[FULL] April 12: Bellingcat Online Workshop on RuNet Investigations (4-hour)
This workshop focuses on conducting research on the Russian-language internet (RuNet), taking place on April 12, 9a-1p New York / 3p-7p Amsterdam time, and covers the following topics:
- Researching topics in Russia, Ukraine, and other post-Soviet states via the Russian-language internet (RuNet)
- Using Russian-language social networks and other platforms commonly used in post-Soviet states
- Navigating data leaks from post-Soviet states
- Facial recognition capabilities and pitfalls on the RuNet
Please note: a basic reading knowledge of Russian language is strongly recommended!
We have a new round of webinars this winter and spring on digital investigation techniques. We use Eventzilla for registration, with a relatively light screening process preceding confirmation and payment for the workshops.
Our training topics are split between four segments: beginning verification, advanced verification, beginning social media, and advanced social media.
All of our workshops have the same introductory segments of a survey of open source investigations, a segment on creative search techniques, and some discussion – more during the 16-hour and social media-focused workshops – on how to conduct (relatively) trace-free investigations and how to separate your personal and professional digital footprints.
The verification segments focus on the verification and analysis of user-generated content (i.e. photographs and videos), and the social media segments focus on how to conduct research on individuals and groups through social media and digital information sources. Our workshops mix and match these four segments at different price points and lengths.
An agenda for the topics of each workshop can be found on their respective Eventzilla pages. Note that we sometimes do not have time to tackle every topic included in our agenda, as each workshop is different with questions popping up, focus shifting to particular topics of interests to participants, and so on. If we don’t have time to get to a topic, we will make sure you receive a copy of the slides and exercises we use for the topic at the end of the workshop.
If you register and select credit card or Paypal, you must pay when you start the payment process, otherwise Eventzilla will lock you out and we will have to manually delete and restart your registration. Wait to open the payment tab until you have your card or Paypal information ready to go!
Alternatively, you can choose “bank transfer” and pay later — many of our participants whose employers sponsor them choose this option.
You can find more information about our trainings and webinars in the event descriptions on Eventzilla, including an agenda for each workshop.
Costs and VAT
For our webinars, we charge a rate of 250 EUR/person per 4-hour block, plus any applicable VAT. For our week-long, ~40-hour in-person workshops, we charge 2500 EUR/person, plus any applicable VAT.
The ticket price is inclusive of 21% VAT (tax). All participants personally paying for this course are subject to the Dutch VAT. However, if a company (e.g. your employer) is paying for the course, they may be exempt from the VAT charge.
- If the company is based in the European Union, please write the VAT number during the registration process and an invoice sans VAT will be issued.
- If the company is based in the United States or Canada, there is no added VAT.
- If the company is based in the United Kingdom, a 20% VAT must be paid in the invoice.
- If the company is based in other countries, please write any VAT number (if available) and a correct billing address and we will issue an invoice per the VAT regulations of the company’s host country.
Additional fees included in the ticket price are detailed in each Eventzilla page. Please reach out to us at email@example.com if you have any questions on the VAT fees and regulations.
For the first time since the pandemic started, we will be hosting workshops this year. The first workshop will be held in Amsterdam early in 2023. We have not yet finalized a space for the workshop, but once we do, we will send out a separate announcement taking sign-ups.
Please look closely at the cancellation and event policies before you take the leap. We run all of these trainings on Zoom in a private webinar room, with two or three trainers present to help with both the webinar itself and any questions the participants have. Also, please note the times — about half of our trainings are Europe-time friendly, and the other half more US/Canada-time friendly. If you are in California, you probably don’t want to sign up for an event that is at 10am Amsterdam and 1am Pacific time!
Eventzilla lists most of our events in the Amsterdam (GMT+1) time zone, which is sometimes noted as “CET” and other times as “WEST”. We don’t know why Eventzilla sometimes uses this designation of “WEST” for Central European time, but just keep in mind that it’s one hour ahead of London and six hours ahead of New York.
We manually approve all applications after registration on Eventzilla. We do basic due diligence checks on our participants to be sure that our trainers and other participants are comfortable with their participation.Members of any military or intelligence service are not permitted registration at our workshops, and we allow government employees in on a case-by-case basis to be sure there aren’t any serious ethical issues. We also restrict access to our workshops from members of police forces, but make some exceptions depending on participants’ areas of responsibilities.
For example, in past workshops, we have approved the participation of government employees working on issues around election integrity and security, while we have rejected the participation of those working for state migration services tasked with information gathering around deportations. For police officers, we have approved the applications of those working on issues of child exploitation and trafficking, but rejected those who work for departments where there have been publicized cases of surveillance and abuse. We also conduct basic due diligence for non-government employees to be sure both the participant and their employer do not have a track record that would clearly make our trainers and other participants uncomfortable with providing training in research techniques that could be abused.
That said, the vast majority of participants are approved without any issue.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I receive a certificate for the workshops?
Sure! Just email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) before or after the workshops, and we’ll send you a PDF certificate showing completion after the training is completed. Please let us know if there are any particular details that you need on this to fit requirements for your workplace or other institutions.
Can I receive a recording of a workshop?
We do not record our workshops, or allow others to record them. However, we do provide copies of our training slides to participants after the completion of the training for their personal reference.
When will you come to my city for an in-person workshop?
We are planning to host at least four in-person workshops in 2023. The first will be in Amsterdam during the winter or spring of 2023 — we have not yet secured a venue, so we haven’t announced the dates yet. Stay tuned for that!
The other workshops will be in London, New York City, and a to-be-determined city. We aren’t sure yet where the final workshop will be held, but we are strongly considering either Los Angeles or a city in central Europe (Prague, Warsaw or Berlin).
Who usually attends your workshops?
We have a pretty interesting mix of participants at our trainings. We have around 20-25 participants per workshop, and among those between a third to a half come from private companies or the corporate world. Among those, we have plenty of information security researchers, corporate security investigators, lawyers, due diligence experts, and other professions. Journalists are the next-most popular profession for our workshops (around a fourth or third of participants), and then we have a mix of human rights/NGO researchers, academics and students, and even retirees just curious about what this whole OSINT thing is all about.
Can I gift a workshop seat to someone else?
Sure! We have had quite a few people buy workshop attendance for a loved one as a birthday or Christmas gift. Just let us know the name of the person who you are buying the seat for when registration so that we can do a basic due diligence check on them (see the Screening section up above). Feel free to email us at email@example.com to make sure we have their proper contact details so they get all of the invitation information on time.
Our full workshop slate:
- February 7-10, 9am-1pm New York / 3pm-7pm Amsterdam time: 16-hour training, the full experience (beginning + advanced verification, beginning + advanced social media)
- February 21-24, 10am-2pm Amsterdam time: 16-hour training, the full experience (beginning + advanced verification, beginning + advanced social media)
- March 7-10, 9am-1pm New York / 3pm-7pm Amsterdam time: 16-hour training, the full experience (beginning + advanced verification, beginning + advanced social media)
- April 3-7, 10am-2pm Amsterdam time: 16-hour training, the full experience (beginning + advanced verification, beginning + advanced social media)
- April 12, 9am-1pm New York / 3pm-7pm Amsterdam time: 4-hour workshop on researching the Russian-language internet (RuNet), led by Aric Toler. Basic reading knowledge of Russian strongly recommended.