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Future-Proofing Mobile Media

OpenArchive creates mobile app Save to help citizen reporters and eyewitnesses protect and preserve sensitive digital media

During times of unrest, capturing media on mobile phones plays a key role in exposing global injustice. Yet all too often that means the only information available to verify the occurrence of an atrocity or abuse exists as data on a highly vulnerable personal device. In such instances, loss of the data through attack or accidental destruction would permanently erase key evidence of the crime from the annals of history. Media must make its way off an individual’s phone if it is to be heard and preserved. Knowing this, activists routinely rely on social media platforms to help share their stories with the broader world.

But with these platforms censoring evidence of war crimes and governments seeking to suppress documentation of human rights abuses, citizen journalists and eyewitnesses across the globe need a better way to ensure the evidence they have captured is shared and stored in a secure manner. That’s why OpenArchive (a veteran research, usability, and development team dedicated to the ethical collection and long-term preservation of digital media) developed Save (Share, Archive, Verify, Encrypt), a new app that allows users to securely store, share, and amplify their mobile media without fear of censorship, surveillance, or retribution.

Created in conjunction with Guardian Project and support from OTF’s Internet Freedom Fund, and based on community input and a commitment to digital inclusion, Save offers a suite of responsive features that streamline secure preservation. The easy-to-use app allows users to add metadata and Creative Commons licensing to their audio or visual mobile media, and then securely send it to be preserved for long-term storage in a trusted repository such as the Internet Archive, NextCloud, or OwnCloud. Additionally, although Save always uses TLS to ensure in-transit security and encryption, users can also download Orbot: Tor for Android or Onion Browser for iOS to add another layer of protection.

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Unlike other media-sharing tools, Save shifts power into the hands of those on the front lines by streamlining media workflows to aid rapid response work and reporting on human rights violations. Community members utilizing the free, open-source app include human rights organizations collecting evidence of violations, academic organizations accepting targeted media from the field, and journalists receiving sensitive information from vulnerable sources whose identity and information must be protected. Archivists and librarians working to create digital community collections, as well as individuals interested in curating their own mobile media collections, can also benefit from using Save’s innovative suite of security features.

Now that the app has been released, the OpenArchive team is focused on spreading awareness, providing trainings, and increasing distribution/adoption. For Save to have the desired impact, it must make its way into the hands of users who need it most. Do you have media that needs to be protected from censorship? Or does your organization work with sensitive data that should be preserved for the future? If so, then get involved and start using Save today.

To start future-proofing your mobile media, download Save through the iOS App Store or Google Play!

Read more about OTF’s support for OpenArchive here.

Support OpenArchive’s essential work via a tax-deductible donation here.

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About the program: The Internet Freedom Fund is OTF's primary way to support projects and people working on open and accessible technology-centric projects that promote human rights, Internet freedom, open societies, and help advance inclusive and safe access to global communications networks for at-risk users including journalists, human rights defenders, civil society activists, and every-day people living within repressive environments who wish to speak freely online. Through the Fund, OTF strives to uphold and increase capacity for individuals, organizations, and companies who support technology-centered efforts that aim to strengthen Internet freedom and promote human rights by circumventing repressive censorship and surveillance, improving related digital security capabilities, and contributing to the overall health of the Internet. Learn more about the program and apply here.

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