Typically within existing academic debates, forensic databases are seen as tools of state surveillance and are deeply connected to issues of privacy. This project moves the debate beyond these themes to explore how citizen-led forensic databases can be used as a tool for reparation and truth finding. The project breaks with traditional (state-centric) ways of researching violence and disappearance, since it challenges the persistent boundary between victims and experts: between claims for justice by victims, and official practices of constructing ‘truth’ about the dead and disappeared. It is also fuses biogenetic and social research thus providing a tool to open novel avenues of academic inquiry, as well as grounded insights for humanitarian and political intervention.
The Verification Handbook is a groundbreaking new resource for journalists and aid responders, which provides step-by-step guidelines for using user-generated content (UGC) during emergencies.
In a crisis situation, social networks are overloaded with situational updates, calls for relief, reports of new developments, and rescue information. Reporting the right information is often critical in shaping responses from the public and relief workers; it can literally be a matter of life or death.
The Handbook prescribes best practice advice on how to verify and use this information provided by the crowd, as well as actionable advice to facilitate disaster preparedness in newsrooms.
While it primarily targets journalists and aid providers, the Handbook can be used by anyone. It’s advice and guidance are valuable whether you are a news journalist, citizen reporter, relief responder, volunteer, journalism school student, emergency communication specialist, or an academic researching social media.
Professor Gates is currently working on a new project that investigates the emerging professional field of video forensics and its attendant technologies in order to examine the ways in which new visual imaging and archiving technologies are being incorporated into, and transforming, modern investigatory and evidentiary practices. She is especially interested in the emerging forms that police work is taking in the digital economy, including the cultural labor that the police perform in their roles as surveillance workers and media analysts.