Evidence collection app for human rights abuses, eyeWitness

The International Bar Association has published the app eyeWitness, to allow people on the ground, in situations where atrocities are occurring, to gather evidence.


The system they’ve set up also verifies this evidence. The central value is to help the gathering of court-admissible evidence, to help bring justice to those perpetrating crimes and empower human rights defenders to support their claims with strong evidence.

Here’s the description from the IBA:

It is hoped the eyeWitness app can set honest activists, journalists and citizens apart from potential fraudsters, giving them the credibility and security they deserve as they seek to shine a light on gross human rights violations across the world.

The way it works is simple. The user takes a photo, films a video or records audio through the app, which then embeds a body of metadata: GPS coordinates, date and time, sensory and movement information and a pixel count, as well as nearby Bluetooth and Wi-Fi networks. Additional information can be provided afterwards, such as tagging individuals or describing what can be seen in the footage.

This type of application could have relevance for other kinds of crime-reporting and evidence-collection use cases. It could be for people who know they might be going to court, to gather more documentation to support their future claims.

Or it could be a way for non-profits and advocacy groups to gather higher quality, crowdsourced data about what incidents are occurring. This can help them in their reports and policy proposals, as well as in finding potential plaintiffs for public interest litigation they may want to pursue.