And if you and I were brainstorming together? Fifty would be highly doable if we were given, maybe, what? Ten minutes? There is nothing else. Maybe a few sensational details more. And as such, there is literally no way that I can spoil this story because this thing is way more than the basic sum of its parts. Because like a seven layer cake, there is way more here than the icing. There is so much else going on here. Literally has to be. We know this mainly because the movie is so — so — so what?
Ultimately epiphanic? This movie is need of its own new adjective to describe it… maybe, Epiphanemeral? Somehow, I think I was born in the wrong country. But even so, you should really watch this movie before you jump in here. Just violence on top of violence. Blood poured out on top of blood. Pain laid out on top of pain. And yet, despite of its putrefying goriness, it is unreal.
Which begins to hint, just barely, at the very first layer below the surface. So yeah, this movie really should come with like 19 different trigger warnings. Have at it! This is fact. There is one scene when Mandy walks out from the water, and we begin to get a hint that there might be something else going on here. Did you see how the camera dropped into slow motion as she walked out of the lake to stand close to the fire? She is from the land of the nymphs, the land of water and of fire.
She is not of this world. Mandy gives Red a reprieve from the chaotic daily routine of his lumberjack life. You tracking with me so far? Then comes the first hints of tragedy for this movie. Mandy finds a dead baby deer in the field. And Mandy is transfixed. How could this be? A dead baby deer? And soon she tells Red the story of her father and the starlings. Her father hates the starlings, and so he talks the children into helping him bludgeon them to death, one by one. Obviously Mandy refuses, and runs off. But what does this signify? Well, have you ever seen a Starling Murmuration?
The starlings, being birds — especially birds capable of such beautiful patterns and stories in the sky — signify a connection to the sky, and to heaven. So these starlings that her father is killing is seen by her as an abomination. And so we get another hint that Mandy may just be an angel. Or at the very least?
A symbol signifying incorruptible perfection. And Red? Just keep reading. Mandy is walking on the road and she walks past a group of people in a van. And the leader of this cult, Jeremiah Sand Linus Roache decides he has to have her. This is pretty easy to understand. Evil, in any form desires purity, in order to blemish is, destroy it, desiccate it. But he also calls in backup.
Jeremiah asks Swan to use the Horn of Abraxas… Yeah, we are going to stop right there. But ultimately, Abraxas began associating with Gnosticism. And then after that he was considered to be a trickster demon that was constantly dropping spiritual subterfuge on people, making them believe that he was in fact, the one true God. When, in fact, he was not. Oh, also?
Maybe Jeremiah Sands is Abraxas? Or, more accurately, he is most likely possessed by Abraxas — as seen by the conversations that he has with himself. But we also see that blowing the horn has its costs. Jeremiah knows that he is going to have to pay for the blowing of the horn with a life… and he offers Brother Hanker Alexis Julemont as payment. A life for a life. A blood covenant. Evil as it is. To destroy her. What do you see? She laughs at him. And with that, Jeremiah decides she needs to die.
So Red, stabbed, and tied up, watches as Mandy is hoisted up hanged? Red is left to watch in horror. Mandy literally dies at the exact halfway point of the film. The rest of the film? Ok, I just have to stop us here and call something out. Carl Jung is what I have to point out here. You also know that he had a deep intellectual relationship with a small figure in that field, Sigmund Freud. The two of them worked diligently together and Freud saw Jung as his future heir of his ideas, and the one person that could carry his studies to the next level.
Fine, I got it. Just give me another paragraph or two, and your Psych self is going to have its mind blown. Because this stuff? Trust me. For one, Jung de-emphasized sexual development and instead began focusing on the collective unconscious… which is the part of the unconscious that consisted of ideas and memories that came from ancestors. The Jungian theories place more emphasis on the spiritual side of our inner psyche than Freud.
So, with that, Jung went his own way. About the same time Jung began working on a book entitled the Red Book. And that book? They were a recording of hallucinations he self-induced to try and get to the core of his unconscious. There was an ominous atmosphere all around me. I had the strange feeling that the air was filled with ghostly entities. Then it was as if my house began to be haunted….
I was sitting near the doorbell, and not only heard it but saw it moving. We all simply stared at one another. The atmosphere was thick, believe me!
Then I knew that something had to happen. The whole house was filled as if there were a crowd present, crammed full of spirits. They were packed deep right up to the door, and the air was so thick it was scarcely possible to breathe. Oh, and the chief of these spirits that were crushed up against his door? Yeah, his name was Abraxas. She wantoneth with the devil and with evil spirits; a mischievous tyrant and tormentor, ever seducing to evilest company. The white bird is a half-celestial soul of man.
He bideth with the Mother, from time to time descending. The bird hath a nature like unto man, and is effective thought. He is chaste and solitary, a messenger of the Mother. He flieth high above earth. He commandeth singleness. He bringeth knowledge from the distant ones who went before and are perfected.
He beareth our word above to the Mother. She intercedeth, she warneth, but against the gods she hath no power. So we have a Jungian demon downward spiral happening here. Be my guest and read his Red Book. Just trust me. We are watching a cinematic expression of these Jungian ideals. Now, as the movie motors on through to the end we see a few details that are worth noting.
Instead, he shows mercy on the misguided. Sister Lucy, a pass. And the Chemist, who shows Red that he is surrounded by darkness, a pass. But the rest, all meet their end violently. Which, you should note was literally non-metaphorically head crushing orgasm. Which, is the opposite of reality. The murder of someone that wronged you would in all actuality cause you guilt and grief.
Not euphoria. If thought of practically speaking. But here? But if you watch the ending closely, and I promise you I have… several times now. Or what appears to be the same shirt. And then immediately after, there in the car, the two of them are wearing the same shirt. And then Mandy is wearing a Led Zeppelin shirt we saw her in earlier… and Red is wearing his bloodied and gnarled clothes. What do we make of this? Is this an indication that Mandy and Red are the same person? Is this some hint that the two of them are different halves of the same personality?
Or, better yet is it even bigger than that? No one will ever definitively know what the movie Mandy is all about. So we can know that. But otherwise, it is up to us the reader to ascertain for ourselves where we thought this movie was ultimately going. And to that end, I believe that the Abraxas breadcrumb trail decidedly takes us to the shore of Carl Jung and his fantastical Red Book.
We see demons there, we see discussions of spiritual conquests and struggles, we see cosmological insanity galore. Behind one of the paintings within the Red Book we find this quote that may give more explanation than all the rest of this post:. We forged a flashing sword for you, with which you can cut the knot that entangles you…We also place before you the devilish, skillfully twined knot that locks and seals you. Strike, only sharpness will cut through it…Do not hesitate. We need destruction since we ourselves are the entanglement. So, could it be, that maybe not only was Red, Mandy… but he was also demons he was out to destroy?
Could it be, from a Jungian perspective anyway, that this entire movie is one big internal struggle for our hero? That none of it existed outside of his mind and that of his subconscious? Yes, that is what I have been pointing towards since the beginning of this review. It is all about his deep internal thrashing with regard to his consciousness. It is a Jungian internal consciousness battle that wages for his soul and the sanity of his mind.
And that is a fair critique, because all of a sudden I am learning that there as a post credit scene that I totally missed?!? Not that I would encourage you to do anything illegal… but… cough. Immediately we know a ton about this screen scrape from earlier in the movie. At the opening of movie, Mandy and Red spend their free time together reading, talking, and Mandy sketches.
And Red is on record as thinking her art amazing. And what we see in this still is simple enough in that these are most obviously sketches that Mandy has drawn. And the sketch on the right is of Red. Red and a tiger. And on the right are other mythological creatures, similar to what she was drafting earlier in the film. What I find fascinating with this still is that it is the first time we have a one to one correlation between Red and the tiger. Seemed too short to really mean anything.
But with this drawing we see a real connection between the two. So what does that mean? That with this struggle, with this inner battle, Red has finally loosed the demons that have tormented him and that he is now free? Sorry for being asleep at the switch everyone. Anyway, do you have an idea or an opinion of what this mindjob of a movie is all about? Feel free to tell us your take on what Mandy is all about. Because right about now I am thoroughly ready to hear you talk!
This movie broke me a bit. Kinda like a Super Hero genesis story? Accidental radiation, mixed with a spider bite? The movie seems to indicate that the grey stuff was drugs — but does anyone know what beetle or bug that was they stung her with? The best film review I ever saw. But I am really Confused after seeing Mandy.. Is the whole story was a dream? Or what? Is Red had become one of the self destructive drug addicted demon? The opposite is however also true. Data remains as hard as it ever was to find on issues that are opaque, such as corporate and national security issues.
In the majority of countries, not least those that are closed and repressive, Freedom of Information legislation remains a seemingly unattainable goal. The data that many activists have is often found, leaked or discovered through tenacious and risky investigations that take unusual forms. We are living in a Quantified Society where everyone is generating data on a constant basis and this aspect is extremely important to Exposing the Invisible , as this creates new channels to explore and options for cross-examining prevailing narratives.
There are places and people who are neither connected to the internet nor have access to technology. Unfortunately their livelihoods and files are also affected by the Quantified Society due to the various actors racing to be the first to connect and quantify these people and places, often with very little concern for matters of privacy, consent, human rights and other political, social, economic and cultural consequences. This means that we are not only relying on leaked data, the data is out there because we struggle to understand the multifaceted characteristic of the data-driven society we embrace.
McGrath introduces these three different types of open data in his interview with Exposing the Invisible. One of them is governments releasing them themselves, either through FOIA requests or open data initiatives, which is great and people have done a lot of great work around, but the governments can also choose what to release and spin it.
So that's important, but in some ways it's the weakest way. Then, there's leaking documents. So whistle-blowers releasing documents, giving them to journalists and the media and them being released that way. The third way is just taking advantage of the data that people and institutions leak accidentally themselves. The powerful thing about that is that people don't explicitly decide to release it, not even a whistle-blower explicitly decides to release this information.
It's up to people to collect and make sense of it on their own. It doesn't rely on any other entity, except for the people who are accidentally releasing it, which will always continue to happen in some fashion. The data is there but you have to ask for it: Governments releasing data through Freedom of Information requests or open data initiatives. The data is there but you have to search for it: Whistle-blowers and institutions leaking information, using databases to find data.
How much information and data do you think the public bodies in your country create? Governments have long published at least some sorts of data, often through national statistics offices, or through various different thematic websites. However, the current scale and nature of data publication by some governments is very different to the scale and nature of even a few years ago.
There are two complimentary activist 'movements' working specifically in this area. Access to information activists put pressure on governments to enact and implement laws enabling people to ask questions of any official body that is part of or controlled by the state, and receive prompt and thorough answers. They draw on the idea that information produced using tax money is owned by the tax-paying public, and should be made available to them without restriction.
As public bodies respond to people's queries and pro-actively publish the information they create, people are able to see, better understand and scrutinize the workings of the public bodies they fund. Access to information is seen as necessary for effective participation in public life; a tool to redress one sort of imbalance between people and the powerful institutions that govern them. Open Data activists build on these ideas and concern themselves with the re-use of data and information released by public bodies. This follows on from two important changes created by the internet:.
Many people use online forums, social media and blogs as a key part of their lives, using it to learn and form opinions and seek advice. The mixture of technological accessibility and connectivity, at an increasingly lower cost, with regulations forcing institutions to share publicly funded data aggregations has led to the idea of open data rising in prominence over the past few years. Open data is possible because these institutions already use information communication technologies to gather and analyse the data and if you already have the data in human- and machine-readable formats, why would you not make it open?
It can then be verified and reused in different contexts. It is beginning to be experimented with across a spread of governmental and civic activities, often with interesting results. Their impact will take longer to determine, and a common objection advocacy groups have to it is the fact that the availability of more data doesn't automatically translate into more effective services. Open data and FOI are not ends in themselves, they are far from perfect and there's an art to using them effectively. She performs an analysis of open data initiatives that are considered effective and identifies the types of problems where data science techniques can add value.
In almost all cases, the insights that are generated are based on an automated process, localised, in near real-time and disaggregated. The case-study below looks at another effective case, not featured in Koschinsky's research, but one that fits into more than one of her categories of open data initiatives that have a social impact, a most fitting, matching supply and a demand for optimised resource allocation.
Lydia Medland previously of Access-Info , a European non-governmental organisation which defends the right to information in the service of human rights, says of India, which implemented the Right to Information RTI Act in , that it is:. There is a lot of civil society activ ity around RTIs. Just asking the question sends the signal that the community are wanting accountability that isn't happening.
People want to know simple things, like who is the per son in charge of issuing passports, or food ration cards, and that sends the message and res ults in action; or something like what is the attendance record of the school teacher, and then the school teacher starts coming. The success of the RTIs that Medland talks about is borne out by the chilling statistic that between and , more than RTI activists in India have been either killed, harassed or assaulted.
Transparency Chennai is a good example of how RTI requests are being used as a tactic to get around the absence of open data and open data infrastructure; however, the kind of data made available through an Indian RTI request is not in a digital format, it is not available online and it is not free the cost is however negligible. Still, the work of Transparent Chennai highlights how consistently asking questions and getting answers are key to investigation and can lead to unexpected discoveries.
Transparency Chennai is an advocacy initiative in Chennai, India that can, oddly, credit its successful work with data to a lack of toilets. Transparent Chennai provides citizens with information about public services in the city for them to use in advocacy with the government. Transparency Chennai found that the women in urban slum communities they worked with needed to know where their public toilets were, and wanted more of them close to home and workplaces. Transparency Chennai realised that none of this information was easily available — who decided where toilets were built, where they actually were, who used them, where the funds for them came from and so on.
Mining the city's labyrinthine bureaucracy, they found that information about these services was scattered across different zonal offices, which they had to physically visit to access, after, of course, waiting for hours and having to make repeat visits. They found that these numbers weren't even accurate; direct requests for information from zonal offices put the number of public toilets at for a city where at least 10, houses have no toilet! Next, they had volunteers map the locations of these toilets and found that the toilets had not been built in places they were most required near slums, near informal markets and so on , nor were they evenly distributed and tended to be clustered in certain areas that weren't residential and that there was corruption — city councillors awarded contracts for building toilets were actually pocketing the money rather than getting toilets built.
Most interestingly, they found that many newer urban slums didn't get toilets because they just didn't exist on maps and city plans. So if a slum didn't technically exist on paper, how could it merit a toilet? Transparent Chennai was able to show that urban planning was extremely inefficient and didn't fulfil the requirements of the most marginalised communities.
Transparency Chennai has moved from toilets to public transport, road safety, sanitation, housing; they aggregate information from a variety of sources and make it available to other human rights activists and community organisers who work with the urban poor. This example provides a new picture of how governments, businesses and advocacy groups could and perhaps should function in the internet age. These new trends in getting and using public information have been developed using a combination of re-thinking ideas about transparency and a redefinition of the methods and ways that data and technologies can be put to use in advocacy.
There are many people all over the world working on Open Data initiatives, and trying to establish and use Freedom of Information Laws. Below is a list of resources to start investigating the data which may be available in your country. Beyond Access: Open Government Data and the Right to Re use Public Information download pdf , a report by the Access Info Europe and Open Knowledge Foundation, gives a good overview of the state of access to information and open data movements around the world.
Find out if you have an access to information law in your country using Right2Info and FreedomInfo.
Find public data that might be useful to you by looking at DataCatalogs. Whistle-blowing has become much more high-profile in recent years. In this section, we will look at the information that can be made available through the acts of whistle-blowers. This data is often put into searchable databases hosted by organisations such as WikiLeaks where people can go through huge amounts of indexed and searchable data on a diverse set of topics.
These aren't the only databases that we will explore. Company databases, international and national finance databases and worldwide registries are also a well-utilised source of information for those wanting to investigate issues of corruption and abuse of power. Whistle-blowing is a crucial source of intelligence to help us identify government, company and individual wrongdoing. We will look at three examples all of which deal with classified information that has been made public, all of which have some relationship to WikiLeaks and all of which have been taken and made into searchable databases open to the public.
The difference between these examples, however, is the level at which they happened and the types of confidential information they leaked. TuniLeaks looks at government leaks, Hacking Team leaks focused on a company leaking information and Transparency Toolkit focuses on information that individuals working in the intelligence sector are leaking. These examples also deal with different types of confidential information: 1 public but classified, 2 private but secret, and 3 presumed hidden but actually accessible. The cables cover over 40 years of confidential reporting, opinion and analysis by US officials about diplomatic relations, human rights, corruption, politics and events in nearly every country of the world.
Immediately after the WikiLeaks release, Nawaat de Tuni - an independent news website run by a collective of Tunisian bloggers and digital activists —started looking through the cables for what they could reveal about the Tunisian dictatorship of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Nawaat set up Tunileaks to pull together the cables from the US Embassy in Tunis, translate them from English into French and then spread the content widely across the Tunisian internet. Tunileaks was put online days before a remarkable chain of events was also set in motion.
For years, the Tunisian regime had been successful at suppressing public dissent about its corruption and human rights abuses. In mid-December , citizen-made videos and reports about protests started appearing in relation to the suicide of a young man in response to the dire economic and political situation spread across social media. These videos and reports were picked up and re-broadcast on television and online by the Al Jazeera news network. In under a month , the dictatorship had fallen. Tunisians had been gossiping and joking about the corruption for years. What was different was the psychological effect of an establishment confronted so publicly with its ugly own image.
It was that the government knew that all people knew, inside and outside the country, how corrupt and authoritarian it was. It was the U. State department, a supposed ally. Tunileaks illustrates two useful ideas. First, it shows the value of keeping an eye on external resources for information that could be brought into play. Sometime we can be too narrow in relation to where we look for relevant information. Second, Nawaat successfully repackaged existing information to make it accessible in a timely way to audiences who would never otherwise have been able to access it.
Hacking Team is one of many companies that make and sell surveillance technologies and products. Over gigabytes of internal emails more than 1 million , source code, invoices and documents from the Hacking Team hack are now in a searchable archive at Wikileaks ; we recommend that you install and use the Tor Browser before searching see Chapter 8: Protecting Data for more information. Both Wikileaks and Transparency Toolkit published this database which revealed details about their operation, contacts and communications with governments and companies around the world. The information was taken from leaked information; whether it was an internal informant within the company that caused the data breach or an external hack is unknown or at least unpublished.
These leaks are of interest to journalists, NGOs, researchers and investigators who wish to analyse their content as they offer rare insights into the capabilities and practices of this very secret company. Searching through this database revealed a number of findings. Details of Hacking Team's client list and business model. Hacking Team sold their surveillance technologies to a number of governments and regimes with poor human rights records and those who have been criticised for aggressive surveillance in monitoring the activities of activists, lawyers and journalists.
The governments of Bahrain , Egypt and Morocco have invested in surveillance technologies. Before these leaks were published, Hacking Team had explicitly denied working with numerous repressive governments. In , Reporters Without Borders named Hacking Team as one of the 'corporate enemies of the internet'. The devil is in the detail. As yet, it has not been possible to verify the veracity of the documents. However these leaks offer us a rare opportunity to look into the inner workings of a company like Hacking Team.
They identified that there was an ongoing conversation over the signification of metadata and there was a bulk of metadata connected to these leaks. So they undertook an experiment and tested different methodologies on the metadata available. The conclusion of the investigation was that the goal of the research was not to conclude anything about the Hacking Team's activities but to use Hacking Team as a case-study on how metadata analysis can be performed and what can be learned from it.
The outcomes of this research were to inform a scientific and 'popular' audience on the real important of metadata for our privacy. The Lab hopes that others will be inspired to use similar techniques on their own research and find new connections and leads based on metadata.
What technologies Hacking Team were selling and working with. This can be described as 'offensive hacking' rather than 'defensive hacking'. RCS software allows these agencies to target computers and mobile devices and install backdoors. To gain insight into what technologies companies like Hacking Team are selling is usually difficult, if not impossible. This, however, is something that the next project focuses on. This database can be used to find information about the intelligence community, surveillance programmes and other information that is very much private but that has been posted publicly via the professional networking platform, LinkedIn.
Exposing the Invisible recently interviewed M. In his own words he explains how this information was presumed hidden but, in reality, was public:. LinkedIn profiles, because many people mention things about their work and their job history on LinkedIn, so they say, "Oh, I know how to use Microsoft Word and XKeyscore", just in their skills on their LinkedIn profile, and sometimes they also mention unknown code words and define them. In ICWATCH we have quite a bit of data, about 27, profiles of people involved in the intelligence community, primarily the US intelligence community but also some people around the world.
These range from people who are saying that they work as a contractor or maybe mention some interesting terms, to people who are listing tons of secret code words on their profiles, sometimes with helpful descriptions of what the code words are. We've collected them all in one place, and made software so that anyone can search through them to better understand surveillance programmes, or which companies help with which programmes, or the career paths of people in the intelligence industry. We want to understand both the details of the programmes themselves as well as the people involved.
Institutions are made up of people, and being able to understand why people get involved and, if people leave the intelligence community, why they leave and what pushes them to do so, is important for understanding how we can reform mass surveillance. An interview with Mari Bastashevski, featured on Exposing the Invisible, the day after the data breach at Hacking Team. There is a lot of information publicly available that can be found on worldwide registries and international or national databases.
The next example looks at how these database can be utilised to find information that is available if you know where to look. This hidden system was always thought to be an impenetrable network of complex connections between institutions and individuals using legal gaps, loopholes and liberal regulations, such as offshore company registers, bank accounts and the availability of anonymously owned entities and companies, to manoeuvre within it.
Regardless of how complex these systems are and what levels of anonymity are established and maintained, money leaves a trail. These trails are generated when funds are moved between people and institutions and since this occurs within the digital spectrum, it is possible to trace them back to those who send the money and those who receive the funds. The Investigative Dashboard is an initiative of the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project OCCRP , an international network of investigators and journalists whose aim is to make business transparent and open and to expose crime.
By 'following the money' through a range of investigative strategies and processes, the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project is able to show how and where organised criminal networks and corrupt dictators hide their wealth. There is always an interface between the world of organised crime and the real world. It is an underground activity but it must have a public interface because they involve people. We act at that interface. We see organised crime and corruption as a puzzle to be solved. Solving this puzzle usually requires a good deal of digging and fishing around through databases and records to peel back layers upon layers of fake companies that serve as fronts for criminals to secretly privatise their assets.
Companies can be registered and owned in multiple locations around the world and uncovering who the beneficiaries really are means exposing the details of every single company-within-a-company, a lot like matryoshkas, nested Russian dolls. However, this standard is waived by banks in offshore banking hubs. So, a corrupt president can put their kickbacks into an account for a fake company registered in the names of the proxies sometimes these are people whose identities are stolen and used without their knowledge, as fronts.
Many of the banks in countries like Switzerland and the Bahamas are highly secretive and do not readily divulge information. A lot of investigative efforts have been stalled by the sheer difficulty in gaining access to information, so investigative journalists have to be extremely resourceful and inventive in following trails. Recently, the Investigative Dashboard were surprised when Panama opened up its company registry database. This was a big surprise as Panama was known for its secrecy.
However, it quickly became clear that it was not that easy to directly access the information; you had to know the actual name of every front company to search through the database. Working with hackers who were able to 'scrape' the database and re-index it, OCCRP was able to add functionalities — like searching by name of company director for example — which make it easier for investigators to find information. To access a list of worldwide registers, have a look at here. Frequently used by investigative reporters for diverse investigations, the Panama registry of companies is a great tool for journalists and activists interested in issues pertaining to corruption and tax avoidance.
LittleSis is a free database of who-knows-who of business and government. They define themselves as the grass-roots watchdog network connecting the dots between the world's most powerful people and organisations. OpenCorporates is a database which aims to gather information on all the companies in the world. The database currently offers information on 50 million companies in 65 different jurisdictions. Information that can be found on OpenCorporates includes a company's incorporation date, its registered addresses and its registry page, as well as a list of directors and officers.
TheyRule is a website offering interactive visualisations of the biggest companies in the US, helping you see who has the power in each company and what the ties are between individuals at the top of corporations.
TheyRule also provides data relating to various institutions and foundations, shedding light on who is hiding behind lobbies and think tanks in America. Explore the different options in the left hand menu to show the connections between companies, institutions, boards of directors and people. You can work on different visualisations at the same time. Individuals who sit as directors of more than one board are represented with a fat belly, which gets bigger according to the number of boards. Andrew Feinstein, The Shadow World. But what you can do is assume that if they're dealing with toxic chemicals and there's a good chance they have a bad safety record, so what you can do is go to the local fire department and ask if there are any documented incidences of a hazmat response.
In other words, have there been any instances where you've been called to anything to do with hazardous waste. So you start to build up evidence around the thing that you are looking at when you can't look at it directly. Open data resources may have little to offer directly on many of the contentious global issues — state-sponsored violence, conflict, human rights violations, environmental degradation and resource transparency - particularly as they play out at the global level, or in transition or repressive parts of the world.
In such places, it may be impossible or even dangerous to ask a local authority or a company to release data. Yet this has not stopped activists experimenting with these methods in 'data dark zones', for example, by not waiting for information to be released but instead finding it themselves, creating their own resources or working with leaked information. In this section we look at examples of techniques for directly recording and collecting information. So, effectively, we often know that data around an issue exists, but do not know how to collect it. Here are some examples of groups and individuals who could be useful starting points when considering innovative ways of finding data.
Find leads in other places: Many different groups collect and publish data about the same thing, but do it in different ways with different approaches, standards and technologies.
For example, governments publish information about companies in different ways: in a globalised world, this makes it difficult to track the activity of companies and the individuals associated with them. An interesting approach to solving this is to look at OpenCorporates which pulls together data about the registration and ownership of companies from around the world.
OpenCorporates does the heavy lifting of making corporate information easier to access, meaning that others researching companies don't have to. The International Aid Transparency Initiative IATI does something similar in creating a standard that governments and international organisations can use to publish data about development aid spending, enabling it to be aggregated and compared. In recent years, a highly secretive industry has grown in creating and selling technologies that can be used to intercept emails and website use, hack online user accounts and track their owner's behaviour and location through internet and mobile use.
The risks that activists and journalists around the world face as a result of digital surveillance by repressive regimes has also grown, some might say in lockstep with the market for these technologies. However, it has long been difficult to gather evidence of systematic connections that would help activists exert pressure on companies and governments to comply with human rights standards in the export and use of these technologies. Researchers from Privacy International PI , a human rights group based in the UK, managed to attend a number of surveillance industry conferences.
By collecting many of the product marketing materials freely distributed at the ISS World conferences, they were able to identify which companies were offering what services. Privacy International and a consortium of activist and journalist groups released this information as The Spy Files a similar set of information was also released by the Wall Street Journal as a searchable dataset called the Surveillance Catalogue.
Through further data-gathering activities, PI were able to obtain lists of the companies and government agencies who attended the same ISS conferences. They published this in the form of a Surveillance Who's Who , which gives leads to public agencies in over countries that have shown active interest in surveillance technologies. This data has been wired into other public data resources and services about public spending and company information. By publishing them on an open platform, PI raise the issue but make them available for others to conduct analysis and investigation.
Others have the opportunity to fill in the gaps in the existing dataset, improving the resource for everyone interested in the issue. Let rejection be your proof: Mari Bastashevsk i is an artist, researcher, writer and investigator. She focuses on issues of systemic failure and international conflict profiteering and the information vacuum that surrounds these issues. Bastashevski discusses using photography and the process of rejection in her work through enabling her subject to define their own perimeter of secrecy, whether legally established or imaginary.
Usually, the permission would then be denied. This is a fairly standard system of request and rejection, where I become the requester and they have the power to play a rejecter. The rejection itself is very interesting and it varies from silence to an email very diligently composed by a public relations executive.
The latter is especially true of Western European companies. What I try to do next is to ask them where exactly the photograph is rejected and where the border of rejection ends, defining the distance. For me, this is the disruptive element that forces the requester and the rejecter out of our established positions. This element of the work is very much a performance. One in which both the photographer and the photographed stumble and look a bit surprised. This specific approach was inspired by a Swiss defence contracts broker, BT International, whom I met back in The director, who was there alone, asked me to take off my shoes and invited me in for tea.
So we ended up sitting there drinking tea and we talked for a while. He answered some of my questions and he did not answer some of my other questions as he went into the traditional ideological discussion of, "Well, if we're not going to sell it, someone else will and there are bad guys," and all of these things that you hear over and over again. All the while I can see cows grazing, right outside the window, and remember how this very small company is responsible for brokering a lot of very serious deals around the world and I am trying to figure out how to compute the two.
Riedbach, Switzerland. Extrapolate from unexpected sources: The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science Public Lab develops and shares open-source, do-it-yourself tools for communities to collect data about environment pollution and contamination. In Brooklyn in the United States, Public Lab and its collaborators used balloon-mapping to identify zones of contamination in the Gowanus Canal. While the Gowanus Canal has been widely recognised as in need of a clean-up, and has state funds to do so, balloon-mapping allows local communities to monitor this process and collect 'shadow' data.
In the Czech Republic, they supported activist groups to monitor illegal logging in the Sumava National Park. The most basic aerial balloon-mapping kits they have developed involve just a camera, a bottle, balloons and rubber-bands. Aerial photography is usually restricted to governments with the technologists to launch satellites, but this sort of 'grass-roots mapping' allows communities to influence how they name and own their territories.
Coupled with more advanced technologies like near-infrared cameras and thermal photography, these simple tools can serve as powerful forms of data collection that can be used for investigation. Exposing the Invisible spoke to him recently about this project and he describes how he found visuals to describe deportation of migrants that, for example, had outstayed their visa, a process that happens late at night using hidden infrastructure that was impossible to document.
However, by using a range of techniques such as first-hand accounts, aeroplane spotting websites and working with an architectural studio to visualise these hidden spaces, he was able to generate a rough outline of the process. It could happen in a number of ways and one of the simplest ways is simply providing images where they didn't exist before. This is a thing that's going on but you don't see pictures of it in the newspapers because it happens within this kind of protected sphere.
It happens within private space. I wanted to fill in the gaps in that imagery and effectively use the same way of thinking about technology as I'd used in the investigation to do image-making. So I worked with people who tend to do architectural visualisation, who worked with architects, who produce plans for buildings and nice luxury apartments, who are very adept at rendering and making images of initially, imaginary un-built spaces.
But we did investigative work to get the floor plans and the planning documents and the eye-witness accounts and what few photographs there were of these places from various times, in order to build full 3D models of them, so that we could then essentially do tours of them. And we did that, not just for the airport terminal that I visited, this private terminal at Stansted airport, but also for the detention centre, where many of those people were held, which is again kind of privately-run space.
The Migrant Files is an open database containing information on over 29, people who died on their way to Europe since , collated from publicly available sources. Both projects featured a team of journalists and data experts who collected dispersed information from many sources, correlated and verified this information and then published it as a new body of evidence.
This new body of evidence not only exposed the sheer numbers of people dying but it also highlighted the lack of a consistent system of cross-country monitoring and a total lack of accountability of existing institutions and their methodologies. Another example of collecting dispersed information from many sources is the Dutch cartographer, Thomas Van Linge, a year-old Dutch student, who maps out the territorial control of Iraq, Libya and Syria as it evolves and posts these maps to his Twitter account.
These maps are then shared with his 25, followers and are often cited by major news organisations as accurate depictions of who controls which areas in these countries. He usually creates these maps on Google Earth through sources gathered from social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and also from personal contacts in the region. He estimates that he uses over 1, sources for his Syrian maps to verify claims of territorial control. In an interview with Newsweek in June he said:. I also want to inform journalists who want to go to the region which regions are definitely no-go zones, which regions are the most dangerous, and also to show strategic developments through time.
These five approaches are some of many that investigators are using to find or create data that is not outwardly available. In the next two chapters we will look at techniques for collecting this data and approaches to analysing it. Karlheinz Brandenburg was based at the Fraunhofer Institute in Berlin when he developed the. The same institute developed a technology that collected evidence from hundreds of millions of scraps of paper hastily torn up by the Stasi after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The Stasi, more formally known as the Ministry for State Security, was the official state security service of the German Democratic Republic from to , renowned as an extremely effective and repressive secret police agency. Notoriously passionate about the use of paper, the Stasi documented everything they learned about the people they kept tabs on. After the fall of the Berlin wall in , the Stasi knew that the tide had turned and that they would be subject to investigation for spying on the population.
They deployed poor-quality shredders to destroy the paper records they had amassed; when the shredders broke down, they ripped up the documents by hand and stuffed them into sacks. Before these sacks could be destroyed, the Stasi headquarters were surrounded and the sacks were acquired by the new federal authority on the Stasi archives. Decades later, the Fraunhofer Institute invented a technology called the ePuzzler. The ePuzzler made it possible to match and reconstruct an entire Stasi document.
First, each and every single piece of torn paper had to be ironed out and then scanned. Data about the size, shape and notation on the paper are digitally recorded during the scan. The ePuzzler then uses a mathematical formula to match information about the size and shape of the paper against about six hundred million other pieces. The creation of ePuzzler is interesting for a number of reasons. In , the Fraunhofer Institute faced the seemingly impossible task of matching millions of pieces of paper in order to investigate the Stasi and their activities, from all the way to Rather than relying on a technology that was already in existence, they created a new technology to address this challenge.
This case study also demonstrates that while collecting information, you might not know when that information will become useful. When investigators were collecting these endless bags of shredded information in the s, they could not have known that 20 years later, scientists would invent a technique that could automatically piece this information back together. As digital technologies have made the sharing, storing and discovery of information more accessible, there are new possibilities for working with data.
Nevertheless, the data we need to build our investigation is never ready and organised in a way, nor in a format, we can immediately use. We often have to search around on the internet to find the data we need; at other times, it's already gathered but we have to ask many different people for it. Open data advocates argue that public bodies should not only release information and data with modern online habits in mind, but they should do it in a way that removes technical, financial and legal obstacles to any sort of re-use.
In practice, this means designing methods and standards for releasing different sorts of information in ways that anticipate but don't preclude what people might want to do with it. These include making sure information is released in digital formats that can be used in commonly used desktop tools like spreadsheets, and using common standards to enable linking between datasets. This important technical work removes practical obstacles to the potential held within the data, helping to realise the action that the calls for access suggest is necessary.
The first part, Making data useful online , introduces four ways to think about the data you have or have found, and how you can help others get the most out of it. The second section, How to access data when it's inaccessible , takes a practical approach to gaining access to data with three tutorials:. I was a pure tech guy at that time. Now I think I have a role of providing free access to law in India.
He sees his work as solving an annoying problem. You can't find a link to these judgements. As a result what happens is that people are confused by this complete jargon. Sinha, a software engineer with Yahoo! India in his day job, started taking an interest in law in , spending time on the growing number of law blogs that appeared in India around that time. But he was unable to quickly find sources mentioned in the blogs or understand what a case was about.
In or the Supreme Court of India started putting each judgement online. So I started reading them and I was like 'oh man, there is too much jargon'. But then an idea struck me. Let's suppose these people know that these sections are important, so why can't computers automatically discover it? To advance his own understanding of the law Sinha used his skills as a computer scientist to bring together around 30, judgements from the Supreme Court of India published on its official website.
His computer programmes 'read' through each judgement, picking out citations of sections of the legal code and references to other cases the Supreme Court had decided. They then link them all together making the legal documents dramatically easier to search, browse through and understand. He didn't stop there. In early he decided to put his work online as a simple to use search engine. The High Courts of India also publish the outcomes of court cases each day, so Sinha began to include them in the search engine.
His programmes — called 'crawlers' or 'scrapers' — automatically visit these websites each day to look for new material, downloading what they find and adding it to the search engine. Not everyone has been happy. As the court judgements in Indian Kanoon are also indexed in Google and other search engines, many people involved in court cases are finding their names appearing in search engine results for the first time. Some have pleaded with Sinha to remove their names, effectively asking him to change the content of original, already public court documents.
From the data supply side, Sinha notes that Indian Kanoon's focus on ease of use shows how the interests and capabilities of the IT companies running the court systems get in the way of a useful, responsive service for the end users. They know what it takes. I have no idea about how to take that battle - so whatever sort of battle I can fight, I'm fighting.
If you want to use these techniques in your area of work, below are four ways to think about the data you have or have found, and how you can help others get the most out of it too. Publish information in ways that are native to the internet : advocacy groups are beginning to adapt to internet-native ways of publishing information online. The idea is to encourage others to use it by making it easy to search, explore, re-use and contextualise. Rather than think of your data as a table in a report, think of it as a service to others: what else could they do with it that you can't? The wave of open data portals, such as Open Data Kenya , go even further by providing tools for mapping and quantitative analysis.
50 Shades of Grey Decoded (Search for Truth Book 1) - Kindle edition by Dr. Benjamin S. Mack, Sheila McKinney. Download it once and read it on your Kindle . Actual 50 shades of grey decoded search for truth book 1 pdf ebooks. Find 50 shades of grey decoded search for truth book 1 immediately.
Increasingly, online data sources are used not only by specialists, researchers, academics and journalists, but also by concerned members of the public who have surprised data publishers with the level of their curiosity and the massive efforts they are willing to undertake in investigating raw data in order to form their own opinions.
Agitagogo: a Civic Hacktivism Abecedary by Tony Bowden, containing tips on how to build public service websites that aren't dreadful. Data Driven Journalism - a handy resource to find out about technologies and journalism. Wikileaks data journalism: how we handled the data — a practical look at the process used by the Guardian to turn a big dump of data into news stories. In many cases, data will not be as freely available and easy to re-use as it could be. Researching an issue or requesting information can result in stacks of paper or thousands of digital files.
These can be overwhelming, difficult to make sense of quickly, and it can be hard be to know how to proceed. Do you just start flicking through the documents with a pen and paper, or would a more systematic approach be better? What technologies could be helpful? Activists and journalists have been collaborating with technologists on a range of potentially useful approaches to overcoming situations where the format gets in the way of the information. In this section, we suggest some practical starting points for collecting and working with data and look at three basic robust technologies:.
Most of us have come across information 'locked' in a PDF document. This can be done using a technique called scraping and parsing. In the example below, we look at data produced by a single organisation in Zimbabwe, but the ideas and techniques are applicable to anywhere that a digital publication format gets in the way of using the data inside it. The idea applies equally to extracting data from a website.
The Zimbabwe Peace Project ZPP , a Zimbabwe-based organisation, documents political violence, human rights violations and the politicised use of the emergency food distribution system. They have a nationwide network of field monitors who submit thousands of incident reports every month, covering both urban and rural Zimbabwe. Between and , the ZPP released comprehensive reports detailing the violence occurring in the country. The reports are dense PDFs and Microsoft Word documents that are digests of incidents, unique in their comprehensiveness.
As documents, they are also pretty inaccessible and their formats get in the way of seeing what actually happened and gauging how the situation has changed over those years. It is hard to do anything with the data, such as search, filter, count or plot it on maps as it is locked inside the PDFs. What can we do about this? All documents are arranged in a particular, pre-defined way. Whether they are reports or web pages, they will have a structure that includes:.
This structure repeats itself across the full document. You can see a regular, predictable pattern in the layout if you zoom out of the report and look at 16 pages at once. So there's lots of data in there, but we can't get at it. The report is very informative, containing the details of hundreds of incidents of politically-motivated violence. However, it has some limitations. For example, without going through the report and counting them yourself, it is impossible to find out what incidents happened on any specific day across Zimbabwe.
This is because the information is not structured to make it easy for you to find this out. It is written in a narrative form, and is contained in a format that makes it hard to search. To tackle this problem, the format of the information has to change to allow for more effective searching. Try to imagine this report as a spreadsheet. Along Willowvale Road, it is alleged that AM, a youth, who was criticising the ruling party President RGM in a commuter omnibus to town, was harassed and ordered to drop at a police road block by two police officers who were in the same commuter omnibus.
A spreadsheet created in something like Open Office Calc or Microsoft Excel allows this information to be sorted, filtered and counted, which helps us explore it more easily. However, making this spreadsheet from the original ZPP reports would require lots of cutting and pasting — costing us time that we don't have. So what can we do? If you can read it, a computer might be able to read it as well. With a little technical work, a report like the one in our example can be turned from an inaccessible PDF into a searchable and sortable spreadsheet.
This is a form of machine data conversion. Knowing how this works can change how you see a big pile of digital documents. The computer programs that are used to convert data in this way are called scraper-parsers. They grab data from one place scraping and turn it into what we want it to be by filtering parsing it.
Scraper-parsers are automatic, super-fast copying and pasting programs that follow the rules we give them. We can then tell it what to do based on the elements, styles and layouts it encounters. Using the ZPP reports, our aim is to create a spreadsheet of the violent incidents, including when and where they happened. We would give the scraper the following rules:. Rule 1 : If you see a heading that is a at the top of a page, b in bold capitals, you shall assume this is a Geographical Area Region and print what you find in Column 1 of the spreadsheet.
Rule 2 : After seeing a Geographical Area Region , you shall assume that until you see another heading at the top of the page in bold capitals that is different from the previous one, you are looking at things that have happened in that geographical region. Once the rules are set, the scraper-parser can be run. It will go through this page document very quickly, pulling out the data you have told it to.
The scraper might not get it right the first time, and there will be errors. The point is that you can improve a scraper-parser, run it hundreds of times and check by hand what it has put in your spreadsheet, and it will still be faster than trying to re-type out the content yourself.
Scraper-parsers have to be written especially for each document because the rules will be different, though the task is the same. However, in most cases it is not a major challenge for a programmer, the challenge for you is to understand that it is possible, and clearly explain what you need! Dull repetitive tasks are precisely what computers are made for. You might think that it is not worth writing a scraper-parser for a one-problem task.
However, what if you have hundreds of documents, all with the same format, all containing information you want? In the Zimbabwe example, there are 38 reports produced over nearly 10 years. Each is dense, and in total contain data on over 25, incidents of political violence. The format gets in the way of being able to use this data. Go through all 38 documents you tell it to, whether on your computer, or on the internet scraper-parsers can browse the internet as well.
Include new columns for the date the report was published, and the page number where the incident was recorded in the report so you can check the data has come across properly. Automatically turn the spreadsheet into an online spreadsheet like Google Spreadsheets that can be shared freely online, and update it when data from a new report becomes available. Scraping and parsing can be technical, but if you are trying to extract data that is already organised in a table, then it is much easier and there are tools available that can help you.
To unlock data from more complicated layouts, you may need to get a programmer involved. Below is a list of further resources that can help deepen your understanding of this technique so you can give it a try yourself:. School of Data offers various courses on scraping: how to scrape data from websites without using code , how to scrape data from tables in PDFs and more advanced tutorials for programmers.
Scraperwiki is a tool to unlock data held in PDFs, tweets and websites. Great for technical and non-technical users alike. Pro Publica produced a guide on how they used scrapers to collect data to show the connections between pharmaceutical companies and doctors in the US. There are often online databases that are spread across many pages that you must endlessly click 'next', 'next', next' to see the contents of these pages, let alone analyse them.
When you find this information you often want to quickly collect this data, run queries on it or see how it has changed over time. Doing this manually can take an off-puttingly large amount of time. However this can be done automatically through utilising a technique called web scraping. This allows us to turn information stored on websites into more usable formats such as spreadsheets.
Through running a script or software on a website the tool effectively scrapes the information you have deemed important and gives you the ability to ask questions about it. Or who was the main donor for certain political campaign? There are a number of web-based services that offer free software to users to scrap websites.
For open-source alternatives, try scrapy. Scrapy is a good alternative, but requires a little bit more of understanding about terminal operations, we recommend reading their documentation first. The scraperwiki tool is also a popular alternative, and is free for journalists. It's important to note that many of the web-scraping tools are hosted by third party servers. This means that the information that you might be gathering could be stored in "another person's house".
Read more on why this might be a problem in the Protect Section of this Guide. It's also helpful to note that similarly to information stored within PDFs, hiding information within websites can be a dissuading technique used by those who do not want the information to be investigated more thoroughly. Take care if you are working with sensitive information or issues, asking the following questions could be a helpful start:.
A question often associated with web-scraping is around its legality. Recent cases are using the violation of the Fair Use to prosecute people and companies that scraped websites and infringe their copyrights rules, as in the Meltwater case , a news aggregator was accused of copying Associated Press by scraping their content. If you are unsure about the legality of your action, it is always worth checking first with a lawyer. Paperwork is a fact of life whatever you do. Whilst this is changing, not all information that might be useful to us is 'born digital' or exists in a digital format.
For a range of reasons, paper can still remain a better solution for whomever was trying to capture or transfer information. Confronting a mountain of paper that you know or hope contains information relevant to the issue you are working on can be intimidating and discouraging. This section proposes some rules of thumb and a process to help you overcome such challenges.
In response to the terrorist attacks in New York on September 11, , the US Government intensified its interrogation of those foreign nationals it suspected of involvement in terrorism. The programme clearly violates a range of international Human Rights and humanitarian laws. A decade later, Human Rights lawyers continue to seek redress for those people abducted, detained without due process and tortured.