Data on protests around the world show that climate change and environmental issues, such as water scarcity, are increasingly sending people out to take their grievances to the streets.

Data suggests more people protest over climate change-related issues, such as water scarcity (image: Dreamstime)

Protests grow more common that involve issues like the lack of essential resources such as water. With our climate warming, more frequent and more severe droughts and more extreme weather events on the rise, increasingly fewer people tolerate missteps by their local or federal leaders. More people take their anger and frustrations to the streets.

When in May last year, in the city of Hermosillo in the Mexican state of Sonora, around 50 people gathered to protest, demanding improved water services, few officials bothered.

Perceived in isolation, these mostly peaceful demonstrations represent just single data points. Few barely generate enough…


A visual open-data investigation examines new export tactics by Iran and how the US sanctioned-plagued nation may have managed to smuggle liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) out of the country for sale to Asia.

Following the tracks of Iranian LPG sales (TJ, Dreamstime)

Last April, a 114.2 meters long vessel called LAUREN, just vanishes from earth. Days later, it re-surfaced on international AIS screens at the same spot where it ‘disappeared’. It then enters UAE waters to ‘rendezvous’ with two other ships on separate occasions, one operated by a US sanctioned company.

What reads like the beginning of a John le Carré novel turns stranger than fiction. Within around ten days at the end of April of last year, the LAUREN performs the magic trick not once but twice. …


British plastic waste keeps being exported to third countries. Much of it ends unrecycled, badly incinerated, on foreign landfills, burned in the open or blown into the ocean? Here is why and how we must track Britain’s responsibility in polluting foreign soil.

Campaigner found British plastic waste exports on the coastline of Adana province, Turkey. A recent study by WWF finds that the Cilician coastline (above) suffers more plastic pollution than any other stretch of the Mediterranean (Sentinel 2 data, 2021 — Tracking ocean plastic in Turkey’s Adana province, where Greenpeace visited, with open-source satellite Sentinel 2 ‘Ocean Plastic Detector Prototype Script’, image: TJ)

On a per-capita basis, Brits rank second in using the most plastic, just behind Americans, according to a study published in Advances Science last year. What does the UK do with all the plastic waste? Much of it is exported, with a seemingly clean conscience by the government, critics say.

Anything that can’t be recycled or adequately incinerated, shouldn’t be exported in the first place. British plastic waste that isn’t recycled often lands in foreign landfills and the ocean, affecting humans and animals at sea and land.

If plastic exported waste is incinerated, it’s often burned in the open in…


An open-data probe into Dahua and Hikvision exposes how OEM sales tactics are on the rise amid growing ethical concerns over the business with surveillance firms linked to China’s human rights violations in Xinjiang.

In Europe, the US and Britain, it’s becoming trickier to detangle whether surveillance equipment is connected to human rights violations in Xinjiang — China’s surveillance and oppression of minorities in Xinjiang is well documented.

By selling to third parties which place their own brand labels on the equipment, companies mask the real origin and support companies’ profit footing the bill for more human rights violations.

It makes buying ethical surveillance equipment trickier for both private and public entities in the west, this news analysis finds.

Chinese surveillance makers Dahua and Hikvision, both very active overseas, have established links to the…


A simple #OSINT case study on how to geo-locate and chrono-locate video material in an Asian country like Myanmar 🇲🇲

The situation in Myanmar is deteriorating. Mobile phone video footage can provide journalists with important open-source evidence of what happens on the ground. But in order to trust it, we have to verify it first. Shocking videos surfaced in February after the coup when police decided to use live ammunition on unarmed protesters (Source: an analysis of videos by Amnesty International’s Crisis Evidence Lab).

Last week, I was asked to work on a training case study. The starting point was a video without a description. For the purpose of knowledge sharing, I’d like to provide my insight. It’s fairly basic…


Satellite images show evidence suggesting that Myanmar’s coup d’état increased the risk of unsustainable deforestation in the country. As western powers impose sanctions, the situation may be ripe for escalation. Experts say the military junta wants to make quick cash. China was observed as a buyer.

Image: Wikipedia/Dreamstime

The crackdown by the military government on unarmed protesters left many dead and the country in shambles. The military junta’s violent rule introduced on February 1 with a coup d’état bears other sad consequences, namely an increased risk for the environment.

Apart from the mass protests since the military seized control, there is new evidence emerging that under the new military’s rule, unsustainable deforestation burgeoned. The main driver, according to experts, is quick profit-making, marked by illegal timber sales previously confiscated by the military.

Open-data confirms large-scale forest clearing even before the coup and the amount of clearing and felling…


Disinformation campaigns may use open data to cast false suspicion and doubt on events, risking fake narratives. Open data is a blessing for transparency but it can be a curse when users wrongly interpreted it. Here are strategies how to counteract.

Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP), Capella Space, April 13

The devil is in the details. The idiom also applies to open-source data and intelligence.

Last week’s attack on Iran’s Nuclear Enrichment Facility was reported as a blow to the country’s nuclear enrichment program. It’s a significant setback for the country.

The response came soon enough. Officials announced Iran would boost its nuclear activity and will up the uranium enriching level to 60 per cent purity.

Iran blames Israel for the attack and used the delicate term “nuclear terrorism”. A blackout and sabotage can be catastrophic to the processes of a nuclear enrichment plant, commentators noted.

The New York Times


New IR and SAR satellite data sources could make it harder for criminals and lawbreakers to hide and provide open-source intelligence and data journalists with new firepower.

SAR image by Capella Space

The right satellite images can be the ‘smoking gun’ in an investigation against mischief and wrongdoing. Our own investigations have proven the value of satellite data. Whether it’s images portraying crimes against humanity, severe environmental misconduct or just clues that something might go wrong for further verification, visual intelligence can be an essential mean to present a corpus delicti.

For my own investigations, this has proven to be highly effective. But there are caveats to conventional satellite data. Clouds constitute one major problem. They can cover at the wrong time an area of interest and miss the action. …


Open-source/OSINT data shows how the sector’s unethical marketing and promotion practices continue. It risks jeopardising the future of more ethical conservation efforts in South Africa.

Trump Jr is the poster child of trophy hunting PR and spoke at one of the largest trophy hunting conventions last year, the Safari Club International (SCI) convention. Trump Jr was spotted in images posed by African Safari Films production, one of the largest companies in South Africa to assists international hunters to film and promote their trophy hunts.

TLTR:

  • South African (SA) trophy hunting organisers and film productions fail to live up to ethical standards in their promotion material. Video and image footage glorifies the killing of animals and fail to meet minimum display standards
  • Conservation researcher dictates that trophy hunting foots the bill for conservation efforts in South Africa. A decline of it and national bans threaten conservation efforts but the future could become more ethical if the industry changes
  • Unethical promotion material risks attracting the wrong hunting audience (hunters with bows/crossbows, demand for canned hunting). It stymies advancements towards more ethical practices
  • Trophy Hunting film production companies…


Data reveals how major UK anti-vaxxer and anti-lockdown groups migrated their supporters to new social media platforms after conventional platforms censored their content due to #disinformation and misleading claims.

Piers Corbyn speaking at an anti-lockdown protest (Image: Dreamstime). Reporters found Mr. Corbyn, the elder brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, willing to accept donations to his website to channel the money to StandUpX, a conspiracy theory and disinformation spreading group that organises protests across the UK

StandUpX, also known for its anti-5G conspiracy theories and #disinformation, is among the most aggressive, well-organised and dangerous anti-vaxxer and anti-lockdown protest groups.

StandupX, (also often referred to as SUX) organised protests all across Britain over the past year and built potent local chapters. Media organisations such as Channel4News fact-checked some of their claims and confirmed misleading and outright false information.

Techjournalist

Investigative journalist with a technical edge, interested in open source investigations, satellite imgs, R, python, AI, data journalism and injustice

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