Eleanor Farrow discusses the critical importance of verifying video and photo footage from eyewitnesses for international use. In today’s world, our smartphones are always attached to us. With this increased accessibility to recording tools, capturing an experience as an eyewitness has become very easy. Citizen journalism and the creation of user generated content are at an all time high now with our technological innovations. Audiences today no longer just have to be an audience or consumers; people are encouraged and empowered to create content themselves . However, this presents several problems when determining if information is truly accurate and credible. Millions of unattributed footage of events, such as conflict zones in Syria, have been uploaded to Youtube and other media outlets. In order to combat this issue, metadata verification must be used to support the credibility of footage utilized in media reports and legal evidence.
eyeWitness to Atrocities App
In 2015, the International Bar Association created a smartphone camera app , “eyeWitness to Atrocities.” This app allows media activists to take pictures or video and capture audio recordings in a verified, secure way. Due to the app being embedded with metadata required for authentication, the evidence that is captured can be used in legal processes. There are several other security features of the app. Users can remain anonymous, naming the app as the witness. In addition, users can share data freely after sending a copy to eyeWitness where information is kept in secure, encrypted storage. The team behind this tool shares expertise in analysis and advocates for human rights.
This app is more than just something to add to the home screen. It gives professional and citizen journalists, human rights activists, and media activists a powerful tool to ensure the verification and security of their content. With this, useful information is not cast aside and disregarded. This innovation significantly impacts our capability to problem solve and bring peace and justice. It also protects users’ personal safety as people in this field are sadly often threatened, intimidated, attacked, and killed for the information they possess, attempt to gather and share. This app empowers witnesses, supports legal accountability, and raises awareness for issues all over the globe. It opens the door to addressing challenging problems and creating political, social, and economic change.