By Seth Herschkowitz

Every week we publish a list of favorite human rights, video and advocacy articles that have been shared internally by WITNESS staff. This week features the future of cinema, the future of passwords and digital security, the implementation of police cameras in law enforcement agencies across the nation and much more.

Commentary: What I learned, and What You Should Know, After I Published My Twitter Password – The Wall Street Journal

After purposely revealing his Twitter password to readers around the world in an article on July 13th, The Wall Street Journal columnist Christopher Mims reflects on the state of passwords, the future of digital security and what every internet user should be doing to protect their online accounts. The article is separated into four sections highlighting different facets of recommended cyber security practices. First, Mims discusses two-factor authentication, a process by which you are sent a secret code via text message that acts as an auxiliary password when logging into your accounts. Next, he suggests those who need extra security should install a password manager in order to organize further safeguard your passwords. Furthermore, the author reminds us that in a society so steeped in social media, it is simple to find answers to password recovery questions such as “what is your favorite movie?” and reminds us to make sure that the answers to our security questions does not correspond directly to our passwords. Lastly, as a bonus, Mims argues it is better to remain paranoid about clicking even the most marginally suspicious emails or web link because they may put your accounts at risk.

Image courtesy of Andrés E. Azpúrua via Wikimedia Commons
Image courtesy of Andrés E. Azpúrua via Wikimedia Commons


In California, A Champion for Police Cameras – The New York Times

This article by Ian Lovett of the New York Times discusses the possibility of implementing sunglass-mounted video cameras into the uniforms of police forces across the United States. The new technology, used to videotape police interactions, has been used widely in the southern California city of Rialto since 2012. Since then the Times reports that complaints filed against officers were reduced by as much as 88 percent and use of force by policemen has also declined by 60 percent.  The main roadblock to implement this technology more widely is budget-related, as each pair of sunglasses costs 900 dollars. Understandably, many ethical questions have arisen around the question  of police interactions being recorded at all times. However, according to the report, there is some consensus that these problems can easily be overridden by heightening privacy protocols and parameters in the police force.

New Web Platform Crowdsources Human Rights – The Daily Beast

Crowdsourcing, the popular practice soliciting knowledge and services from a wide online community, is used by human rights activists for various functions around the globe. Taking this a step further, re-launched its website this week as a platform working to “connect dissidents in closed societies with individuals around the world with skills to help.” According Josh Rogin of The Daily Beast, the website provides a safe space which will enable connections between activists in the field and professionals around the world who can provide them with assistance. This new online tool has already had some successes such as connecting Syrian activists to a group of New York lawyers to assist in handling their asylum cases. In quoting a Ahed Al Hendi, a Syrian activist, the Daily Beast writes: “A lot of these people are individuals, they don’t have capacity, no support. is giving them resources and access to services.” Check it out!

Photo courtesy of Tânia Rêgo via Wikimedia Commons
Photo courtesy of Tânia Rêgo via Wikimedia Commons


The Ninjas in Brazil – Grantland

This article recounts one reporter’s first-hand experience of protests in Brazil over the last year. Columnist Amos Barshad gives an in-depth description of his year living as a part of Midia Ninja, an activist group that became famous for their international broadcasts of the mass demonstrations in Brazil during the summer of 2013. It’s an incredible story of an organization pushing against the tide of the media, the police, and the government. Give it a read!

Why The Form Of Cinema Will Change – Ted Hope

Ted Hope, an  award-winning independent film producer, ruminates on how transmedia story-telling, or telling a single story on multiple platforms, and non-feature length films are challenging how we currently consume film as a medium. Reacting to a conversation he led on the web series  “Reinvent Hollywood,” Hope concludes that in many ways the story itself is the best technology we have ever invented. Instead of getting carried away with transmedia as an experimental medium, filmmakers need to let the story they are telling and the intended audience lead and inspire how the story is presented. He maintains that “Our direct contact with audiences is one of the greatest gifts and we must not lose that at any cost. We cannot let the culture of content ubiquity create a community of competition.” Hope ends the piece with a wise checklist for filmmakers working on transmedia projects: include “transparency, sharing, the pursuit of transcendence, constant empathy, embracing failure as a given in the process, and a faith in the artist and diverse contributors.”

Seth Herschkowitz is a summer intern at WITNESS.

Lead image courtesy of Stougard via Wikimedia.

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