Knight News Challenge Mobile Winner: Witness
Award: $320,000
Project Lead: Sam Gregory and Bryan Nunez (at WITNESS) and Nathan Freitas and Harlo Holmes (at Guardian Project), New York, N.Y.
Twitter: @SamGregory, @Tech_wit, @N8FR8, @Harlo
In situations of conflict or civil unrest, where ordinary people are using their mobile phones to create and share media, news organizations and others have trouble authenticating the origins of photos, videos or audio. In collaboration with The Guardian Project, the international human rights organization WITNESS seeks to solve this problem by launching the InformaCam app. The mobile app allows users to incorporate key metadata in their video (who, what, where, corroborating identifiers), watermark it as coming from a particular camera, and share it in an encrypted format with someone the user trusts. News outlets, human rights organizations and everyday people could use the app in a variety of ways - for a breaking news story using first-hand video from a citizen journalist, sharing evidence of war crimes from a conflict zone, or to verify the images of a fender bender that someone could take to small claims court. Alongside this, WITNESS is advocating for the incorporation of a “citizen witness” functionality based on InformaCam into other platforms and apps.

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