Cameras Everywhere

Shaky footage shot by ordinary citizens using mobile phones is now ubiquitous. Social media sites such as Facebook and YouTube are repositories for millions of such videos, including a great many documenting appalling incidents of human rights abuses around the world. Yet while new technologies are creating a new generation of human rights activists, they also pose a complex set of questions for governments, companies, donors and NGOs. How, for example, can sites such as YouTube protect their users from scenes of graphic violence, while simultaneously providing a safe space for activists to expose human rights abuses to the world? How do traditional media outlets verify citizen-produced content shot by unknown people in undisclosed locations? And how can activists keep themselves safe online and protect against the intrusions of repressive governments? These are just some of the questions that a new report written by human rights organisation Witness attempts to address. Cameras Everywhere provides a thoughtful exploration of these issues and provides key points of action for donors, websites, and NGOs. It’s a welcome and timely addition to the field.