Cameras Everywhere

WITNESS Response


To enable the growing number of people using video for human rights to do so effectively, safely and ethically, WITNESS plans to:

1. Develop tools in WITNESS Labs.

  • WITNESS Labs initiative will support a series of collaborations with technology developers to create innovative tools that support human rights.
    • These tools will have an initial focus on enhancing the safety and security of people using video for human rights by:
      • Concealing the identity of those filmed;
      •  Protecting relevant metadata;
      • Integrating human rights standards of consent and intent into filming workflow and
      •  Where possible, collecting relevant metadata for evidentiary authentication.
    • Other areas of likely focus include additional modes of evidentiary authentication, secure upload, and information management with multiple video sources.
    • Our initial collaboration is with the Guardian Project to develop the Secure Smart Cam, which focuses on securing video, data, and the visual privacy of those in front of and behind the camera.
  • WITNESS Labs will create a small advisory committee of leading technologists, technology investors and human rights advocates to guide this process. The initiative will use a small seed grant process to solicit new apps or enhance and improve existing apps or web functionalities to address the challenges raised by the increasing use of video, including specific situations emerging from grassroots human rights campaigns.

2. Advocate and engage with key stakeholders in technology and human rights.

  • Advocate and engage with technology providers on the key recommendations outlined in this report around usage and content policies, codes of conduct, user education, tools and functionalities, and support curation/discussion of human rights material.
  • Coordinate with partners a series of public discussions involving human rights activists and technologists on the core topics emerging from this report and accompanying recommendations — both in online venues (invited blog posts and online debates), and in real-world discussions (shared via live-stream).
  • Use key existing sectoral events (technology, social change and human rights) to present key findings and build debate in the public sphere.
  • Commission and support detailed recommendations and relevant information on key aspects highlighted — for example, in relation to issues of informed consent in the digital age.
  • Propose collaborative spaces for practical dialogue between technology developers and human rights organizations, so that mutual expertise can be shared in practical, real-time contexts.

3. Build citizen activists’ digital media literacy and advocacy skills.

  • Continue to develop comprehensive training tools that address key issues of how to film, edit, circulate and distribute human rights video safely and ethically, and most importantly, effectively.
  • Ensure these tools are made available to both traditional and non-traditional human rights video-makers (for more information on existing materials see
  • Collaborate with digital media literacy experts to develop effective, shareable guidelines for a range of human rights situations, including short spreadable/ viral media that concisely communicate key points and are easily consumed and shared.
  • Utilize WITNESS’ social media and blogging presence, other publication and discussion venues, and key sectoral events to promote dialogue, sharing of lessons learned and cohesive action around issues within the Cameras Everywhere initiative.

4. Promote public policy solutions.

  • Review participation in the GNI.
  • Push for further discussion around policy questions of visual privacy, including in relation to the Madrid Privacy Declaration.
  • Consider a range of approaches for collaboration with other civil society organizations working in this field, in order to better maximize resources.

5. Mobilize support for a growing field — “Why Video Matters”.

  • WITNESS will use a strand of collaborative research and reporting entitled “Why Video Matters” to explain, on the basis of sound research, case studies and document the critical role that video and related technologies play in facilitating social change, further deepening understanding of the challenges and opportunities identified in this report.
Cameras Everywhere Report

Download the Report (PDF)

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Cameras Everywhere

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