IIPC is honored to welcome our keynotes for the 2023 Web Archiving Conference.
Open Source Investigation Comes Of Age
Abstract: Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins has spent the last decade promoting the use of open source investigation in a wide variety of fields, working with Bellingcat's team to train thousands of investigators. With Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022 Eliot looks at how the use of open source investigation has finally come of age, and what that means for the work of investigators and the future of conflict.
Bio: Eliot Higgins is the founder of Bellingcat, a multi-award winning investigative collective focused on online open-source investigation. Higgins is currently creative director of Bellingcat's investigative arm, Stichting Bellingcat, and director of Bellingcat's production company, Bellingcat Productions BV.
Higgins first came to prominence during the early stages of the conflict in Syria, when he started blogging about open-source images being shared online from the conflict. Early successes included identifying the types of munitions being used by the Syrian Air Force, including cluster munitions and improvised "barrel bombs", identifying arms being smuggled to Syrian armed opposition groups by Saudi Arabia through Jordan, and investigating the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.
As interest in Higgins' work and open-source investigation grew, Higgins launched Bellingcat in 2014, a new website intended to provide a place for readers to learn how to do their own open source investigations, and to contribute their own investigative work to the website. Bellingcat was launched with funding raised through Kickstarter, and quickly became known internationally thanks to the work of its community on the downing on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) on July 17th 2014, ultimately identifying the missile launcher that shot down MH17 as originating from Russia's 53rd air defence brigade.
Over the years Bellingcat has expanded from a single staff member and a team of volunteers to a Netherlands based NGO employing 30 staff members from across the world, working on a wide range of topics. Bellingcat's work has led the way in developing the use of online open source investigation in a wide variety of fields, from journalism to justice and accountability, and is widely recognised as a leader in the development of online open source investigation.
In 2021 Higgins published the Sunday Times best-seller, We Are Bellingcat, about the work of Bellingcat and the development of the field of online open-source investigation.
Most recently Higgins has been involved with the launch of Bellingcat Productions BV, which aim to build on the success of Bellingcat's podcasts and documentaries about Bellingcat's work to produce films, podcasts, and television series based on the work of Bellingcat.
Public Values in the Digital Domain
Abstract: In three decades, the Internet has changed from a mostly public space to an exploitative and extractive private space owned by tech companies and big finance. The tides are only recently turning, with European legislation and investment in digital public spaces. But are we too late? A handful of companies are appropriating all (digital) content human mankind ever created into huge databases that feed generative AI. Why do we let this happen? Can we build a strong movement to stop big tech and big finance from taking control of the world’s cultural heritage and production? How can we bring public values back into the digital domain?
Bio: Marleen Stikker is founder and executive director of Waag Futurelab in Amsterdam. Waag Futurelab reinforces critical reflection on technology, develops technological and social design skills, and encourages social innovation. Marleen leads the trans-disciplinary team of designers, artists and scientists, utilising Public Research and Key Enabling Methodologies to empower people to participate in the collective design of open, fair and inclusive futures. Marleen founded 'De Digitale Stad' (The Digital City) in 1993, the first virtual community introducing free public access to the Internet in Amsterdam. Marleen Stikker strongly adheres to the Maker's Bill of Rights motto: 'If You Can't Open It, You Don't Own It'.