The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) has released Reporta, a personal safety app that journalists working in potentially dangerous environments can use to quickly implement their security protocols.
The app is designed specifically for journalists worldwide and available in six languages— Arabic, English, French, Hebrew, Spanish, and Turkish.
“Journalists covering conflict zones, working in repressive environments, or reporting on sensitive or highly charged issues are too often the targets of attacks,” said Elisa Lees Muñoz, Executive Director of IWMF. “Reporta was developed with the goal to harness the power of the one piece of technology that most journalists use every day – a mobile phone. Now more than ever, it is critical to equip journalists with a free tool to help them stay safe and best positioned to continue to tell the significant stories of our time.”
Reporta empowers journalists to be proactive with their security protocols, making it easy to issue notifications containing photos, audio, or video to designated, pre-loaded contacts using the app’s three essential features:
- An automated and customizable check-in system that allows journalists to provide key information about their location and status.
- A customizable alert function that allows journalists to let key contacts know when their safety or that of a colleague’s may be at risk.
- A SOS feature that can be used to send an emergency message with the touch of a button.
Reporta’s launch comes at a time when violence against journalists is on the rise. The last three years have been widely reported as the deadliest period on record. Too often, journalists reporting on corruption, conflicts, and other illegal or sensitive activities face threats of harassment, abduction, or even imprisonment. In addition, IWMF research found that nearly two-thirds of women in media had experienced intimidation, threats, or abuse as a direct result of their work. Reporta was designed to help journalists augment existing security protocols and trainings, such as Hostile Environment and Emergency First Aid Training (HEFAT), in any of these situations.
Reporta was made possible by a grant from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. Additional support was provided by Al-Monitor, Inter-American Development Bank, and Facebook. IWMF worked in consultation with journalists across five continents, global security experts, and other partners in developing Reporta, including the Article 19, Global Journalist Security, International Center for Journalists. Reporta was built by RevSquare.
Building on Reporta, the IWMF plans to launch ReportaPro, an enterprise-scaled platform with back-end capabilities specifically designed for media organizations using Reporta. ABC News and Sinclair Broadcast Group are founding partners of ReportaPro.
Face App grabs SA attention
South Africans generated more than 100 000 search queries for “Face App” on Wednesday, while only generating 50 000 for “Mandela Day”. The Internet wentcrazy over the two-year-old app, which uses artificial intelligence to create a rendering of what users might look like in a few decades. Face App went viral as users posted their aged likenesses on social media in the #faceappchallenge. Privacy experts, however, warned that the app (made in Russia) may pose a threat to users’ privacy as it stores photos on its servers, with US Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, appealing to the FBI to investigate the app.
In other top searches on Google this week, “Johnny Clegg” garnered more than 500 000 search queries on Tuesday as the news of his passing broke. The ‘White Zulu’ of Juluka and Savuka fame was an internationally acclaimed musician who was also an important figure in the fight against apartheid. Tributes to Clegg have been flooding media and social media over the past couple of days. Clegg succumbed to pancreatic cancer at the age of 66.
More than 200 000 search queries were generated for “Mark Batchelor” on Monday after the former soccer star was brutally gunned down outside his Olivedale home in Gauteng. Investigations into the shooting are still ongoing. Batchelor played for Orlando Pirates, Wits University, Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns, Moroka Swallows and Bafana Bafana.
“Jacob Zuma” also garnered more than 100 000 search queries on Monday as he made his first, much-anticipated appearance in front of the Zondo Commission on state capture.
On Sunday “Macdonald Ndou” picked up more than 10 000 search queries after reports of theMuvhango actor’s arrest made the rounds. Ndou was held on various charges including extortion and kidnapping. The Hawks have reportedly provisionally withdrawn charges against the TV star, but a spokesperson said the decision to withdraw does not mean the charges will not be reinstated.
“Serena Williams” garnered more than 50 000 searches on Saturday as the tennis superstar suffered a 6-2, 6-2 defeat against Simona Halep in a Wimbledon final that lasted just 56 minutes. Williams later told Agence France Presse, “She [Halep] played out of her mind” and “I was like a deer in headlights”.
Last Friday, South Africans produced more than 20 000 search queries for “Duduzane Zuma” as the Randburg Magistrates Court found the former first son not guilty of a charge of culpable homicide. In February 2014, Zuma was involved in a car crash that took the life of Phumzile Dube when his vehicle crashed into the taxi she was travelling in.
Search trends information is gleaned from data collated by Google based on what South Africans have been searching for and asking Google. Google processes more than 40 000 search queries every second. This translates to more than a billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year, worldwide. Live Google search trends data is available at https://www.google.co.za/trends/hottrends#pn=p40
Homemation creates comfort through smart homes
Home automation is more than just turning the lights on and off, Homemation’s Gedaliah Tobias tells BRYAN TURNER
The world is taking interior design notes from the Danish, in a style of living called hygge (pronounced hoo-gah). Its meaning varies from person to person: some see hygge as a warm fire on a cold winter’s night, others see it as a cup of hot coffee in the morning. The amount of “good feelings” one gets from these relaxing activities depends on what one values as indulgent.
But how does technology fit into this “art of feeling good”?
We asked Homemation marketing manager Gedaliah Tobias to take us through a fully automated home of the future and show us how automation creates comfort and good feelings.
“The house is powered by Control4, which you can think of as the brain of the smart home,” says Tobias. “It controls everything from the aircon to smart vacuum cleaners.”
The home of the future is secured by a connected lock. It acts like other locks with keypads and includes a key in the event of a power interruption. The keypad is especially useful to those who want to provide temporary access to visitors, staff, or simply kids who might lose their parents’ house keys.
“The keypad is especially useful for temporary access,” says Tobias. “For example, if you have a garden service that needs to use the home for the day, they can be given a code that only turns off the perimeter alarm beams in the garden for the day and time. If that code is used outside of the day and time range, users can set up alerts for their armed response to be alerted. This type of smart access boosts security.”
Once inside, one is greeted with a “scene” – a type of recipe for electronic success. The scene starts by turning on the lights, then by alerting the user to disarm the alarm. After the alarm is disarmed, the user can start another more complicated scene.
“Users can request customised scene buttons,” says Tobias. “For example, if I press the ‘Dinner call’ scene, the lights start to flash in the bedroom, there’s an announcement from the smart speakers, the blinds start to come down, the lighting is shifted to the dinner table. Shifting focus with lighting creates a mood to bring the house together for dinner.”
Homemation creates these customised scene buttons to enable users to control their homes without having to use another device. In addition to scene buttons, there are several ways to control the smart home.
“Everything in the smart home is controllable from your phone, the touchscreens around the house, the TV, and the dedicated remote control. Everyone is different, so having multiple ways to control the house is a huge value add.”
We ask Tobias where Homemation recommends non-smart home users should start on their smart home journey.
“Before anything, the Control4 infrastructure needs to be set up. This involves a lot of communications and electrical cabling to be run to different areas of the home to enable connectivity throughout the home. After the infrastructure is set up, the system is ready for smart home devices, like lighting and sound.”
“For new smart home users, the best bang for their buck would be to start with lighting once the infrastructure is set up. Taking it one step at a time is wise.”
• For more information, visit https://www.homemation.co.za/