTO priorities
- Develop relevant communications collateral for social media and other communications outreach around projects and priorities
- Contribute to direct social media and media outreach around priorities
- Track key press and communications contacts for TTO work
- Maintain key web properties for the TTO program
THE IDEAL CANDIDATE:
Experience: You must be extremely organized and comfortable tracking multiple projects and relationships and working fast and efficiently. 2+ years of related experience, including track record of hard work, understanding of technology trends, experience of advocacy and organizing. You are comfortable and fast communicating in a range of public formats (e.g. social media posts, blogs, short videos). You are a hands-on user of social media and video tools, not just an observer.
Human Rights: Background in (or passion for) human rights; understands networks, grassroots organizing and how activists mobilize online. Committed to social justice and WITNESS’ values/mission and to a global, human rights lead approach. Bonus: Understanding of the implications of current and emerging technologies for human rights, including the role of online platforms and current misinformation/disinformation and content moderation issues.
Languages: Fluent English required to work with global team who uses this as shared language. Additional languages a plus. Native speaker of English not required.
Other Important Skills:
- Proficiency w/Google worksuite as Gdocs, sheets, forms are heavily used across WITNESS.
- Strong digital communication skills, including creating visual messages, videos and writing/editing for the web.
- Basic e-publishing skills; knows basic HTML and CSS
Characteristics: Strong interpersonal skills and aptitude for cross-cultural communication. Team-minded. A doer. Is organized and follows through. Espouses good humor under pressure; inspires others. Also, is flexible – early morning or later evening calls will be needed as this job requires working with people in different time zones (this is offset in your weekly workload as work-life balance is a core value for WITNESS).
Education: You can tell us about your degrees, but we’re more interested in what your passions are and what you can do. If your degrees are part of that story, great! (But no formal education required).
Location: Strong preference for candidates within Americas time-zones including North America, Central America and South America.
The position description is a guide to the critical duties and essential functions of the job, not an all-inclusive list of responsibilities, qualifications, physical demands and work environment conditions.
HOW TO APPLY:
To apply, send your cover letter with salary requirements, resume, and contact information for 3 references to jobs[@]witness.org with the subject line “ Program Associate – Technology, Threats and Opportunities” [Your name]”.
Please include a cover letter. We are really interested in hearing about what you’ve done, what you can do, and what you want to do at WITNESS.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: Applications accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled; early applications encouraged. Please note that due to the volume anticipated, we will not be able to respond individually to each applicant. We kindly ask that you do not send duplicate applications via mail or email, and no phone calls.
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 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. Authorization to work in the U.S. is not required.