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[liberationtech] The OpenWatch Minisummit - Aug 19, 2012 - Oakland, CA

Rich Jones miserlou at
Tue Jul 31 17:57:25 PDT 2012

Howdy, folks!

It is my honor and privilege to invite you to the very first OpenWatch
Summit, to be held on Sunday, August 19th, 2012 in Oakland, California.

For those of you who don't already know, The OpenWatch
Project<>is a
*scientific citizen journalism* project which creates *free and open source
digital tools* for *ordinary people* to collect evidence of their
encounters with authority figures. It is our mission to collect *documentary
evidence* of authority enforcement across the globe so that we can analyze
regional trends in enforcement, expose brutality and corruption and
celebrate proper conduct. Hundreds of thousands of people across the globe
use the software tools we have produced to record their encounters with the
police, we have partnered with major legal and activist organizations and
we have been profiled by major media outlets. This next year will be a very
exiting one for us!

Since so many people who have contributed to the project are in the Bay
Area, we thought that it would be *extremely productive and fun* if we
could all gather in one place for an afternoon for a general assembly of
sorts. We can all meet each other and discuss the project, the challenges
it faces and the problems which we'd like to solve as we move into the

Also, a unique funding opportunity has presented itself for OpenWatch which
needs input and discussion. There are potentially some paid opportunities
to continue to develop our technology and organization. Hopefully, we will
leave with a real blueprint of things which we will be able to accomplish
with resources as they become available.

There is a space in Oakland to house the event and food and drinks will be
provided during. There will also be a *fun-ass party *afterwards at a TBD
location in Oakland or Berkeley. Since space is limited, please email me
off-list for more detailed information.

There are a lot of things which need to be discussed:

    * *Streaming media upload*
        - Many users have requested the ability to stream to a remote
server, and some of the developers have expressed interested in this. If we
could figure out a way to do this without wasting resources and decreasing
the signal to noise ratio, this would be a killer feature.

    ** Notarizing documents*
        -  In an effort to make the data produced by OpenWatch more useful
in court cases, I have begun working on a project called *CitizenMediaNotary
* ( How can it be deployed,
integrated and improved?

    ** Voip/SIP/Mesh/WebP2P relaying*
        -  How can we get data out in low-connectivity environments?

    ** Local event alerting*
        -  Should our tools be able to alert other nearby users of
important events nearby?

*    * Security // Reap prevention // Counter-Reaping*
        -  The police are well aware of citizen media at this point, and
are actively using tools which turn a user's phone into a weapon against
them. How can we prevent this and potentially use this as a vector to
gather information about police enforcement?

*    * Skunkworks Tech*
        -  Disposable surveillance hardware? Police radio interception?
Anonymous document capturing and publishing? Bring your most far out ideas
and we'll bounce them around.

*    * Cleaning of data*
        -  The data we receive is still noisy. Can we use automatic tools
or manual human intervention to attempt to solve this problem?

*    * Transcription*
        -  In the same vain, data transcription is time consuming. Can this
process be improved with automatic tools?

*    * Translation*
        -  At this point, OpenWatch has tens of thousands of international
users and many recordings we receive are not in English. What can be done
about this?

*    * MTurk*
        -  Can we use the Mechanical Turk or some similar product to
outsource the processing of collected data?

*    * Cartography*
        -  OpenWatch now has a map interface which allows visitors to
witness police events near where they are. How can this idea be expanded

    * *Analysis*
        -  More than anything else, we need to be able to analyze and
report about the data which we receive. How can this process be improved?


*    * Crowd Funding Model*
        -  Can we build an economic support system for OpenWatch? Can we
integrate with the
iOS-DonationWall <> libraries?

*    * Business Development*
        -  Can we run compartments of OpenWatch, such as the voice and
video streaming capture or the donation backend, as a revenue-generating

*    * Partnerships *
        -  We have successfully partnered with the ACLU of New Jersey and
are now working with various other ACLU chapters and activist
organizations. How can we expand our reach and streamline our
white-labeling process?

*    * Grants*
        -  Grant attempts in the field of journalism have failed. Are there
other avenues we can explore?

     How can we further engage OpenWatch users and visitors? Can recordings
and data processing be incentivized? How can we use documentary evidence to
enact tangible change?

    ** Social Accountability*
        - How can we use the social network of OpenWatch users to demand
accountability of misbehaving police?

*    * Contact Local PD*
        - Should OpenWatch visitors be able to directly contact local
police departments?

*    * Contact Local News*
        - Should OpenWatch visitors be able to directly contact local media?

*    * Legal involvement*
        - How can we effectively pair OpenWatch users with legal

*    * FOIA activity
*        - Can we use local Sunshine Laws and the Freedom of Information
Act to improve our understanding of regional police enforcement? Is there
an opportunity to partner with MuckRock?

*    * Communication*
        - As it stands, we are extremely slow to reply to email and pull
requests. How can we fix this?

*    * Development cycles - Testing, Regular Releasing, Code Management*
        - How can we apply best software development practices to The
OpenWatch Project?

*    * Internationalization / Scalability*
        - There is a lot of interest in the project from overseas,
particularly in the areas where the tools are more seriously needed than
they are in the United States . How can we work to scale the project

*    * Propaganda // PsyOps*
        - How can we expand our userbase and the public recognition of the
            - Everybody loves stickers! And Shirts!

*    * Leadership / Board*
        - How can we best steer the OpenWatch project in a positive and
effective direction? There are plenty of opportunities for responsibility
here and if you or somebody you know want to become more actively involved
in the project, this is the time for you to step up!


**    * Get down*
*    * Get down*
*    * Jungle boogie*

So please, *join us!* I think it will be a good time, and hopefully we'll
be able to make some *wonderful schemes! *If you know anybody who you think
will be interested in discussing and/or contributing these technologies and
organization, *please feel to pass this invitation along* to them! Please
RSVP if you plan on attending just so I have some idea of how much
refreshments to acquire.

For more information, please email reply off-list. (Space is limited!
For less information, check out the page about this here:

See you then!,
Rich Jones

ps - There is also a new #openwatch IRC channel on FreeNode if you'd like
to come say hi!
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