ANIC is looking for ideas that will transform the way that African media work. This means that your idea should offer significant and tangible improvements to existing tools or techniques, or should propose new ways for African journalists to gather news, tell stories, engage with audiences, or sustain media organisations.
Ideas that have the potential to be replicated or that could scale continentally will have an advantage.
Not in Africa. ToR is publicly available, but average citizens and many journalists struggle to use it. AfriDocs will package Green Hornet, a new, user-friendly, streamlined, stand-alone encryption tool.
As African authorities become technologically sophisticated, media is finding it increasingly difficult to protect its sources and whistleblowers. AfriDocs will equip journalists and publishers with the tools, ongoing training and strategic resources to protect the identities of their sources and their communications.
AfriDocs will use a combination of proven technologies and new encryption tools to create a streamlined toolkit for African circumstances. It will leverage public trust in global anonymity brands like ToR and a set of new easier-to-use tools specifically designed for newsrooms. The client software is designed to be installed on mobile phones, tablets, and computers, and uses ToR and GPG to upload to secure servers. The servers contacts the appropriate journalist via a secure channel and distribute the information securely. The applet uses Bouncy Castle Crypto API and uses ToR through the Silver Tunnel Library.
AfriDocs is a voluntary collective of southern African journalists, civic coders, access to information activists, and publicly-minded security consultants. AfriDocs is partnering with the ToR Project, as part of its global media engagement programme to help journalists improve their understanding of security issues. The base code for the standalone applet is being released by Al Jazeera’s Transparency Unit as part of its reinvestment into journalism. The AfriDocs development team is led by journalist-turned-coder Jason Norwood-Young and start-up fundi Guy Taylor, with support from their media-focused technology company, 10Layer.
Al Jazeera’s Transparency Unit has already built the client software that powers the Green Hornet applet. The base code is in the process of being open sourced for use by AfriDocs. We will need to develop user interfaces for the applet, to make it as simple as possible for average citizens to use. AfriDocs will also need to create the underlying secure network by establishing secure servers, possibly in offshore data havens, Iceland or Sweden. We will build the solution that securely communicates from the secure server to the journalists. ToR’s suite of encryption tools is already available.
The bulk of the costs are for the upfront development of the AfriDocs toolkit and website. Once these are built, there will be very few ongoing operational costs, which will be covered by small donations from voluntary members of the AfriDocs collective.