Witnessential Networks, not cameras!

There have been numerous attempts to equip Human Rights workers with hand-held cameras so that they can document violence, and many of these attempts have even been backed with massive corporate funding:
We began when Amnesty International invited us to be the sole sponsor of Human Rights Now!, a 1988 world concert tour which reached millions of young people on five continents. ... In partnership with musician Peter Gabriel and the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights we founded Witness, a program that equips frontline activists with hand-held video cameras to document human rights abuses.
(local backup = http://wearcam.org/reebok_human_rights.htm and also http://wearcam.org/reebok.mov)

Tickling a tiger's whiskers

In many situations, the mere presence of a video camera results in immediate violence directed to a person with a camera. Thus hand-held cameras often serve to provoke rather than deter violence.

This violence directed at camera operators is almost globally universal, and can be observed in nearly any country. I have myself noticed that when trying to use a camera to collect evidence of wrongdoing, that even otherwise mild mannered clerks will sometimes jump over a counter and punch me in the face, knocking my camera to the ground. Even in countries like Canada and the United States, which are said to have very good Human Rights records, I have been physically assaulted and unlawfully detained for merely using a hand-held camera to collect evidence of wrongdoing.

Incidentalist image capture

The very same officials who reacted violenty to a hand held camera, did not seem to mind at all when I captured memories of them using an EyeTap device transmitting realtime video to the Internet.

Others have tried to explain this phenomenon by merely stating that the perpetrators did not know what the EyeTap device was, so I also conducted a series of experiments in which I made it very obvious that the EyeTap device was transmitting live video.

For example, I attached a very large flat screen television to my body, and had it running a web browser mirroring images from the website receiving the signals from the EyeTap device.

To make it even more obvious it was transmitting, I included a flashing red light, and flashing indicia bearing terms such as "REC." (the common abbreviation for "record"), and I experimented with making the transmitting antenna more obvious, and having words like "LIVE BROADCAST" flash across the screen in large letters.

I also experimented with a freeze frame effect, so that the official could see his face on the television screen in larger-than-life size.

This situation seldom resulted in violence.

I started approximately thirty years ago (in my early childhood days) experimenting with a wearable personal technologies, creating WearComp0 (a not so successful effort) followed by WearComp1, and finally in 1981, WearComp2, a fully functional wearable photographic appratus (what would now be, using today's language, be referred to as a "multimedia" wearable computer).

Through a series of experiments I conducted over a twenty year period from 1981 to 2001, building more than a hundred different kinds of wearable photographic apparatus, and wearing them in many different countries around the world, I determined that there are some fundamental issues that can be addressed in order to assist Human Rights movements, culminating in the concept of the Witnessential Network:

Verification of witnessential integrity

Videscrow: cryptographic signatures in camera, but may require a tamper-resistant device in the camera to sign, authenticate, time-stamp, (and append heart rate, GPS, electronic compass info, etc., to the image header), which would compromise the existentiality of the device. Alternatively, a remote authentication committee could certify at least the time beyond which the images were produced (for example, it could be certified that an image was sent within a sixtieth of a second after an event, and perhaps thus assumed that it would have been very difficult to falsify an image within a sixtieth of a second.
--S. Mann, Assistant Mailroom Clerk, EXISTech Corporation