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.

Is this for real? Validating and Authenticating Mobile Media with InformaCam

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1. What is your project? 

WITNESS, the world’s premier organization using video to promote human rights, is partnering with the developers at The Guardian Project to build InformaCam - an android app that embeds and encrypts smartphone sensor data into photos and videos, ensuring a specific camera captured them at a specific time and place and that the files have not been tampered with.

2. How will your project use mobile tools and approaches? 

The project itself is a mobile app that leverages the unique properties of mobile media gathering.  It uses the data collected from mobile device sensors like GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi, accelerometer, and compass to enhance the metadata found in media files, providing better context about who collected the image or video as well as where and when it was taken as well as providing a digital “chain of custody” for the media.

3. Who will use it and why? 

Though designed with the needs and safety requirements of human rights activists in mind, anyone who uses their mobile phone to collect videos and images of events around them will use InformaCam, especially if that media is intended to be used in a news story or as legal evidence.

4. Please list three ways they would learn about your project.

Human rights activists and journalists would learn about it by 

  1. Promoting the app and conducting trainings at gatherings relevant to each group.
  2. Publicizing the app in online spaces and relevant social media networks.
  3. Doing media outreach to place stories about the app on traditional media outlets.

5. What connections have you made, or will you make, with others [communities, organizations or networks] about your project?

WITNESS has a robust video-for-change network that we have built on Twitter and Facebook.  We’ve also been in close contact with ally organizations like the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Information Security Coalition, and the members of Stanford’s Liberation Technology community.

6. What part of the project have you already built? 

We have built a prototype of the app:

And a prototype of the secure repository:

7. What does success for your project look like? 

The project will be a success if the media collected using InformaCam were successfully validated and used as evidence in a court of law, or verified (using the embedded metadata) as legitimate by a news agency.

8. What resources do you need to succeed? 

We need funding for additional engineering (UI, Android, Native Library) support, robust testing (security and code review, localization and translation), and outreach and promotion to relevant communities.

Additional details:

Please list who is on your team: 


Bryan Nunez, Technology Manager
Sam Gregory, Program Director

Guardian Project: 

Harlo Holmes, Lead Developer/Researcher
Nathan Freitas, Leader of the Guardian Project
Hans-Christoph Steiner, Engineer
Shawn Van Every, Engineer
Andrew Senior, Engineer

Expected number of months to complete project: 12
Estimated Project Cost: $290,450
Name: Bryan Nunez
Twitter: @tech_wit
Email address:
Organization [if applicable]: WITNESS
City: Brooklyn, NY
Country: USA
How did you learn about the contest? Via the Knight Foundation (mailing list, blog)

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