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Microsoft partners with the UN to track human rights abuses

The UN is looking into new ways to use big data.
Valery Sharifulin/TASS/Getty
Valery Sharifulin/TASS/Getty
Devindra Hardawar
Devindra Hardawar|@devindra|May 16, 2017 11:42 AM

In what's described as a "landmark" partnership, Microsoft and the United Nations are teaming up to help help predict and fight human rights abuses, among other potential projects. Microsoft is providing a $5 million grant to the UN Human Rights Office, which will support the development of new technology tools for the intergovernmental organization. That includes "Rights View," a dashboard tool that lets the UN use big data and cloud computing to track potential human rights issues globally in real time.

"As a global company that sees the problems of the world, we believe that we have a responsibility to help solve them," Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a statement. "We have an untapped opportunity to use the power of technology to collect data, analyze that data and equip the United Nations to advance human rights around the world."

It was only a matter of time until the UN jumped on the big data analysis bandwagon, something Microsoft is already using to track crime in New York City. The software giant will also help the UN bring aboard other private companies to use their technology in positive ways, as well as promote the UN's "Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights." As you can probably guess, the latter is a way to highlight potential issues that could arise from doing business around the world.

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Microsoft partners with the UN to track human rights abuses