Promise Institute Awarded Funds for Crucial Digital Investigation Training

February 3, 2021

In keeping with our mission to empower the next generation of human rights lawyers and leaders, the Promise Institute for Human Rights is excited to announce we are among a select group of finalists to receive a University of California Multicampus Research Programs Initiatives grant. We share this honor with our collaborators, UC Berkeley’s Human Rights Center and UC Santa Cruz’s Research Center for the Americas.

The grant will be used to establish a Human Rights Digital Investigations Lab at the Promise Institute, and will support the continued operation and expansion of labs at Berkeley and Santa Cruz. Through these labs, the three UC campuses will train students in Open Source Investigation (OSINT) techniques. The role of OSINT in human rights research and advocacy is growing rapidly, and involves the gathering, analysis and verification of digital materials: taking materials already available through the public domain and working to geolocate (identifying the location through available information) and chronolocate them (identifying the time an image was captured by reconstructing missing metadata) in service of gathering evidence of human rights violations. The Promise Institute has already put the grant to use; we hosted a training for the first cohort of 25 students last week and the students were thrilled with the new methodology and are excited to put it to go use in a pilot project this semester.

Jess Peake, Assistant Director of the Promise Institute and Director of UCLA’s International and Comparative Law Program, will be running the project at the Promise Institute and was very pleased to announce the grant. “Our goal is to protect human rights and train attorneys capable of working in any environment. Increasingly, that means digitally as well. This highly sought-after and specialized training greatly furthers Promise Institute students’ career options and the mission of human rights work. We are grateful to the University of California Office of the President and MPRI for supporting us in this way and I look forward to collaborating with colleagues at Berkeley and Santa Cruz on a range of OSINT projects over the next three years.

For more information about the Promise Institute, to inquire about our projects, or to learn more about Digital Fact-Finding in OSINT, please reach out to

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