69 episodes

The Rights Track podcast gets the hard facts about the human rights challenges facing the world today and aims to get our thinking about human rights on the right track.

The Rights Track Todd Landman

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The Rights Track podcast gets the hard facts about the human rights challenges facing the world today and aims to get our thinking about human rights on the right track.

    The Rights Track: Sound Evidence on Human Rights and Modern Slavery - SPECIAL EPISODE

    The Rights Track: Sound Evidence on Human Rights and Modern Slavery - SPECIAL EPISODE

    In this special BONUS episode of the podcast, Todd is joined by Rights Track producer Chris Garrington of Research Podcasts to discuss their recently published book The Rights Track: Sound Evidence on Human Rights and Modern Slavery. 
    The book, published by Anthem Press is launched today (September 6, 2022) at a special event hosted by the University of Nottingham's Rights Lab, funders of Series 3-5 of the podcast. 
    Transcript
    Todd Landman  0:01 
    Welcome to The Rights Track podcast, which gets the hard facts about the human rights challenges facing us today. I'm Todd Landman. In this special episode of the podcast, I'm delighted to be joined by Rights Track producer, Chris Garrington to discuss our new book, The Rights Track: Sound Evidence on Human Rights and Modern Slavery, which was published in July. Chris and I launched The Rights Track podcast together in 2015, and have just finished production of a seventh series. Chris is the director and owner of Research Podcasts Limited, which specialises in consultancy, training and podcast production for researchers and students. So, welcome to this side of the mic, Chris.
    Christine Garrington  0:38 
    Thanks, Todd. I was gonna say it feels strange to be here. But of course, it doesn't feel strange at all, because I'm always here for recordings of Rights Track episodes, but it does feel strange, slightly strange. I'm not gonna lie to be speaking into the mic and be having a proper conversation with you in this way. But wonderful.
    Todd Landman  0:55 
    You're now the guest, you are not sitting behind the scenes trying to make the guests sound fantastic. So Chris, I wanted to start with, when did podcasts first enter into your head? 
    Christine Garrington  1:06 
    Oh, that's a really good question. So you know, Todd, but our listeners won't know that my background was in journalism. So I came straight out of university and trained to be a journalist back in the late 80s, early 90s. And spent most of that time working in radio - in BBC local radio in Essex. And then when radio five live launched here in the UK, in the mid 90s I worked there. So I developed if you like, my love of audio, my passion around the power of audio to tell stories, to report news, as well as obviously, all of the technical and editorial skills required to do that well, whilst working as a radio journalist. But jump forward a decade after leaving the BBC and doing a few different things and living abroad for a while, I came back to the UK and ended up working a little bit by chance, if I can be honest there, working in a research institute at the University of Essex.
    Todd Landman  2:03 
    Yeah.
    Christine Garrington  2:03 
    And it was actually there where I was given a free rein to try to help that institute promote its research better to communicate and engage around its research better with non-academic audiences to wider audiences, that I came up with this idea of using my skills, my background in this new setting, in the university and research setting to launch a podcast and it was indeed there that I launched my very first podcast, and that would have been in around I think, 2010 - 2011.
    Todd Landman  2:34 
    Wow. So 12 years ago. Now, I wanted to just hone in on one thing you said there, you've talked about people telling their stories. And I want to link it to my next question, which is, at what point did you want to work with academics interested in presenting their own podcasts? But I guess, are they any good at telling their stories? And did you really have to coach them to tell their stories? Because sometimes people ask us questions, we give ridiculously complex answers. And people really want more straightforward answers to questions, maybe in a more binary fashion. So how do you get academics interested in presenting their own podcasts? And how do you get actually get academics to sit and talk in a way that is meaningful, interesting and productive for a non-academic aud

    • 29 min
    Human rights in a digital world: pause for thought

    Human rights in a digital world: pause for thought

    In Episode 9 of Series 7, Todd is joined again by Ben Lucas, Director of 3DI at the University of Nottingham, funders of this series. Together they reflect on some of the key themes and ideas to emerge from Series 7 of The Rights Track about human rights in a digital world.
     
    Transcript
    Todd Landman  0:01  
    Welcome to The Rights Track podcast, which gets the hard facts about the human rights challenges facing us today. In series seven, we've been discussing human rights in a digital world. I'm Todd Landman. And in the last episode of this fantastic series, I'm delighted to be joined for the second time by Ben Lucas, Managing Director of 3DI at the University of Nottingham, a hub for world class data science research and funders for this series of our podcast. Ben helped kick off series seven at the end of last year talking about some of the challenges and opportunities created in a data driven society and the implications for our human rights. Today, he's here to help us reflect on some of the key themes that have emerged from this series. So welcome, Ben, it's great to have you on this final episode of The Rights Track.
    Ben Lucas  0:46  
    Great to be here. Thanks very much.
    Todd Landman  0:48  
    So last night, we were at a launch event for INFINITY, which is an inclusive financial technology hub being launched here at the University of Nottingham, we had a bucolic setting at the Trent bridge, cricket ground, which I say was quite historic. But some of the messages I heard coming out of that event last night, really gave me hope for the promise of digital with respect, particularly to helping people who are currently excluded from financial technologies or finance more generally. And the ever, you know, sort of problem of people getting credit ratings getting access to finance, I wondered if you could just reflect on what was shared last night around the the positive story that could be told around using technology to give people access to hard to find finance?
    Ben Lucas  1:29  
    Yeah, absolutely. So I think the central issue with financial inaccessibility is really the fact that people get trapped in this really bad cycle, and perhaps don't have savings, and then you lean more on credit options, for example. And then you become more and more dependent, if you like on credit options. Equally, there are also folks who are excluded from accessing credit completely or at an affordable rate. In the first instance, which obviously changes very much the quality of life, let's say that they're able to enjoy the things they're able to purchase, and so on. So really, the mission of projects like INFINITY, which is focusing very much on this idea of inclusive financial technology, is trying to boost accessibility to everything from tools that help people save to tools that help people spend to a breaking that some of these negative cycles that cause people to end up in not so great financial situations. And yeah, it's really leveraging and learning from, you know, all the wonderful developments in, you know, things like analytics and new financial services, products, especially those that are app based, that we use in the rest of the financial services world, but applying them for good, basically, so very much consistent with this data for good message that we've been speaking about in this series.
    Todd Landman  2:51  
    Right that's really interesting. So it's a data driven approach to understanding the gaps and inequalities in a modern society that does have the data infrastructure and technological infrastructure to give people access. But really the data driven approach lowers the barriers to entry for those folks. And I was quite struck by that there was a colleague there from Experian, which is a credit rating agency talking about the millions of people who either don't have online bank accounts don't have access to the right kinds of technologies, and don't have the kind of credit rating that gives them acces

    • 25 min
    Eyewitness: using digital technology to prosecute human rights abusers

    Eyewitness: using digital technology to prosecute human rights abusers

    In Episode 8 of Series 7 of The Rights Track, Todd is in conversation with Wendy Betts, Director of eyeWitness, an International Bar Association project launched in 2015 which collects verifiable video of human rights violations for use in investigations and trials. We're asking Wendy how the use of digital technology can help to hold accountable those who commit human rights crimes.
     
    Transcript
    Todd Landman  0:01 
    Welcome to The Rights Track podcast, which gets the hard facts about the human rights challenges facing us today. In series seven, we're discussing human rights in a digital world. I'm Todd Landman, in this episode, I'm delighted to be joined by Wendy Betts. Wendy is director of eyeWitness an International Bar Association project launched in 2015, which collects verifiable video of human rights violations for use in investigations and trials. So today we're asking Wendy, how does the use of digital technology help to hold accountable those who commit human rights crimes? So Wendy, it's absolutely brilliant to have you on this episode of the right track. So welcome.
    Wendy Betts  0:38 
    Thanks, Todd. It's great to be here.
    Todd Landman  0:40 
    You and I met in Bergen in Norway, we were at the Rafto Foundation awards for the Human Rights Data Analysis Group and Human Rights Data Analysis Group have featured in previous episodes on The Rights Track. And I see there is a kind of correlation, if you will, between the work of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group and the work that you do at eyeWitness. It is just that the data you're collecting is really video files and video footage. So tell us a little bit about the work that you're doing with eyeWitness.
    Wendy Betts  1:08 
    Absolutely. So at eyeWitness, we are helping human rights defenders in conflict zones and other places that are experiencing large scale human rights violations, to collect photo and video information in a way that makes it easier to authenticate. So that footage can be used in investigations and trials. So we work with human rights defenders in three ways. First, we're providing a mobile camera app that we designed to help ensure that the footage can be easily authenticated. And then we are helping to securely store that footage and maintain the chain of custody so it can eventually be used in investigations and trials. And third, we work to then take a working copy of that footage that we catalogue and tag to make it easier for investigators to identify footage that's potentially of interest to their investigations and incorporate that into those processes.
    Todd Landman  2:01 
    Well, that's a great summary of the work that you do. I recall when I was a student at Georgetown University, I worked in the Lauinger Library. And my job was to produce photographs in the pre-digital age. So this was processing rolls of film in the old cans used to kind of shake them with the chemicals and then use an enlarger and make photographs. And that was fine for special collections and photographing books. But one day, a Jesuit priest came into the library and handed me a roll of film and said I need 10 copies of each of these pictures. And they were actually photographs from the crime scene where Jesuit priests had been murdered in El Salvador. And I'm curious that when we enlarge those pictures and submitted them back to the authorities that requested them, is that kind of evidence still considered verifiable evidence? And what is it that the digital elements all of this adds to the veracity and the verifiability of evidence collected on human rights crimes?
    Wendy Betts  2:58 
    There's a long history of photo and video being used as evidence, that photo and video in its hard copy form would need to be verified to go to court. So generally speaking, the court would want to speak with the photographer, or in the absence of photographer, somebody that could help explain that that footage is indeed an accurate portrayal of that location at

    • 29 min
    Democracy assaulted: are we our own worst enemy?

    Democracy assaulted: are we our own worst enemy?

    In Episode 7 of Series 7 of The Rights Track, Todd is joined by Tom Nichols, Professor Emeritus of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College and Contributing Writer at The Atlantic. Tom specialises in international security affairs including U.S. - Russia relations, nuclear strategy, and NATO issues. His recent book – Our Own Worst Enemy: The Assault from within on Modern Democracy is an account of the spread of illiberal and anti-democratic sentiment throughout our culture. 
    Transcript
    Todd Landman  00:00
    Welcome to The Rights Track podcast, which gets the hard facts about the human rights challenges facing us today. In series seven, we're discussing human rights in a digital world. I'm Todd Landman, in this episode, I'm delighted to be joined by Tom Nichols. Tom is Professor Emeritus of National Security Affairs at the US Naval War College and contributing writer at The Atlantic. He specialises in international security affairs, including US Russia relations, nuclear strategy, and NATO issues. He recently authored a book - Our Own Worst Enemy; The Assault From Within on Modern Democracy. It's an engaging account of the spread of illiberal and anti-democratic sentiment throughout our culture. So today, we're asking him who's responsible for this, and what we should  do about it. So Tom, it's fantastic to have you on this episode of The Rights Track. So welcome.
    Tom Nichols  00:51
    Thank you. Thanks for having me.
    Todd Landman  00:53
    So I have a rather unusual question to enter into this conversation with you and it involves Indian food, because in your book, you talk about the idea that you're not a big fan of Indian food. But tell me a little bit of the story. What happened when you just expressed this view that you know what, I don't like Indian food?
    Tom Nichols  01:10
    Well, I didn't just express that I didn't like Indian food, I added this kind of snarky comment, because it was on Twitter, of course, and someone had said, post your worst food takes here. And of course, people said things like, well, I hate mayonnaise, and doughnuts are bad, and so on. But I said, Indian food is terrible, and we pretend that it isn't. And, of course, I meant my colleagues who would always drag me to Indian restaurants, and then spend the afternoon sweating and gulping water and you know, sweat running in their eyes. And I would always turn to them and say, so you can't possibly be enjoying this. Because I don't happen to like very spicy food. And this Firestorm broke out. I mean, within two days, you know, I was this, you know, genocidal racist maniac. You know, I was in all the Indian papers. I was in The Washington Post -  Russian television mentioned me. I mean, it was insane. All because I'm a middle aged New Englander, who just doesn't happen to like Indian food and is very snarky about it. The coda to this whole story is that finally the former US attorney in New York, Preet Bharara, when the pandemic finally lifted, he took me out and said I challenge you to come to dinner with me. And he took me to an Indian restaurant. And I said, I would sit there and I would just eat Indian food, while people were making donations that we're gonna be used for a COVID ward in India. And this challenge ended up raising about $135,000 for COVID relief in India.
    Todd Landman  02:42
    That is fantastic. Now, I'm going to pick this apart a little bit, because what's interesting is what looked like an incidental and as you admit a bit of a snarky comment about your food preferences, what you really communicated there is the rapidity and the spread of information, geographically, how it gets picked up, it's a bit unusual how one tweet can be picked up and really run and other tweets just sort of die on the vine, as it were. So this captures this idea that you have in the book around the viral nature of information, regardless of its veracity, how it can spread around the world, and how the originator of that informat

    • 28 min
    Liberating our minds in a digital world: how do we do it?

    Liberating our minds in a digital world: how do we do it?

    In Episode 6 of Series 7 of The Rights Track, we're joined by Susie Alegre, an international human rights lawyer and associate at Doughty Street Chambers specialising in digital rights. Susie's work focuses in particular on the impact of technology and AI on the rights to freedom of thought and opinion. Her recently published book - Freedom to Think: The Long Struggle to Liberate Our Minds – explores how the powerful have always sought to influence how we think and what we buy. And today we are asking her how do we liberate our minds in a modern digital world? 
     
    Transcript
    Todd Landman  0:01 
    Welcome to the Rights Track podcast which gets the hard facts about the human rights challenges facing us today. In series seven, we're discussing human rights in a digital world. I'm Todd Landman, in the sixth episode of the series, I'm delighted to be joined by Susie Alegre. Susie is the international human rights lawyer and associate the Doughty Street Chambers specialising in digital rights, in particular the impact of technology and artificial intelligence on the rights to freedom of thought and opinion. Her recently published book - Freedom to Think; The Long Struggle to Liberate our Minds - explores how the powerful have always sought to influence how we think and what we buy. And today we're asking her, how do we liberate our minds in a modern digital world? So Susie it's great to have you on this episode of the Rights Track. Welcome.
    Susie Alegre  0:47 
    Thank you so much for having me. I'm very excited to be here.
    Todd Landman  0:49 
    So I love the book - Freedom to Think - I've read it cover to cover. In fact, I read it probably in two days, because it's such a compelling read. And I guess my first question for you is, why is the freedom to think broadly understood belief, expression, speech, religion, thought, why is all of that so critical to us as human beings?
    Susie Alegre  1:10 
    I think the way that I've looked at it in the book is really dividing those elements up a little bit. So what I focused on in the book is freedom of thought and opinion and what goes on inside our heads, as opposed to the more traditional discussions that we have around freedom of speech. And one of the reasons for that is that while freedom of speech has consequences and responsibilities, and freedom of speech can be limited, that freedom in our inner worlds to think whatever we like to practice our thoughts and opinions and decide whether or not there's something we should share, is what allows us to really develop and be human. And the right to freedom of thought and opinion, along with belief and conscience, insofar as we practice that inside our heads is something that's protected absolutely in international human rights law, which I think reflects its importance. And when you consider other absolute rights and human rights law, like the prohibition on torture, or the prohibition on slavery, the right to freedom of thought inside your head alongside those other rights, really gets to the heart of human dignity, and what it means for us to be humans.
    Todd Landman  2:24 
    Yes and so in protecting those rights, we are giving people agency because I was caught really captured by one thing you just said there about, we choose what we want to share. So a lot of us can have a million thoughts a second, but we don't share all of them. Although in the current era, it seems that people are sharing pretty much everything that they're thinking. But we'll get to that in a minute. I'm just curious about this idea of agency that, you know, you choose what to share, you also choose what not to share. And that element of choice is fundamental to being human.
    Susie Alegre  2:53 
    Absolutely. And what the right to freedom of thought, well certainly a key element is right to freedom of thought and freedom of opinion, is what's called freedom in the forum internal that's inside, you know, in our inner lives, it's not what we then choo

    • 31 min
    Using prison data to reduce incarceration

    Using prison data to reduce incarceration

    In Episode 5 of Series 7 of The Rights Track, Todd is in conversation with Amrit Dhir, Director of Partnerships at Recidiviz – a team of technologists committed to getting decision makers the data they need to drive better criminal justice outcomes. 
    Transcript
    Todd Landman  0:00 
    Welcome to the Rights Track podcast, which gets the hard facts about the human rights challenges facing us today. In series seven, we're discussing human rights in a digital world. I'm Todd Landman, in this episode, I'm delighted to be joined by Amrit Dhir. Amrit is the Director of Partnerships at Recidiviz, a team of technologists committed to getting decision makers the data they need to drive better criminal justice outcomes. He has previously spent over a decade at the intersection of technology and new business development, working, for example at Sidewalk Labs, Google for Startups and Verily. Today, we'll be exploring the practical uses of technology and data in the criminal justice system. So Amrit, it's great to have you on this episode of the Rights Track. Welcome from California.
    Amrit Dhir  0:44 
    Thank you so much, I'm really glad to be here.
    Todd Landman  0:46 
    It's great for you to join us. And I want to start with a simple question. We had a guest - Sam Gilbert - on our last episode, we made this distinction between the sort of data for good and data for bad and there's a very large sort of argument out there about surveillance capitalism, the misuses of data, you know, behavioural microtargeting and all these sorts of issues. And yet I see that where you're working at Recidiviz there's a kind of data for good argument here around using technology and data to help criminal justice systems and the healthcare sector. So just briefly, could you tell us about this data for good and data for bad distinction?
    Amrit Dhir  1:19 
    Yeah, well, as with most things, I think it's difficult to pigeonhole anything into one of those camps, everything it seems, can be used for good or bad. And so data itself is not one or the other. I think it's about the use, I think that's what Sam was getting at with you as well. With Recidiviz, you know, what we've understood is that data that's been collected over a long period of time, especially in the context of the United States, and our unfortunate kind of race to mass incarceration, from basically the 1970s until about mid-2010s. We've collected a lot of data along the way, and we're not actually using or understanding that data. And so what we do at Recidiviz is we bring that data together, so make it something that can be better understood and better utilised, to help reduce prison populations to help drive better outcomes. So we're focused on taking data that's been, again, collected over quite a long period of time and consistently collected, but also making it better understandable.
    Todd Landman  2:17 
    So this sounds like big, messy, disparate, fragmented data, is that correct?
    Amrit Dhir  2:22 
    Most of those things, most of the time. It's definitely fragmented most of the time, it's not always necessarily what we'd call big. Because, you know, coming from Google, I think of big in the terms of, you know, search query type volume. So in corrections, it's not necessarily that big, but it is certainly messy, and it is certainly fragmented.
    Todd Landman  2:42 
    You know we had a guest on Rights Track, some while back, David Fathi from the American Civil Liberties Union, he explained to us the structure of the American sort of prison system, not justice in itself, but prison system with, you know, 50 state prison systems, plus a federal prison system and a mix of public and private prisons. So it's a mixed picture in terms of jurisdiction, the use of incarceration and of course, the conditions of incarceration. So what's the sort of data that's being collected that you find useful at Recidiviz?
    Amrit Dhir  3:13 
    Yeah, I'll actually add a piece of that as well, you're

    • 22 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
7 Ratings

7 Ratings

Frances*2016* ,

Brilliant and cutting-edge

Superb and eye-opening. The only podcast of its kind. The host is excellent and there is a breathtaking variety of fascinating guests and topics.

Rebecca Cordell ,

Ms

Fantastic coverage of cutting-edge research in human rights. Professor Todd Landman’s interviews have helped me to develop my understanding of complex human rights research further - that is engaging and easy to digest. These podcasts are a great way to discover groundbreaking approaches to analysing human rights from across the world - on the go.

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