The social justice mobile application I will be reviewing is Informacam/Informa app. Throughout recent decades, various technologies and mobile applications have been developed to address diverse social justice issues that are faced everyday by millions across the world. It is widely accepted that, “The scale of changes needed to create social justice is too great a challenge for any single set of tools and techniques.”, and thus “Tools and techniques might better be viewed as supporting the more tangible and immediate goals of human rights, dignity and wellbeing” (Light & Luckin). Many social justice technologies are not created with the idea that they will be a “cure-all” for injustice, but rather a tool to be used to help relieve those who face social injustice. Informacam is a mobile application that presents itself as a significant tool to fight various social injustices but mainly provides digital information justice.
Informacam is a mobile application that collects secure digital evidence from user-generated media such as videos or images, and provides equally secure storage of sensitive data contained within the digital media taken on mobile devices. Once a video or image is captured on Informacam it is uploaded through Tor, an anonymous web browser, while protected by the application’s strong encryption codes. The data captured by Informacam, reveals a “snapshot” of the environment in which the media was originally captured. This snapshot of information be used to validate the exact location, date, and time in which a video was filmed which can be very useful to a user in a multitude of scenarios. Ultimately Informacam provides the user with a mobile application that will securely capture and store images and video and the revealing data attached to this media.
Several cases of police brutality have been heavily documented within the past decade but one of the most startling incidents to occur within recent history is the tragic situation that ended in the death of New York local, Eric Garner. The situation from start to finish was captured on a cell phone, and later uploaded to the internet where millions speculated about the incident that left Garner dead after a chokehold by a New York police officer. In the end the police officer who placed Garner in a chokehold was not indicted for his action and this sparked, ”At least 50 demonstrations…nationwide specifically for Garner” (Wikipedia). Incidents like this prove the need for video documentation of questionable situations in which lives can be lost or forever altered. However, not only do we need documentation, we need validation of this documentation in the form of unskewed data that can provide valuable evidence. Explained by Larry Krasner in an article by Daniel Denvir, “Next to DNA, the democratization of gathering of evidence by means of the universal camera … the cell phone … is an enormous development in terms of the potential for real justice”. The cell phone is becoming an ever more powerful tool for the gathering of media and it is shifting the paradigm of the power of the average human to “watch the watchers” and promote social justice.
“In an informational age, synchronized and integrated networks of information, production, and exchange are the new and prominent feature of social organization” (Donner, 30). Informacam is an application that accepts the challenges of the informational age and attempts to synchronize and integrate production and exchange of user-generated media. Informacam does this all with an overarching attention to the preservation of the security of data, in an age where information can easily be intercepted or altered. “Indeed, police in Philly and elsewhere have been known to arrest citizen videographers and destroy cameras. And they still make allegations against brutality victims that are sometimes flatly contradicted by what’s caught on camera.” (Denvir). Through it’s secure Tor upload, Informacam helps to prevent incidents like this from occurring and could prove to lend a hand to videographers that are subjected to having their media altered or destroyed. This new platform of information and data gathering is extremely crucial to the future success of mobile media as a social justice tool and may ultimately become a decisive factor in judging police brutality cases caught on camera. Altogether, Informacam is a powerful application that protects the rights of videographers and seeks to provide informational justice to all users.
Death of Eric Garner. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved March 8, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Eric_Garner
Denvir, Daniel. (2013, March 7). “Police Brutality in the iPhone era.”
Donner, Jonathan. (2008). “Shrinking Fourth World?” In Katz, J. E. (Ed.). Handbook of Mobile Communication Studies. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. P. 29-42
Light, Ann and Rosemary Luckin. (2008). “Designing for Social Justice: People, Technology and Learning.” Report for Futurelab.