Knight News Challenge

The Knight News Challenge accelerates media innovation by funding breakthrough ideas in news and information. Winners receive a share of $5 million in funding and support from Knight’s network of influential peers and advisors to help advance their ideas. The first round of 2013, which opens in February, will invite innovators from all disciplines to focus on tools for open government. In 2012, three challenge rounds, each focused on an emerging trend, drew more than 2,500 entries.

Challenge 1 - on NETWORKS: Winners were announced June 18.

Challenge 2 - on DATA: Winners were announced Sept. 20.

Challenge 3 – on MOBILE: Winners were announced Jan. 17.

Anyone, anywhere can apply for the challenge - whether for-profit start-ups or non-profit ventures. For more information on a variety of topics - from guidelines for for-profits, on intellectual property licensing, open source software and more - visit our FAQ.

Secure Mobile Communications Tool for Investigative Journalists and their Sources (Client-side Crypto on iOS and Android)

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1. What is your project? [1 sentence]
A mobile application capable of highly secure communication between journalists and their sources.

2. How will your project use mobile tools and approaches? [2 sentences]
The app functionality will be developed on mobile web, Android and iOS platforms. It will leverage client-side cryptography and offer in-person key verification using QR codes (can only be done quickly and safely using native mobile).

3. Who will use it and why? [1 sentence]
Journalists who need to communicate with and protect the identity of their sources including whistleblowers and those who need to disclose information discretely and securely.

4. Please list three ways they would learn about your project.
1. A tool like this would be news-worthy and would likely garner blog entries in The Center for Investigative Reporting, the Global Investigative Journalism Network and other trade publications.
2.  By word-of-mouth, because the tool will be useful for general communication in addition to this highly secure and private mode.
3.  By having participated in an invitational beta designed specifically to engage the investigative journalism community.

5. What connections have you made, or will you make, with others [communities, organizations or networks] about your project? [2 sentences]
We’ve made contact with the Privacy community, winning an award for our initial efforts and Privacy Policy at Pii2012 in addition to contact with a contact at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. We would extend our outreach into networks where private communication is necessary including victims of domestic abuse.

6. What part of the project have you already built? [1-2 sentences, feel free to include links]
We’ve built initial versions of our project, which is called “Gliph” (from hieroglyph), for Android, [] iPhone, [] and for the mobile web, [] These versions use secure, server-side cryptography. While a great start, this forces users to trust that our crypto has not been compromised.

7. What does success for your project look like? [1-2 sentences]
Success is increasing the sense of trust between journalists and their sources, resulting in greater freedom of communication. The result will be a more informed and engaged global community.

8. What resources do you need to succeed? [1-2 sentences]
We would need financial resources and cooperative publicity from the Knight Foundation to be successful. We have the team necessary to completely build this project.

Additional details:
Gliph is a digital identity platform that focuses on providing secure and private communications. While our existing technology handles most secure communication use-cases we need to offer client-side cryptography for very high security communications. CryptoCat has offered an initial version of client-side crypto in the web, but it is not mobile. With the help of the Knight Foundation, we will be able to unify a web implementation of client-side crypto with native Android (java) and iOS (objective-c) versions making highly secure mobile communication convenient for wide audiences.

We are a for-profit corporation but are open-source friendly (our first release is coming shortly) and would be interested in open-sourcing the Objective-C and Java implementations of our client-side crypto developed with the assistance of the Knight Foundation.  This would give us vital peer review of our work and allow additional apps to be created that offer greater communications security.  It would be an excellent contribution to the mobile development community.

Please list who is on your team:
1.     Rob Banagale, CEO and co-founder. Former Director of Strategy at Übermind (now Deloitte Digital). B.S. in Comp. Eng. from Oregon State; MBA from Babson College.
Responsibilities: Business development, product design and management, team building, new product definition, public relations and customer support.

2.     Nicholas S. Asch, CTO and Co-founder. Studied Mech. Eng. at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada; Chief developer official “The Bachelor” Facebook game.
Responsibilities: Backend development, mobile web frontend development, system architecture, webscale design, technical service provider selection and management,

3.     Joakim Fernstad, Mobile Developer. M. Sc, Mechatronics engineering, Royal Institute of Technology. Senior iOS developer and R&D head of Fortune 500 retailer’s iOS technology.
Responsibilities: iOS programming.

4.     James Lawton, Mobile Developer. BEng Computer Science, University College London. MSc Vision, Imaging and Virtual Environments, Imperial College London. Consulted directly to Apple as primary developer of official Apple retail store application for 18+ months.
Responsibilities: iOS programming.

5.     Eric Butler, Mobile Developer. Security analyst and Board Member. Self-taught programmer. Creator of Firesheep and Farebot NFC tag reader, primary developer of Alaska Airlines Android Application.
Responsibilities: Android programming, security analysis.

6.     Ben Cerezo, Designer. BS Graphic Design, Oregon State University
Responsibilities: Graphic design and supporting user experience design.

Expected number of months to complete project: 6 months
Estimated Project Cost: $150,000
Name: Robert Banagale
Twitter: @jetsetter
Email address:
Organization: Gliph, inc.
City: Portland, Oregon
Country: United States
How did you learn about the contest? From the “Project VRM” email list. David “Doc” Searls, alumnus fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University posted about it.

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  1. Robert Banagale submitted this to newschallenge