Innovation competition to tackle atrocities

Humanity United, an American human rights foundation, has launched a tech challenge to encourage the innovation of technologies that can draw attention to or prevent atrocities.

The foundation is already receiving applications for the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention, which will give a cash prize of up to $10,000 to the winning innovator, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“It’s been a conversation that’s been based in the policy community,” says Michael Kleinman, Humanity United director, who is overseeing the challenge. “The spark is that there’s a broader group of actors that have a lot to contribute.”

The challenge will be judged by policymakers, technologists and those with atrocity prevention experience. The judges are looking for technologies that can pinpoint corporations that, deliberately or unwittingly, aid atrocities, as well as tools for capturing evidence of atrocities to aid intervention and prevention. In January, the foundation will start looking for data management and communications technologies, as well as innovations that can circumvent problems caused by restrictive governments.

The judges will be looking for technologies that can work in many countries, with Kleinman calling technologies that can come to the assistance of people in any part of the world “a holy grail”.

Crowd-sourcing new technologies has become increasingly popular, with the likes of the X Prize Foundation, supported by Google CEO Larry Page, launching competitions to develop various tools for large prizes. Even the United States Agency for International Development has run competitions encouraging innovations aimed at tackling human trafficking and encouraging foreign investment.

Interested innovators can enter the challenge at http://thetechchallenge.org.

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