Amnesty International's Panic Button mobile app


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Tanya O’Carroll, Technology and Human Rights Officer for Amnesty International, was at NetSquared London's July meetup to talk about the Panic Button mobile app. This is her presentation.

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  • When we were established 52 years ago, Amnesty one of first orgs to seize potential of global information networks for human rights.
    Based on the simple idea of people writing letters to governments on behalf of detained individuals, PoC
    50 yrs later, information has disrupted the model for human rights campaigning. There is now the ability to orchestrate rapid, global response every time an individual is arrested. This is already happening. It no longer relies on intermediaries like Amnesty.
    Technology and Human Rights project set-up to work out how amnesty can leverage technology more be more responsive in our individual protection work but also augment rapid & secure peer-peer network response
  • The scenario we designed for : Human Rights Defender who is at constant risk of unlawful detention, torture of disappearance because of the work they do
    In 80% of cases, the arrest will not take place in a public place & there will be no witnesses.
    Swift and response reactions from your network
  • Un poco sobre la historia del Boton de Panico y como llegamos para crearlo
  • El concepto del Boton de Panico nos llego de un concurso abierto de innovacion. La idea ganadora fue el proyecto PACTO que se incluia no solamente la parte technica de la applicacion pero la idea de tener un plan de seguridad con tus contactos para prepe. El boton el solamente el activador para un plan mas amplio.
  • La primera version de la applicacion fue desarollada en 48 horas con un grup was created quickly with just 48 hours of designers and developers working together in a ‘hackathon’ – un maraton de programacion en cual los programadores consruten productos technologico rapidamente.
  • We then had the opportunity to turn that early prototype into an advanced working prototype with siz weeks or pro-bono assistance offered by Thoughtworks
    They came up with the idea of a panic app disguised as an app that sends ‘100 Roses’
  • Cuando tuvimos una version qu funciono, la llavamos a Kenya en Africa. Durante una semans trabnajamos con 20 activistas de paises and Africa y el mundo para probarla y mejorarla en un process de dieno collaborative.
  • Por ejemplo, esta mujer trabaja protejiendo los derechos de las trabajoras sexualles. Es muy comum que La policia llegue y haga arrestos. Ella lleve el ceulrar dentro su falda para ser mas seguro. Asi tuvimos la idea.
  • We were then able to use this research to keep evolving the concept to the version of the app which we have now, ready for beta release.
    We evolved from the big red panic button designed at IDEO make-a-thon to the idea of a big red ‘bunch of roses’, designed to be inconspicuous for authorities who may seize the phone. But in user testing it emerged this also confused the user.
    Now the app includes a set-up wizard with security tips and allows the user to activate the facade & create a passcode for their security once they have completed the set-up.
  • Participatory tools
  • People powered solutions. Embracing open innovation
  • How do you create a functional protection tool? Not an alert app but a protection app? Protection requires a person at the other end. The gov doesn’t stop because of twitter. The gov stops because of people pressure, which happens to be on Twitter.
  • Amnesty International's Panic Button mobile app

    1. 1. – A mobile alert app for HRDs
    2. 2. What is Panic Button?
    3. 3. The Scenario
    4. 4. How does the app work? 1. Sends message to your three contacts in an emergency
    5. 5. 2. Sends map link with your location every 5 minutes (when GPS is enabled) How does the app work?
    6. 6. How does the app work? 3. Triggers the alert rapidly and discretely from the phone’s power button
    7. 7. How does the app work? 4. App is protected with disguise screen and pin number
    8. 8. How does the app work? 5. Provides checklist for use and security tips online
    9. 9. The Story
    10. 10. @tanyaocarroll
    11. 11. @tanyaocarroll IDEO Hackathon
    12. 12. @tanyaocarroll “100 Roses” Thoughtworks University @tanyaocarroll
    13. 13. @tanyaocarroll User research and feedback
    14. 14. @tanyaocarroll
    15. 15. @tanyaocarroll V.1 V.2 V.3 Building the product @tanyaocarroll
    16. 16. Beta roll-out and training
    17. 17. @tanyaocarroll 648 challenge participants 50 Designers 150 Human Rights Defenders 20 Developers
    18. 18. Design Challenges!
    19. 19. Concept of the ‘PACT’
    20. 20. "A reminder for all of us using mobile phones for advocacy, ‘Security is a people problem.’ Even with the panic button, we should always keep this in mind.”
    21. 21. Apps don’t protect people. People do.
    22. 22. Apps don’t protect people. People do. There is no such thing as absolute security.
    23. 23. Apps don’t protect people. People do. There is no such thing as absolute security. Your mobile phone - friend or enemy?
    24. 24. @tanyaocarroll Where next? Website: Email: