Patrick Ball Receives 2005 Electronic Frontier Foundation's Pioneer Award
Award Recognizes Innovator's Contributions to Human Rights through Technology
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Palo Alto, CA, April 19, 2005 – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) presented Dr. Patrick Ball with a Pioneer Award at their 14th Annual Pioneer Awards presentation on April 13, 2005. The award recognizes individuals who have made significant and influential contributions to the development of computer-mediated communications or to the empowerment of individuals in using computers and the Internet. As a leader in the innovation of applying scientific measurement to human rights, Dr. Ball helped design Martus and Analyzer – two creative open source software tools which aid in the secure storage and rigorous statistical analysis of human rights violation data. Dr. Ball accepted his award from East Timor, where he is currently completing work on a report to the Timorese truth commission of analysis and estimates on the violations that occurred under the Indonesian occupation from 1974 to 1999.
In accepting his award, Dr. Ball said, “I am honored to accept this award on behalf of the Benetech® Human Rights Program and the Commission for Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation of East Timor, the CAVR. Our partners take huge risks to work with us – they share sensitive data, and they trust us to do analysis to support their efforts to bring to light the truth of massive human rights violations. The CAVR has shown terrific commitment to solid technical work and to scientific analysis.”
CAVR Commissioner Isabel Guterrez, who introduced Dr. Ball, remarked “The truth is a difficult thing to establish. If not done well, with a serious and sensitive approach, seeking the truth can open wounds and divide people. For the CAVR, our partnership with Benetech has helped us bring a solid, scientific basis to our truth telling. This will help people trust that we are objective and fair in our analysis and findings. Through his scientific work on human rights, Patrick Ball is helping us work to build a solid foundation for reconciliation and peace in our land. We are proud to be a partner of Patrick and Benetech.”
Dr. Ball currently directs and helped to found the Benetech Human Rights Program, whose goal is to redefine the debate about human rights violations with scientifically-defensible information, using science and technology to substantiate human rights arguments and support the human rights community’s efforts to establish the truth about past atrocities, promote accountability for the violence and to advocate for a world in which there are fewer abuses. The Program brings 14 years’ experience in more than a dozen countries, conducting and publishing statistical analyses of genocide, ethnic cleansing and other large-scale human rights abuses. Its analysis has helped support the argument that genocide was committed in Guatemala, reveal that Slobodan Milošević's defense theories about what happened in Kosovo were inconsistent with the data, and to demonstrate that the Peruvian civil war was far bloodier than the capital elites in Lima ever imagined. By putting science at the service of these societies, the Benetech Human Rights Program has helped write the history of the past to improve the prospects of the future.
The Benetech Initiative is a Silicon Valley nonprofit that develops sustainable, technology-based solutions to address pressing social challenges in areas such as disability, human rights, education and literacy. Many beneficial technologies have compelling social applications that are not developed because such efforts do not meet for-profit investors’ financial expectations. Benetech specifically pursues endeavors with a strong social, rather than financial, rate of return on investment, bringing commercial technology and private sector management techniques to bear in creating innovative, non-traditional solutions to challenging social issues. More information on Benetech and its projects can be found at www.benetech.org or by calling (650) 644-3400.
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