Our group’s work led to a proposal for a new organization, Pharos, that will serve to enable, protect, and promote human rights media from around the world. Our starting premise is that there is an immense capability to capture video in the form of relatively cheap cell phone cameras and other digital recorders. Importantly, it has also become much easier to post such video online for free. This combination of developments should have led to a dramatic expansion in video to promote human rights, but our view was that this development has not occurred.
Thus we set out to identify the obstacles that might be preventing or inhibiting the spread of human rights media, as well as existing services and solutions that could be used to surmount these obstacles. As a whole, it seemed that existing services were inadequate for a range of reasons including: susceptibility to government pressure, lack of security, lack of publicity, and many others. While our initial discussions and research led us to consider discrete solutions to discrete problems, the interwoven nature of many of the problems led us to consider the viability and desirability of a single organization that could meet the many challenges simultaneously.
Accordingly, we propose Pharos as a solution to these many problems in the aggregate. It should be noted, however, that within these pages readers will still find discussions of many discrete problems pertaining to human rights media, as well as suggestions for solutions that could be implemented immediately by a new application or existing service (e.g. software making it easy to blur the faces of protesters or more secure upload platforms). In our view, addressing any of these problems would be a highly worthwhile endeavor that has the promise of creating a better internet.
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