ABOUT US & FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The Centre for Information Resilience (CIR) is an independent, non-profit social enterprise dedicated to exposing human rights abuses and war crimes, countering disinformation and combating online behaviour harmful to women and minorities.
We achieve these goals through open source research, digital investigations, building the capacity of local partners, and collaborating with media to amplify the impact of our work.
CIR was born out of a determination to expose those spreading harm – online and offline – around the world, particularly in areas of violent conflict. Our projects in Myanmar, Ukraine and Afghanistan are at the forefront of efforts to investigate and document human rights abuses, war crimes, harms targeting women and minorities, and disinformation. We work closely with multilateral and national justice accountability bodies.
We are proud, certified members of Social Enterprise UK, the UK's membership body for social enterprises.
Below are some frequently asked questions. If you have any more questions, please do drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
WHO ARE YOU?
Ross Burley and Adam Rutland founded the organisation in 2020. Based around the world, we are a group of passionate open source investigators and research professionals. We’re supported by dozens of brilliant volunteers who lend their time to assist our work.
HOW ARE YOU FUNDED?
CIR has no core funding; we receive funding for individual projects that support our organisational objectives of exposing human rights abuses and war crimes, countering disinformation and combating online behaviour harmful to women and minorities. For example, the Myanmar Witness project is supported by grants from the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and Australia’s Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Like other charities and non-profits who receive government and multilateral support, these funds go directly towards delivering our project work. Our financial accounts are independently audited on an annual basis. As a social enterprise, all our income goes toward supporting our mission, with no profits going to shareholders.
We also accept donations; we have never received a donation over £500.
ARE YOU FUNDED BY ANY GOVERNMENTS?
Yes. We have received grants from the UK government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the U.S. State Department, USAID and Australia’s Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade. All funding was for specific projects related to our mission to investigate human rights abuses, war crimes and disinformation.
HOW CAN YOU BE TRULY INDEPENDENT, IF YOU RECEIVE GOVERNMENT FUNDING?
We carry out projects that are aligned with our core values of supporting and defending human rights and democracy. Our investigations are based on reviewing, cross-checking and analysing empirical, open source evidence.
Open source data, whether it is satellite imagery or social media content, is generated and provided by people outside our organisation and available to all to be meticulously scrutinised. We also regularly collaborate with independent media organisations, who themselves independently review and check our work. The wider open source community will often “check our working” too – something we encourage and support.
Through our maps (for example, the Eyes on Russia map) we provide open access to the results of our analysis. In our work, including Myanmar Witness, Afghan Witness or Eyes on Russia, anyone can “see our working” – that’s a core strength of open source: we will explain exactly how we got to a conclusion about a human rights incident, or discovered an online influence network. We will always show, not just tell.
We believe the explosion of disinformation and online harms has eroded trust within society and for democracy. The scale of the problem is beyond just one sector of society: we believe the only way to challenge this erosion is by all sectors working collaboratively together. That’s why we work with governments, but also with academia, the media, other NGOs and volunteers. But our own work – i.e. our reports and what we choose to focus on – is driven by ourselves only and is entirely independent.
ARE YOU A FRONT FOR, OR LINKED TO, ANY INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES?
No. We live in an age of conspiracy theories, which spread online and can end up causing real-world harm. Indeed, exposing and combatting this spread is often an important part of CIR’s work. CIR and our staff have ourselves been a target of dis-and-misinformation.
Claims that we are linked to intelligence agencies is a tactic used by disinformers to place doubts about the veracity and independence of our work. Open source is exactly that – open and free to all. Our work speaks for itself.
HOW DO YOU PROTECT THE WELLBEING OF YOUR STAFF, CONTRACTORS AND PARTNERS WHO ARE EXPOSED TO DISTRESSING CONTENT?
We recognise that in the course of CIR’s work, individuals may be exposed to violent, graphic or distressing content and that viewing these images can cause vicarious trauma (when individuals experience symptoms of distress similar to those they would experience if they had been present at the event).
This is why we developed this document, which sets out protocols, guidance and tools to help minimise both exposure to traumatic content and the impact of that exposure.
WHERE ARE YOU BASED?
We have a small office in London, but many of our team and volunteers are based around the world.
HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?
We regularly post job vacancies on our careers page, which you can find here. We do offer paid internships and have a Research Associates programme for those looking to embark on a career in open source research related to human rights and disinformation. Keep an eye on our social media channels and our careers page for updates.
We also work with dozens of brilliant volunteers who are interested in open source analysis. If you’d like to get involved as a volunteer, drop the team a message at email@example.com.
If you'd like to learn the basics of open source or brush up on your geolocation skills, our Director of Investigations, Ben Strick, has produced a series of YouTube tutorials, which can be found here.
We also work with academics, other non-profits, and the wider open source community, as part of our Resilience Network. We believe the scale of the challenge of countering disinformation and exposing human right abuses is too large for one single organisation. Our Resilience Network is an informal coalition of individuals and organisations across the work who are dedicated to protecting democracy and exposing the manipulation of information. If you'd like to know more or get involved, please send us email at firstname.lastname@example.org.