Activism and social movements have risen to unprecedented levels in the past few decades. With the advent of telecommunications, a multitude of tools have become available for people to communicate to each other and organize, but these tools have failed in some regards.
-Some of the social networks that people use have become more of a distraction than an actual place of connection or active participation. They have contributed greatly to generating a feeling of conformity and passive activism.
-They have failed to become relevant in those moments and places where they could be very useful for activists, such as marches, protests, rallies, general assemblies, decision making processes, committees, to mention a few.
-Propelled by an ever-growing profit-driven industry, these tools are becoming increasingly unsafe, infringing upon the user’s privacy rights and making their information available to questionable entities. Privacy and freedom of information are becoming less of a right, and more of a privilege.
People in the technology world have seen these issues and built a plethora of alternatives, ranging from social networks that protect your data from third party providers, private and anonymous email, chat rooms and forums. However, these tools have yet to be properly designed and launched for the end user. Usually individuals will require a great amount of technical knowledge to use them and/or feel intimidated by the poor user interfaces and technical jargon that these tools feature.
We would like to bridge these ideas and to create a platform that is built by activists and not corporations, secure, private, and decentralized, while at the same time being accessible and user friendly.
What it does
The app allows the organizer of an event, such as a protest, a rally or a general assembly to create an event "feed" or "page". Users can input their zipcode and find a list of events near their area. The event feed includes an update section and a map.
The map has the following features: -Users can drag and drop icons to the map to signal different markers. The markers include shelter, food, water, police presence, assembly, supplies such as gas masks, medical attention and literature. -Each marker dragged becomes an update in the feed.
The feed has the following features: -Users can input any sort of text updates about the event.
How I built it
Challenges I ran into
Writing and debugging lots of code code, interaction between different modules, exhaustion and back pain.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We started from scratch, with very little experience, and built something that is slowly getting closer to our vision and our goal of taking the social out of social network and turning it into justice.
What I learned
An incredible amount of stuff about web application development, languages that we weren't familiar with and most importantly, the intersectionality between social justice and technology
What's next for RioTor
RioTor will continue to be an ongoing project. We are excited to see what this platform could become. These are some of the goals for the future:
-RioTor, as its name suggest will be accessed through the Tor hidden network. Potentially, the user will be able to accomplish this easily. Multiple layers of security and encryption will be added so that not only the user's data is kept private and untraceable, but our servers can defend against any type of attacks or attempts to steal information.
-More features will be added, such as ways to protect organizers against law enforcement repression, tools for democratic assembly and decision making, ability to receive notifications on your phone, message other users and invite people in your area to events, among others. -Users can upload photos and videos of the event, essentially turning the feed into a live photo-journalistic recollection of the action from multiple perspectives. These photos and videos can also be used to prevent and fight against police brutality and state repression.
We're standing on the shoulders of giants. Hacktivism has existed for a long time. In addition, others have already shown interest in joining us. Hopefully RioTor will become a growing community of tech people who care and stand up for others.