The successful candidates will be part of a ‘technology for good’ team of forensic researchers and data scientists/analysts at the iLAB, who work in support of African watchdog newsrooms and other human rights
The iLAB’s role is to offer these newsrooms/civic watchdogs a robust toolkit of open-source intelligence (OSINT) leads and resources, along with investigative support for identifying and exposing disinformation and other influence operations intended to undermine our democracies and our economies, often by creating social discord or polarization. Your duties will include helping to identify the sock-puppets, botnets, fake accounts and unwitting proxies used by the shadowy ‘puppet masters’ who are producing and disseminating false content. The iLAB also actively gathers evidence on corruption and organized crime affecting the public sector, and transforms the information into actionable data to help civic watchdogs and investigative media better understand the nexus between politically exposed/influential people (PEPs and PIPs) and organized crime networks, and their role in subverting public resources.
As an Investigative Data Analyst, you will help liberate the data-driven evidence used to expose and neutralize coordinated behavior or other malign intentions. You will also help build the detailed datasets about PEPs, PIPs and organized crime and corruption that are needed for our partners to ‘join the dots.
And, you will work with CfA’s Academy and other teams to help train others, including journalists and human rights defenders, to find the stories and trends hidden in the data.
- You will use CfA tools and methodologies to help research investigative leads and/or hypotheses, based on digital signals/evidence from public sources, and will analyze the evidence to produce timely and actionable insights.
- You will do so by planning and executing data-gathering exercises involving Arabic language sources, based on specifications that you help your team define. You will apply appropriate advanced analysis strategies on the resulting large and complex datasets to solve difficult, non-routine analysis problems.
- You will help transform the resulting data-driven insights into clear narrative reports and presentations, underpinned by dossiers of verifiable evidence, for non-technical audiences in both Arabic and English.
- You will use the resulting signals and data to help watchdog partners, such as journalists, produce evidence-driven analysis and reportage that is accessible and understandable to both policymakers and the general public.
- You will be part of a team of custodians for CfA’s open access OSINT tools and platforms, including connected. AFRICA and Civic Signal and source. AFRICA, amongst others.
- You will help strengthen civil society and media capacity to undertake its own forensic data analysis, by supporting CfA training initiatives and by helping produce step-by-step courseware or tutorials teaching our methodologies.
- You will help build a multicultural and transnational team ethos that values creativity and human-centered design principles.
Required Knowledge, Education, Skills, and Abilities
- Demonstrable investigative skills honed from at least two years experience in investigative journalism, prosecutorial law, OSINT intelligence, due diligence, asset tracking, compliance, or other investigative professions with precision writing skills. CFA will not consider any applicants who served with government intelligence agencies.
- An understanding of influence operations, including both disinformation and misinformation, as well as digital amplification and viral media techniques, would be a benefit.
- Critical thinking skills, and obsessive attention to detail, with excellent numeracy and analytical skills.
- Effective written and verbal communication skills.
- Fluent in Arabic and English (for the Sudan position) or, alternatively, fluent in English and French (for the Senegal position), or alternatively fluent in English (for the Nigerian or Ugandan position).
- Experience with statistical software (e.g. R, Python, MATLAB) and database languages (e.g. SQL) for network analysis, as well as using tools such as Brandwatch or CrowdTangle for social media analysis.
- Experience in using digital technologies for conducting OSINT investigative research into influence operations and related mis-/disinformation techniques, and/or analysis of online polarization or hate-speech or extremism/militancy and other malign content, and/or experience at using data-driven network analysis/named entity recognition tools for analyzing PEPs (politically exposed people) or PIPs (politically influential people) or institutional networks.
- Familiarity with mining and handling large datasets, with demonstrable skills in selecting the right statistical tools and articulating analytical questions/approaches given a data analysis problem.
- Experience working on the digital collaboration tools that CfA uses for managing workflow, ranging from Slack and Trello to Github and Google Drive would be an advantage.
- Demonstrable creative problem-solving/lateral thinking skills and self-direction, with an ability to work consistently in a fast-paced environment. Willingness to learn new techniques, and teach others.
- An understanding of religious freedom/extremism, terrorism networks, international money laundering operations, and/or criminal structures would be a bonus.