Research Project

Digital Verification Corps

In partnership with Amnesty International and universities around the world, CGHR launched a Digital Verification Corps in 2017.

As an increasing amount of social media data on human rights crimes and atrocities is made available online, it becomes proportionally crucial to improve and speed up the process through which human rights fact-finders gather, verify and present evidence. To this end, Amnesty has launched a global network of digital volunteers known as the Digital Verification Corps (DVC). With the help of digital verification tools and training from Amnesty, the DVCs work to advance human rights by fact-checking and verifying footage from sites of atrocity crime investigations.

Cambridge joins Mexico’s Universidad Iberoamericana; the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Essex; the University of Hong Kong; and the University of Pretoria in running a student DVC that supports verification of digital content for Amnesty research into human rights violations. Our DVC is made up of an interdisciplinary group of undergraduate and graduate students with a range of language skills and expertise. Ella McPherson is Faculty Lead.

Cambridge’s DVC is part of the Counter Evidentiary Network.

DVC News

CGHR co-hosted a Summit for the international consortium of DVC in summer 2018. For a summary of the 2016-17 Summit hosted by the Berkeley Human Rights Centre, click here.

Cambridge DVC contributes to Webby Award-winning multimedia project on the misuse of tear gas

Amnesty International’s online multimedia project, Tear Gas: An Investigation, won a prestigious 2021 Webby Award for the best activism website worldwide. 

Described by The New York Times as ‘the internet’s highest honour’, this award represents the culmination of a year-long project built upon research conducted by six student-run Digital Verification Corps, including the DVC at Cambridge’s Centre of Governance and Human Rights.

DVC Projects

Documenting Violence against BLM Protestors

In late spring 2020, a wave of Black Lives Matters protests surged around the world in direct reaction to recent police killings of Black Americans, but also more broadly in response to systemic racism.  In many instances, these peaceful protests were met with shocking displays of police violence from local, state and national law enforcement agencies.

Gathering Evidence of Human Rights Violations during Iran’s 2019 November Crackdown

On the 15th of November 2019, Iran erupted in protest. Rises in fuel costs – a direct consequence of the withdrawal of state subsidies for petrol and an indirect consequence of the Trump administration’s ‘maximum pressure’ policy – ignited the Iranian people’s smouldering discontent into a blaze of nationwide demonstrations. 

Cambridge DVC contributes to Amnesty International Tear Gas Investigation Platform

In June, in the midst of escalating actions against protesters across the globe, Amnesty International launched ‘Tear Gas: An Investigation.’ This highly researched, interactive platform is essentially a primer on tear gas for anyone concerned with its deployment; it explains what tear gas is when it is used and abused, and how to take action to prevent its misuse.