Cameras Everywhere Report 2011 - Key Challenge

Network Vulnerabilities


Cameras Everywhere Report 2011

Technology providers like Google and Facebook have recently been pushed to the forefront of human rights debates. The responsibility of these providers as intermediaries for activist and human rights purposes have been brought into focus by the Arab Spring. Though activists have long been using websites, like Dailymotion and YouTube, to rally and inform their supporters, almost none of these sites has a human rights content category, whether for user contributions or for curators or editors. Providers do not have publicly available editorial policies or standards specifically focused on human rights content. Some activists have faced content, campaign or even account takedown for “violating” terms of use policies. Video content is vulnerable to interception, takedown and censorship, and needs active protection. Mechanisms are evolving to make automatic censorship of video content more widely possible. On commercial platforms videos showing graphic violence or killing are vulnerable to takedowns. Copyright policy, backed by powerful music/film industry lobbies, impacts public interest content using parodies or remixes.


Surveillance technologies that can have a legitimate law enforcement use, such as in tracking child exploitation online, can also be used to block or censor political or human rights content or to covertly monitor advocates. International standards for scrutiny and export control of such dual-use technologies do exist, but these need revision and strengthening.

We must increase the resilience, reach and accountability of communications networks, public and private. The human rights community must also invest in alternative means of communicating, preserving and distributing human rights content.


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Cameras Everywhere Report 2011

WITNESS’ Cameras Everywhere aims to ensure that the thousands of people using video for human rights can do so as effectively, safely and ethically as possible.

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