In India, it is common for apartment complexes to have a security guard (called a chowkidar) on hire who patrols during the night looking for suspicious behavior. Each chowkidar is assigned with a chowki (place/complex) to patrol. Similarly, you can think of our app as your own digital "chowkidar" continuously monitoring your digital "chowki".

What it does

Everyone know that once an image or text is sent over mobile, ownership of said media is lost forever. Our app helps you gain back some of that ownership by continuously patrolling its network of users and alerting you when your media ends up in the hands of someone you did not intend for it to end up.

How we built it

Starting with android, we built a simple proof of concept to show how this idea can be implemented and to explore the challenges we would face if trying to build this to scale. We used firebase to handle the backend and used EXIF libraries to read and write metadata of images that our users want to track. We also built an iOS version to have a cross-platform proof of concept.

Challenges we ran into

We discovered many pain points along our development process that would need to be dealt with in order to ever scale this idea. First, the app requires an ever growing database of tags to search for which in a real life application would become painstakingly slow to use. We encountered difficulties with the handling of metadata of images among different social services and different versions of mobile OS. Also, for an app like this to work in real life, it would require the backing of a large telecommunication, mobile hardware or tech company as normal methods of mobile app growth would probably not work with Chowki.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We managed to demonstrate our idea across different OSes which points to the robustness of our concept. We managed to

What we learned

How to deal with metadata on images. How to use Firebase to managed data objects and notifications.

What's next for Chowki

We believe with the right support the concept behind Chowki might one day be able to make a real difference in the world of digital privacy.

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