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Legal aid to refugees through Facebook messenger

By the end of last year, millions of people were forced to claim asylum in other countries to escape war and persecution. Since the Second World War, this migrant crisis is worse than ever. And this is just one part of the plight led by Syrians, Afghans, and Palestine. Most of us have no idea that one percent of humanity is forced to flee war and persecution around the world. And what is making the situation more miserable is that governments and politicians globally have failed to respond effectively to the migrant crises. Instead, private citizens are standing more strongly in order to help these poor people.

According to the reports of UN High Commissioner for Refugees, among the escaping 65 million people, almost half of them were children among which many were separated from their parents. Hundreds of thousands of families are prepared to take the journey they find preferable to flee the country, may it involve risks of mass deaths in capsized boats or an abandoned lorry in the middle of nowhere.

The efforts of the leading digital giants are proving much better in helping refugees than the official support. Recently, a robot lawyer has been created by to provide refugees with free legal advice. The chatbot will be aiding refugees through Facebook Messenger. It has been developed by Joshua Browder named as DoNotPay.

The 19-year old Browder is not someone new to the field; he created the world’s first robot lawyer last year which made a name by successfully contesting 160,000 parking tickets in New York and London.

But with the refugee crisis become more prevalent, he decided to generate ways in order to make the AI lawyer capable of helping refugees for navigating the overseas legal systems. He worked for a long time on this chatbot because he wanted to introduce it with complete perfection. The chatbot asks a series of questions from refugees in order to determine which forms they have to be submitted plus it tells whether they are even eligible for asylum protection in a country. The good part is that the robot lawyer automatically fills in the applicant’s form by using the information provided and sends them on a client’s behalf.

For now, the refugees can easily navigate through legal systems in three countries using simple English language. Canada was added in last minutes due to the changes in the US political climate. Browder had started working on this bot before the Trump’s election but had to make changes later on. The immigrants can fill in applications with the Chabot for countries such as US and Canada whereas it provides asylum support in the UK.

Browder has linked it with Facebook Messenger because it is used by over a billion people around the world. He is aware of the lack of end-to-end encryption capability of the Messenger but he has taken enough measures that enhance a user’s privacy. He has incorporated his server and Facebook with the end-to-end encryption that is set for the automatic removal of the applicant’s personal information.

Browder is planning to further expand the accessibility of the Robot lawyer by providing all the services in other languages specifically Arabic. He also aims to expand it with WhatsApp as the use of smartphones by refugees has become extremely important. There is no doubt that that importance of smart devices will hike up with the addition of the Browder’s chatbot.

With the current flow of refugees fleeing their countries, this chatbot will prove very much effective. It will be a lot more convenient for migrants to get assistance without having to pay for it. This is a really good step by young professionals who are showing kindness to strangers without relying on the governments to do so.

Via: The Guardian

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Written by Hisham Sarwar

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