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Research Officer - job description and person specification

Are you looking to join a small charity that holds governments and companies to account on surveillance issues? We have identified the need for a Research Officer to join Privacy International to investigate surveillance around the world, identify case studies of abuses by government, work with local investigators to document case studies of human rights abuse relating to surveillance and identify potential victims of wrongful surveillance that has resulted in other human rights violations. The Research Officer will be responsible for supporting the organisation's advocacy and legal objectives with high quality research and investigation. 

The Research Officer will input into a multi-country advocacy and capacity-building project, focusing on communications surveillance. She or he will work primarily with a team of five people collectively working with our partners in Africa (northern and eastern), Asia (south and south-eastern), and Latin America. The project will help our partners to understand the risks of modern surveillance techniques, investigate the technological and legal landscapes in countries, and seek policy change to protect privacy in the face of government surveillance.

The results of the investigation and research will build an evidence base for policy and legal change. The Research Officer will work to identify case studies of abuses by government, working with the local investigators to document case studies of human rights abuse relating to surveillance, identify potential victims of wrongful surveillance that has resulted in other human rights violations, identify witnesses and sources. The Research Officer will also meet with activist communities, sources within the technology industry, and former government employees to develop case studies, witness testimony and documentary evidence of the politically-targeted use of surveillance technologies.

She or he will also schedule quarterly update calls with partners to assess the implementation of their investigation strategies. 

The successful candidate will be joining a small team of staff at one of the world’s leading privacy organisations. Privacy International is committed to fighting for the right to privacy across the world. We investigate the secret world of government surveillance and expose the companies enabling it. We litigate to ensure that surveillance is consistent with the rule of law. We advocate for strong national, regional, and international laws that protect privacy. We conduct research to catalyse policy change. We raise awareness about technologies and laws that place privacy at risk, to ensure that the public is informed and engaged. To ensure that this right is universally respected, we strengthen the capacity of our partners in developing countries and work with international organisations to protect the most vulnerable.

Please note that this position is for an initial one-year period, to be extended if deemed to be in the best interests of Privacy International and if funding permits. The successful candidate will be based full-time in our London office.

Remuneration: £34,500

Roles and Responsibilities

1. Investigation

  • Work with the Big Brother Incorporated team in their collection of documentary evidence to support litigation and advocacy efforts;
  • Research and catalogue surveillance companies and their products as part of the "Surveillance Industry Index" project;
  • Attend arms fairs and surveillance trade shows collecting information on the companies and governments in attendance and the products being sold;
  • Conduct fact-finding missions, including some in high-risk environments, to support understanding of how surveillance technology is being deployed and to gather evidence to support litigation and advocacy efforts;
  • Identify those targeted by surveillance technology and create outreach efforts to engage those activist communities who are likely to be targeted by surveillance;
  • Work directly with individuals who have been subjected to unlawful surveillance and consequent human rights violations in order to document their stories.

2. Support technical investigation

  • Conduct technical data collection, trying to detect the use of some specific technologies in-country -- including by working with international researchers, identifying specific surveillance technologies in use, gathering devices of change agents who may have been placed under surveillance for forensic analysis;
  • Work with our local partners to guide them on detecting surveillance technologies when possible. The team will feed this information to PI’s Technologist for further analysis and preparation for use in reporting and, when possible, litigation.

3. Advocacy

  • Conduct trainings on communications surveillance;
  • Meet with activist communities, sources within the technology industry, and former government employees to develop case studies, witness testimony and documentary evidence of the politically-targeted use of surveillance technologies.

This role will involve extensive travel.

Essential 

  • Fluency in at least one language other than English, preferably Arabic, French or Spanish.
  • Demonstrable in-country experience working in developing countries and emerging democracies.
  • Advanced understanding of communications surveillance technologies and safeguards.
  • Cultural sensitivity and ability to get on with a wide range of people.

Desirable

  • Strong multitasking abilities and ability to manage multiple deadlines.
  • Enthusiasm for development work and foreign travel, and willingness to travel frequently, including to medium-risk/high-risk environments on occasion. 
  • Experience of working with and in small teams.
  • Experience of conducting training or capacity-building activities

To apply, please send a CV and covering letter (not more than five sides of A4 combined) to info@privacy.org by 6pm on 7th of February 2014. Interviews will be held in Central London on the 18th to 20th of February.

We are able to arrange video conference interviews with overseas candidates.