The Stolen Lives Project technical team has decided to make the source code that will drive the Stolen Lives Project available under the GPL. We are doing this for a number of reasons.
First and foremost: the situation that we face today is urgent. The number and rate of people killed by law enforcement agents have jumped alarmingly in this new political climate of increased "homeland security" and repressive laws, which give law enforcement agents a green light for their lethal actions. Racial profiling of Arab, Muslim and South Asian immigrants has become commonplace and legally acceptable, along with the continued and stepped up harassment of populations traditionally "under the gun" of police brutality. This issue affects all of us. People's ability to speak out, to get organized and to protest on any issue, including against the war in Iraq, will be greatly limited by the development of a police state terrorizing its population.
Stolen Lives provides important and compelling exposures of the nationwide epidemic of police brutality and murder. People who've been killed, their families and loved ones, and communities under the gun speak through the pages and tell their stories. And they get a platform to speak out even more broadly.
The most recent edition of the Stolen Lives book documents over 2,000 cases of people killed by U.S. law enforcement agents (police, etc.) since 1990.
We believe that with minor customizations, the same database structure and web-based application behind Stolen Lives can be used by other organizations to document and expose all kinds of human rights abuses around the world.
We are consciously moving this project out of the grips of proprietary closed-source software to make it possible for the largest number of people to participate in both the development of the software that drives it, as well as to increase the ability of people who know about cases to add them to the project and to participate in its development.
Organizations and people working on human rights issues have a common interest in supporting this project. We hope that in addition to accomplishing our more immediate goals of releasing a new version of the book, "Stolen Lives: Killed by Law Enforcement", we can help to create a flowering of documentation of human rights abuses by making the tools available.
The project will utilize PHP and MySQL (possibly other backends).
Technical Functions intended for this application:
1) entry and editing of cases--including victim information and narrative description of the incident
2) access control-- so that only authorized team members may edit cases or make them visible on the public side of the site
3) workflow on cases -- entry, verification, story editing, etc. -- before cases are available to the public
4) manage victim photos, including workflow on touching up photos which often come from bad scans
5) allow the public to browse and search the cases
6) produce statistics on cases, such as nationalities of victims, ages of victims, cases involving racial profiling, homophobia, number of cases by geographical areas, etc
7) compile the information into editions or volumes to correspond with the releases of the printed version of the project
8) generate PDF's for sending book compilations to the print house or customized lists for local activists to use in their city
9) manage the documentation on cases, including news sources, interviews with witnesses, and legal documents
10) all of these functions must work in at least English and Spanish, but the system should include the necessary structure for full I18N and L10N of both the user-interface AND the data it contains.
11) workflow to translate case data into other languages
You can find out more about the project and read the cases we document at http://stolenlives.org
Stolen Lives is a joint project of:
Anthony Baez Foundation
National Lawyers Guild http://www.nlg.org
October 22nd Coalition to STOP Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation http://october22.org
These details are provided for information only. No information here is legal advice and should not be used as such.