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Demonstrate the strength in numbers with an App (the power of the people network/social graph)

Whether it is Gandhi's Civil Disobedience movement or the Arab Spring, the strength & effectiveness of the movement in combating human rights violation is based on the size of the people network. And the size of the network has to be demonstrated to the ruling power clearly in order to make the voices heard. Amnesty International could create a social App (Facebook App or based on Twitter, Google+, Orkut, etc) that automatically creates a detailed "People Power Report" for the specific cause (about the illegal detainee in this case). The "People Power Report" should beyond "10,000 people like this" and show detailed people network beyond the cause and a direct relative/friend or supporter of the detained person can use this to intimidate the human rights violators to release them.

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Background:
Whether it is Gandhi's Civil Disobedience movement or the Arab Spring, the strength & effectiveness of the movement in combating human rights violation is based on the size of the people network. And the size of the network has to be demonstrated to the ruling power clearly in order to make the voices heard.

Current Approaches:
A common approach is to initiate a signature/email campaign supporting a specific cause (a persona illegally detained in the current case). Champions of the cause (or person) setup a new website to get people's signature and show how many support this person. But this can be challenging both financially and technically for low-tech areas. Also since the website could easily have been rigged, people might not trust such a campaign.

Proposed Solution:
Learning from the success of Facebook & Twitter in the Arab Spring movements, the proposed solution is for Amnesty International to create a potential Facebook Application (or an app that works with multiple networks like Google+, etc) that automatically analyzes users who "like" or "support" this cause online and create "People Power Report" that in elaborate detail shows who all support this cause (the illegally detained person in this case). Beyond the currently available "10,000 people like this" info from Facebook, this App should automatically show an in-depth report about where the supporters are from, how directly they are connected to the cause (visual graph), how many people the supporters can in-turn reach (like LinkedIn Reports of 1st level, 2nd level, 3rd level connections), what their common characteristics are, etc. The Facebook (or Google+ or Orkut) App should also list trending causes, most active causes, etc for more visibility. The App could also leverage a connected twitter account and show a report not only of the people but also their posts. One key aspect of the solution is that the "People Power Report" is automatically generated and cannot be cheated easily - even if someone created thousands of Facebook accounts, the report will show the weakness because the 2nd level and 3rd level connections would be low. 

Impact:
For a direct relative/friend of the victim (or Amnesty representative), this will significantly ease the effort needed to gain people's support and Demonstrate it to the human rights violators. They only need to list the cause (details about detained person) on this Facebook App to immediate circle of friends/family and leverage the power of people's network. They can point the authorities at the automatically generated "People Power Report" and show them the strength of their cause has. For example, a person illegally detained in a poor country can demonstrate how much support they have from US, European supporters and how much money or political power they have. The 

This same App could potentially be used for other social activism causes (beyond Amnesty International) as well and might even be developed in collaboration with other international agencies.

What kind of resources are needed to get this idea off the ground and/or support it over time?

People, Time and Money to create a Facebook App to start with. Other social networks (like Twitter) could also be used later. This is a one time effort for which Amnesty International can get help from social network companies like Facebook. Amnesty could collaborate with other social activist organizations like Green Peace to leverage a common App for this cause. If Facebook or Google support this effort by adding this feature themselves, it could be even more powerful as they could add more analytics about the network for the cause.

My Virtual Team

http://www.openideo.com/open/amnesty/concepting/an-interactive-infographic-platform-fueled-by-the-whole-network-of-supporters-/ http://www.openideo.com/open/amnesty/concepting/amnesty-observer-app/

How could this idea also be adapted to work in low-tech situations?

Even without full Internet, this could be leveraged with basic phones and SMS messages as the means of support. The immediate supporters of the detained person could be in a low-tech situation but leverage the help of Amnesty International or other supporters who are in developing or developed countries.

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Photo of Meena Kadri

Great thinking, Navaneethan! Liking how you're suggesting to leverage existing technology here – rather than attempting to reinvent the wheel.

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