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Take Action on Google

'Take Action on Google' utilizes the Google Map open source API technology (http://code.google.com/apis/maps/index.html) to create an interactive platform, bringing victims, supporters and the general public together into an online visual environment

Photo of DeletedUser
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Written by DeletedUser

The platform’s primary function is to raise awareness of the plight of those who have been unlawfully detained by allowing victims to share their stories. Victims, friends, or family members can upload the victim’s story and share his/her experience in a variety of formats such as simple text, artwork, video, or interviews with a place mark on the customized google-map. When the map is ‘zoomed out’ the visitor will see the overwhelming number of instances where this crime occurs in each continent/country/region. When the visitor hovers over a particular marker, the uploaded content opens up giving the general public access the individual stories that make up these staggering numbers.

The secondary function of the platform is to provide opportunities for action. If an individual is moved to help the cause of the unlawfully detained in general or the case of a specific victim in particular, they can do so in a variety of formats. There are three broadly defined ways of interacting with the platform.

Share
Sharing is primarily the role of the victim or the victim’s storyteller. The individual who uploads content on behalf of the victim has the opportunity to talk about the potential reasons behind the unlawful detention, the challenges for the victim and his/her family and friends, and the current needs of support that exist for the victim. The nature of the information shared is entirely up to the storyteller, however, the platform will seek to find out certain details, such as location of the incident, general motivation behind the detention, and support requests to help with cataloging the story on the map and ease of searching for visitors who are interested in related cases.

Learn
One way of upholding Human Rights on the face of unlawful detention is through education and understanding. The subject of Human Rights is being taught in a number of educational institutions and this platform could serve as a case study complement to theoretical writings. It would launch a dialogue on the definition of unlawful detention and serve as a learning guide. Users can freely explore and learn.

Support
This tab filters victims who are seeking help or their family and friends. Visitors to the website, after learning of specific cases, may choose to support victims in a number of different ways. They may clink on “donate” buttons, “Take Action” petition buttons, or even offer specialized services (such as legal assistance) through a feedback form that generates when clicking on an “additional support” button. Visitors to the website can filter the cases according to their current geographic location, or their area of expertise helping them narrow down the number of cases displayed on the map that they would like to review. If a practitioner wants closer contact with a particular victim, he/she can set up an approved log-in account, through which they can directly communicate with victims or send a communicate with Amnesty International representatives saying “I’d like to help.”

Google Map Functionality
· Map view and list view: aids the user in identifying particular cases they would like to research
· Translation function: shared victim information is recorded in Google supported languages, but then translated to English (as a starting point) for map display.
· Customized placemarks: according to profile statuses, markers could be colored to indicate current and closed cases.
· Aggregated display of case number: check out  www.redfin.com for an example. To cut the clutter and provide useful data at a global, regional and country level, individual cases would not be highlighted. Instead the number of cases in the world, region, or country would be displayed. When zoomed at an appropriate level, the individual place markers would appear.

Story profile
· Uploaded data could include the victim’s name, photo, story and timeline of detention, details of support needed, etc. All information is optional, but some text must be validated before the story can appear on the map.
· The content can be uploaded via one of several methods, depending on what technology the individual telling the story has access to. Website feedback forms, e-mail, SMS/MMS (texting), and voice are all acceptable forms of content transition.
· Using parsing technology, Google would attempt to ascertain ‘tags’ on the victim’s story such as location and nature of the crime to help with map organization.
· All content would be routed through Amnesty International before being placed on the map. Even though anyone can contribute to the platform, some sort of security must be maintained to uphold the reputation of Amnesty International in this process. Amnesty may want to fact check some elements of a story before placing it online.

Technology:
· Google Map
· API
· VoxSciences

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

Resources: · A Google partnership to set an “Illegal Detention Awareness” week. If Google partners with Amnesty International, visitors to the site will be significantly enhanced. · A group of programmers to create and maintain the mapping platform. · Amnesty International employees who would be responsible for vetting the stories of victims. · A marketing team to publicize the mapping platform and obtain contributors.

My Virtual Team

This idea was created by ICU The Hub Team (Anne, Lydia, Juliana, Midori, Mark, Takefumi, Tsuru, Yukie, Nelson and Mara), using "Brainstorm in a Box" - We also owe a special thanks to Hector Ouilhet and Masashi Kawashima at Google for their invaluable contribution and feedback

Attachments (1)

refined-openideo-amnesty-1.pdf

Presentation file

29 comments

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Photo of Edmund Ng

I appreciate how all these tools could be helping with awareness but eventually we need some high profile individuals to come together to make unlawful detention a thing of the past.

I remember there was a political detainee name Chia Thye Poh who was detained by Lee Kuan Yew's government for 32 years without trial. He was detained in jail for 22 years and later served under house arrest with limitations for another 9 and a half years. He could have been detained till now if not for Nelson Mandela.

The story goes like this. The government of Singapore decided to invite Nelson Mandela to visit the state of Singapore. Nelson Mandela who was then president of South Africa after his release from prison had heard that Chia Thye Poh had been jailed for 22+ years in prison.

Nelson Mandela having been jailed for a long time as well was not pleased that Chia Thye Poh was still in jail and made the following arrangement with the Singapore government. He would not make the visit to Singapore unless he see's his brother "Chia Thye Poh" release from jail. His actions was enough to convince the Singapore government to oblige and release Chia and put him under house arrest. You see, without Nelson Mandela, Chia could still be in jail by now.

That is what I call a silent hero. There wasn't internet back then, if not it would have been a worldwide sensation. The Brad Pitts, Angelina Jolies need to stand up and do their part for humanity. We need more like minded public figures to stand up and help us with the fight.


Edmund Ng
http://www.CeoConnectz.com

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Photo of OpenIDEO

Midori! Congratulations on being a winning concept. Thank you for your extraordinary effort and going above and beyond in your research. The Amnesty team thinks this could be a great tool for creating more informationally rich campaigns. It's clear you made a huge effort, and we really appreciate your contribution. Thank you!

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Photo of Vincent Cheng

Congrats Midori, Anne, & the whole ICU Hub Team! Also, great job in being proactive and reaching out to Google.

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Congratulations Midori et al. This is indeed a great concept and I also enjoyed reading about your brainstorming session. It was also great to have Google involved. Looking forward to seeing the prototypes and the "final" tool.

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Photo of Paul Reader

Well done Midori et al! I will be most interested to view the progress of this from concept into realisation. This has great potential to incorporate ideas and elements from some of the other concepts, even perhaps as a comprehensive integration project.

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Photo of Vincent Cheng

Nice job Midori, Anne, & the whole ICU Hub Team on the refinements and fully leveraging the Google Map API for visualization. Seems like, especially after the updates, that this would also mash up very well with The Detainee Support Net ( http://www.openideo.com/open/amnesty/concepting/the-detainee-support-net-financial-legal-moral/ ).

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Photo of Paul Reader

Agreed - as Marnie points out in ( http://www.openideo.com/open/amnesty/concepting/collaborate-with-the-un-global-pulse-project-digital-smoke-signals-/ ) all of the short-listed concepts and possibly a few others could be integrated into a cohesive system for awareness, support and action.

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DeletedUser

Upon first glance through the proposed solutions, I was drawn to the support-oriented resource networks, especially The Detainee Support Net idea, but overall, I believe that the power of meeting the general public where they are--on Google products--is too powerful to ignore to help get the word out that someone has been unlawfully detained.

I agree with Paul and Vincent that an integrated system could be developed with a number of these solutions. However, for the segment of people whose attention we want that are not immediately effected, I believe the power of using a familiar Google offering can yield big gains in ease-of-understanding. This is important because this issue may feel less "sexy" than others but is obviously a very serious social challenge. For proof of the power of the public just looking to do good via Google, just listen to this amazing story:
http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/402/save-the-day?act=1

One piece of feedback for now is that you consider Google's perspective in whether or not they'd want to participate in a Week dedicated to the unlawfully detained. To me, it seems unlikely that they would go for this given Google's legal trouble in the past and their desire to remain in the favor of all governments. Instead of asking for their support of something that some governments might disagree with, I think you could think about pitching to Google that they allow for the easy mapping of various "social issue week" events and pilot the functionality with your idea. It's a basic tweak of your idea that gets Google looking great as an enabler while empowering the dedicated users to set the agenda.

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DeletedUser

The heat map is a wonderful idea and I think vital for raising awareness and showing the areas where this is prevalent. Along with the full stories of some detainees, that map could perhaps be populated in a quick way as well, with locations of SMS alerts of detention (this is from another finalist, but pairs well with your idea).

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Photo of Johan Löfström

Time perspective? I have recently wondered a lot about geo tagging on a map (of certain facts like photo, video clips and sound clips, statistics) But in your case, could it be relevant to also add the time notation as a means to figure out if "incidents" are rising or slowy fading in frequency?

I am very inspired by dr. Hans Rosling, and his Gapminder.org and I have heard some rumours that Google are very interested in this project and its technology. I wonder if it is possible for you to try to "interview" your contacts at Google if this is true and if it gives further potential options to your concept?

Also some credit must go to Morgan that I met @ Sony's Open Planet Ideas-development days early this year. we together brainstormed a little bit about being able to time stamp a SMS - text message, and send it to a phone number (or my own phone number) to be delivered at a certain determined time and day in the future, as a little "time-travelling-messaging"-feature.

A little thing I just came up with is if there can be useful to practically set an automatic message from "my phone" as the GPS in my phone alerts me, when I cross the border into an area that are dangerous, risky, or coming close to an area where a lot of recent detentions have just happened. And that the automatic pre-set wording in this message could be something like : "If Johan have not phoned you or sent an email to you to tell everything is alright (before you will receive this alert" he might be in some kind of danger, in this area : 59°19′30″N 18°4′15″O "

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Photo of Johan Löfström

I re-read your concept and saw that you had the idea of colour-coding incident-markers depending on time of occurance. anyway, I hope that my few little last-minute sketches comes in helpful to someone... :) best of luck!

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DeletedUser

Thanks for your feedback, Johan! Time-marking would definitely be an interesting additional to the overall effect of the platform and would be worth questioning Google re feasibility.

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DeletedUser

Thank you for your ideas, Johan, the gapminder site is very interesting and definitely provides a lot of inspiration for improving the Amnesty International platform.

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DeletedUser

Perhaps Newsmap http://newsmap.jp/ would be a helpful graphical or user interface reference. This model could factor in additional data such as time, location, contact frequency, support into a constantly updating interface.

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Photo of Paul Reader

In evaluating this concept I have again considered it in the context of an integrated system. To that end it seems to me to be a major component of the system 'engine'. As such it is fairly heavily technology dependent (not necessarily costly if corporate contributions are provided on the basis of CSR). Having a broad perspective the concept fits well with a number of other, more specific, concepts,

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DeletedUser

I do love this concept. Since the whole plan is aimed at rising awareness of unlawful detention. When the whole society pays attention to the phenomenon, victims could then be helped and saved by the power of people.

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Photo of Paul Reader

Great refinement!
Despite my previously stated reservations about Google the basic concept is sound and would dovetail with several other refined concepts.

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Photo of Anne Kjaer Riechert

Thank you Paul for your comments and feedback. Your previous comments were extremely useful when we did a SWOT analysis of the original concept, prior to going to Google to present - AND, your reservations ere something which we discussed with Google directly. I hope you agree that we found a sustainable and realistic solution for it.

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Photo of Paul Reader

Thanks Anne - I do agree and would say that many things about Google are good. In fact I make extensive use of Google maps in my prototype IDEATOR Resources site
( http://www.experiment.vacau.com ) which attempts, amongst other things, to provide IDEATORS with your Geolocator concept from the Social Impact challenge.
I hope that the result of this present challenge will be three or four projects that draw on the strengths of all the concepts put forward.

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DeletedUser

It looks better :) Otsukaresama, good job.

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Photo of Anne Kjaer Riechert

Great to see it all coming together. Thanks for uploading Midori!

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DeletedUser

The site would be immediately shut down by the offending country by blocking DNS requests to the ip. The rest of the world could see it, but I think friends and family members of the victim would never even know the site exists. DNS restrictions are routine in the mainland of China. Even poorer countries like Syria or Yemen employ smart IT people to help prevent "undesirable" information from spreading.

Second, we shouldn't rely upon for-profit corporations, like Google of all people, who for example recognize Jerusalem as an Israeli territory on Google maps. Even though the rest of the world including the UN claim Jerusalem should have an international status, sort of like a Vatican City.

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DeletedUser

Just because the potential for censorship exists, doesn't mean that this idea should be scuttled. There are many ways around such censorship, such as using the Tor network or Firefox plugins like AnonymoX to hide your true IP address and thus your country of origin. It would also be useful to work with organizations like the EFF that are anti-censorship to come up with more long-term solutions.

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DeletedUser

i don't think the idea should be scuttled either, but anonymizers and firefox plugins are really only useful for the very technically inclined.. The "99%" in other censored countries do not know of the existence of such tools or the reason for their existence.

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Photo of Anne Kjaer Riechert

I love that I can share the concept idea on Facebook now!

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Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Midori, thanks for participating and being part of our Amnesty short list. We wonder how you might push this idea further in terms of incentivizing people to contribute to the map and how you might represent people that don’t wish to be located or identified.

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Photo of Paul Reader

Conceptually find the idea of sharing stories in a universal space very appealing, but thoroughly agree with Marion that some platform other than Google (or any other commercial entity) is to be preferred. Truly philanthropic donation of server capacity put under Amnesty's control would be my choice.

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Photo of Meena Kadri

Way to go, Midori and the ICU Openstormers!

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Photo of Anne Kjaer Riechert

Great visualization of the idea Midori!