At the recent UNESCO conference, News Organizations Standing Up for the Safety of Media Professionals,  at which our International Director was present, editors and journalists discussed how to improve the security and authenticity of video and other data used to report serious human rights abuses. One such app, eyeWitness, provides a secure method of verification as well as many safety features for all users, including journalists, human rights defenders and ordinary citizens.

eyeWitness emphasises that no app can guarantee your safety and every precaution should be taken when attempting to record sensitive footage.

The app functions much like your basic photo/video recording app. You open to a screen with a white border that will save footage to your normal gallery on your phone. It could replace your phones normal app and wouldn’t seem out of place on any phone.

In order to record the secret, authenticated, video, you simply hold down the border of the video. It will change colour to indicate you are now in the safe mode. Once footage is recorded it is saved to your secret gallery. You can then choose to upload it to be verified by the eyewitness team. It then has the additional options of uploading to social media, or downloading onto an SD card.

This app has been available since June 2015. It was designed with the atrocities in Syria, Ukraine and DRC in mind but could be useful for anyone wishing to record the authorities without risk of having your footage discovered and destroyed.

Safety Functions Include

  • Innocuous Icon option
  • Panic Uninstall
  • Secret Gallery
  • Button to quickly delete all video

Verifiability Options Include

  • Time and location data
  • Tagging option including options to easily detail people e.g. “citizen” or “armed forces”
  • Secure data-bank of all unedited footage
  • Eyewitness team overseeing all uploaded footage

The app, which was developed in cooperation with the International Bar Association, was presented to an expert international audience at the Seminar on the Protection of Journalists organised by CFOM, the Council of Europe, the European Lawyers Union and UNESCO in November 2014.

The app is designed to promote accountability for those who commit the worst human rights abuses by helping to collect reliable evidence to bring to justice those responsible for atrocities.

Find out more about eyeWitness To Atrocities here