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Alternative to centralised Youtube/Twitter for uploading photos and videos to the net

Discussion in 'Protest Advice' started by Shaper, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. I've been writing an application for Google Android smartphones that automatically wirelessly uploads any media captured on the device (photographs, video, audio, etc) to the net.

    It was originally developed in response to UK and US policemen illegally seizing mobile phones which people had captured photos/videos on that the police would rather they hadn't - abuse of police power, unnecessary violence at peaceful protests and the like - exactly the situation in Iran currently.

    The point of the design is to upload media off the handset as quickly as possible - as soon as you take a photo or video it gets uploaded to the net, so even if your attacker manages to steal or confiscate your phone, the evidence has already been uploaded to an off-site location. From there, we can easily make use of the Streisand effect to ensure the media is impossible to then sequester or censor.

    From what I've heard Youtube and Twitter were doing brilliant jobs of allowing people in Iran to stay in contact and getting words and pictures out, until the government gave up and simply blocked all access to either domain.

    The key difference with Gandhicam is that it's trivial and easy (literally - minutes) to set up new upload destinations, and it takes only seconds to reconfigure a device to send to a new location.

    With enough people setting up their own upload destinations all over the world, and the ease with which they can be moved/changed, there is no single server, IP or domain to block - it's What-a-mole, with new destinations springing up faster than any censor can ban, block or DOS (denial-of-service) them.

    At the moment the system simply uploads to a web site, but in the future we are planning to add e-mail and MMS (multimedia messaging service) uploads, as well as easily-blocked but convenient options like Facebook, Youtube, Flickr and the like.

    It seems as if this kind of decentralised evidence-preserving and dissemination system could be extremely useful in Iran right now, so if anyone's interested the details on downloading and installing the app (Android only at the moment, but there's an e-mail only Blackberry app already available, and hopefully soon iPhone/Symbian (Nokia)/etc soon to come) then please get in contact to help us test and improve it.

    The project homepage (still a work-in-progress ;-) is at http://www.gandhicam.org - please drop us a line if you're interested in helping out, have suggestions, or just want more information on the project or app.

    To install Gandhicam for Google Android phones (HTC Dream/G2, HTC Magic/G2):

    1. Download and install Gandhicam for Android (slightly different third-party version also available for Blackberry, and we're working on ports to other mobile devices).
    2. To set up your own upload destination, download the simple gandhicam upload destination script and upload it to any server you like, anywhere in the world, on any IP or domain.
    3. Open the Gandhicam app on your device and set the "Upload Destination" to the URL of your uploaded script.
    4. Enable the types of media you'd like Gandhicam to watch for (pictures, video, audio), and tick the "enable Gandhicam mode" checkbox.

    Now every time you capture a piece of media of the selected format(s), Gandhicam will automatically upload the file to the location you set via WiFi or GSM (mobile internet).

    Once it's on the net it can be downloaded, copied, or spread to any site you want, manually or (with some more programming - we're working on it!) automatically.

    We're a small non-profit volunteer project dedicated to using and developing technology to encourage honesty, transparency and justice in public life, so if you're interested and/or think you might be able to help out, drop us a line (or e-mail me at info@gandhicam.org) and let us know!

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