Amnesty Tech launches Digital Forensics Fellowship

Amnesty Tech are thrilled to announce the launch of the Digital Forensics Fellowship, led by our Security Lab. This innovative Fellowship is an opportunity for human rights defenders working at the nexus of human rights and technology to expand their learning on digital forensics and to work alongside the Security Lab to conduct unique research projects.

The Security Lab leads technical investigations into cyber-attacks against civil society and provides critical support when individuals face such attacks.  The Lab also builds tools and services to help protect human rights defenders (HRDs), journalists and others from cyber-attacks and conducts technical training with the wider support community to help them identify and respond to digital threats.

If you are curious about digital forensics, protecting human rights defenders and excited about the prospect of learning and working alongside the Security Lab, we want to hear from you.

In an effort to democratise digital forensics knowledge, and to build technical capacity amongst HRD communities across the world, the Security Lab is looking for five fellows who want to deepen their understanding of digital forensics in order to better serve their local or national human rights communities.

The Security Lab’s digital forensics research, including as part of the Pegasus Project, has revealed a vast world of unlawful surveillance where HRDs’ and journalists’ activity is monitored using the Pegasus spyware platform, developed by NSO Group. HRDs who have been targeted with this spyware have been put under enormous pressure, often leading to stress and a feeling of a loss of freedom. As they cannot determine whether their personal and professional digital communication is monitored, HRDs report resorting to self-censorship and other tactics to avoid any potential repercussions.

The true scale of unlawful surveillance of HRDs using Pegasus spyware is difficult to measure, and the situation merits continued vigilance and research from technologists, civil society, governments, and international institutions alike. We know as well that NSO Group is not the only company whose spyware is used to conduct unlawful surveillance of HRDs – other spyware companies’ products are also being deployed for the same purposes. Tactics used by spyware companies are constantly evolving and adapting to evade detection, becoming ever more efficient.

We are at an important crossroads where the current need for digital forensics expertise to research and identify instances of unlawful surveillance of HRDs is greater than the numbers of experts who can take on this work. This is where the Digital Forensics Fellowship comes in.

If you are curious about digital forensics, protecting HRDs, and excited about the prospect of learning and working (remotely) alongside the Security Lab and a group of Fellows from around the world, we want to hear from you. This unique Fellowship will equip you to support HRDs in the face of unlawful surveillance, and it is an exciting opportunity to build skills and knowledge on advanced digital threats and forensics investigation techniques.

We want you to join the inaugural year of the Fellowship, and hope that you will send us your application materials (CV, two references, and draft research proposal) by 12 June. For more information about the Fellowship and the criteria for applying, please visit here.