Did you know that if you go to a protest, take pictures and share them on social media, not only can your location be tracked, but the location and identities of everyone whose face you’ve shown in a video can also be traced? Did you know that if you are recording a crime or some other form of injustice, that if you change the name of the file when you download it, it might be inadmissible in court? Well, my guest today is Palika Makam, the US Senior Program Coordinator with the global human rights organization WITNESS.
They are actually the oldest organization working in video advocacy. And this episode is chock full of tips, tricks and facts that you can use to properly bear witness to many of the events that we are seeing in the streets today. This episode is the class that you never knew you needed! I can’t wait to share it with you!
If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave a comment over on iTunes for me if you can, it really helps me out.. Or, screenshot your podcatcher and tag theblerdgurl over on IG stories with what you liked about it! If you REALLY want to support what I’m doing, please contribute to my Ko-Fi page! Your contribution really helps me keep the show going and eventually pay for expenses like mixing, transcription, a video editor and so much more!
Karama: Hey folks, Karama Horne aka theblerdgurl. And welcome back to to theblerdgurl podcast, where I interview some of the most amazing creators in the geek space. Now, this week's show is a little different. Did you know that if you go to a protest and take pictures and share them on social media,
[00:00:18] not only can your location be tracked, but the location and identities of everyone whose face you've shown in that picture can also be tracked? Did you also know that if you are recording a crime or some other form of injustice, that if you change the name of the file cwhen you download it, it might be inadmissible in court?
[00:00:39] Well, my guest today is Palika Makam, the U S senior program coordinator with the global human rights organization. WITNESS.org. Now WITNESS is actually the oldest organization. Working in video advocacy. And this episode is chock full of tips, tricks, and facts that you can use to properly bear witness to many of the events that we're seeing in the streets today.
[00:01:05]This is really amazing information. And this episode is like a class that I never knew I needed. I can't wait to share it with you, but first let's pay some bills.
[00:01:13]Welcome back now, please consider subscribing and leaving me a rating and a comment over on iTunes. It really helps the show out. And if you're feeling extra helpful, I'd really love it. If you could screenshot this episode and tag theblerdgurlover on IG stories in a post, just tell me what you think. Now that doesn't really help my numbers, but it does make my day.
[00:01:40] And don't forget, I have a Ko-Fi page now. to support, go to ko-fi.com/theblerdgurl.
[00:01:55] my guest today is activist Palika Makam. Palika is a media activist and the US senior program coordinator at WITNESS. She has produced video advocacy campaigns and trained activists all over the world from Ferguson to the West bank. At witness Polica leads the us immigration focused work with Eyes on ICE. A project dedicated to supporting directly impacted communities and allies to document abuses against immigrant communities and use video to fight deportations and advocate for immigrant rights.
[00:02:32] Prior to coming to witness Palika co-founded and ran The Babel Project, a nonprofit that teaches youth activists to use storytelling and documentary film, to advocate for their communities and specific policy change.
[00:02:46]Media she has helped produce has been used in evidence in human rights, abuse court cases, and an advocacy campaigns around education, police violence and immigration reform films have been screened everywhere from the United nations to high school classrooms. I personally was fascinated by a conversation Palika had when she was featured on AJ Plus recently about the Black Lives Matter Movement.
[00:03:10] And I reached out. I was thrilled when she agreed to be interviewed. Now, I'm going to tell you right now, you better have a pen and a piece of paper ready, because she's going to be giving a lot of amazing info in this discussion. So up next, my interview with Palika Makam.
[00:03:27] So Palika thank you so much for joining me today. And I would love it.
[00:03:33] If you could tell everybody about basically where, how you got into this and what witnessed.org is about.
[00:03:42] Palika : Sure, thank you so much for having me on today. so I'm a media activist. I have been working at the intersection of video and technology and human rights for about a decade now. I used to run my own nonprofit called the Babel project, which I started, you know, I was like 22, 23.
[00:04:00] I got an amazing grant from a university to start a nonprofit and, myself and a handful of trainers. We would go, To different communities and train youth organizers and activists, to be able to use video and storytelling as another tool in their activists tool belt. so I did that work in South Africa and Cape town in Palestine, Ferguson, New York, all over the place, really.
[00:04:25]And, around 2014, you know, when Mike Brown Jr was killed when Eric Garner was killed, You know, I felt compelled to take kind of all of the knowledge and privilege that I had had from traveling and meeting grassroots activists and working in movements and different countries and spaces, and, and really bring that back home and focus that work in the country where I was born and raised. And in the country where I'm implicated in that movement and in that struggle.
[00:04:51]so a few years ago, I saw a job, opening it, witness and witness is, you know, kind of the oldest organization working in this very niche space of video advocacy. I remember learning about witness when I was in college, you know, witnesses on my, my syllabus at the time. And so. When I saw that Witness was starting officially a U S program, it seems like the perfect opportunity for me to really route myself here, back home in the United States.
[00:05:22]So at witness, I am the U S Senior Program Coordinator. Witness is a global human rights organization. We support communities around the world to use video and documentation and technology and. Storytelling to be able to expose abuses and advocate for human rights. We are a global team. but we're tiny, you know, we have small teams all around the world and one of those places is the United States, which is the team that I work on.
[00:05:49]and here we mainly focus on supporting communities to film and expose, police abuse. And also to use that video to tell a larger story of systemic violence through creating databases and archives. We also support immigrant rights through projects called Eyes on ICE, which is the project that I actually lead.
[00:06:06]and we train immigrant communities and advocates and lawyers to use video to document abuses, and then use that video to fight deportations in court. And also for advocacy purposes outside of court. I also lead a project called Legal Video Advocacy, which is more focused on storytelling and, and traditional documentary style.
[00:06:25]and through the project, we train public defenders and their clients to create videos, interviewing their clients and family and friends, and then submit those videos to DA's and judges as a way to reduce harsh sentences and even support folks to get out of prison on clemency and parole. So everything that we do at witness, at the core of our work is using video both to expose abuses and serve as evidence, but also as a storytelling and advocacy tool to help change policies and practices and behaviors.
[00:06:55] And I really think the two go hand in hand.
[00:06:58] Karama: Yes, that's absolutely. incredible. I did not know about, Eyes on ICE or the Legal Video Academy. . I have a quick question about that last one . WIth the video that you're able to have defenders in their families create, is the video almost acting as a character witness in certain cases?
[00:07:15] Palika : Exactly. And in a lot of situations, we're able to interview people who wouldn't otherwise be able to come into court as witnesses for, you know, a handful of reasons. And it's really an opportunity to, you know, bring the courtroom into the community or the community into the courtroom and, and, you know, be able to show a part of a person's life.
[00:07:34] Beyond just their rap sheet or their, you know, "criminal history". It's really humanizing people, which seems like such a horrible thing to say, because we're already human. We shouldn't need to be humanized, but unfortunately in the criminal justice system, it is something that needs to happen.
[00:07:51]and we've had a ton of success. It's one of our newer projects, but it's really been exciting to see lawyers and, you know, social workers. Look for and be excited about using a more creative strategy. And we've even been able to do this work during COVID-19 by, recording phone interviews and Skype interviews and zoom interviews with incarcerated individuals and their community members, and still be able to submit that video.
[00:08:16]and we've actually had success in getting a handful of folks out of Rikers right now who were vulnerable to infection by COVID-19.
[00:08:26] Karama: Wow. That's, that's incredible. Do you ever partner with organizations like the Innocence project and things like that ..?.
[00:08:32] Palika : we haven't partnered with them yet. I actually have one of my childhood friends works there. So we're always kind of in communication and finding ways that we can collaborate. But, you know, we, for the most part, our target audience is, you know, directly impacted communities, public defenders, investigators journalists... you know, grassroots communities, advocates. To really be able to give them the tools they need to document abuses.
[00:09:00]Karama: And also you'd mentioned that you've been an activist for so long, and you talked about Palestine and South Africa, and many of the places that you've been. Is it a little bit surreal now to be here, home in the States and seeing images that you probably have used to just seeing in other countries?
[00:09:19] Palika : It is strange. But that's a really good question. It's, it's strange, but it's so important. You know, I remember even, when I worked in South Africa, there was a win that we had where the organization I worked with, took the Prime Minister of Basic Education to court and won. and it was a huge, huge victory for black and Brown students throughout the country, who were living in a post apartheid, South Africa.
[00:09:46] So dealing with institutional racism and systemic oppression all throughout the education system. And I just remember seeing their faces that day on the day that the news came out and, and it was, you know, obviously like I'm a human, I have empathy. I'd been working with them. I was incredibly happy for them. But there's something about being from that community that you can never replicate. And so I feel the pain here. I feel the lows here, but I also feel the wind here in a really different way, because it's not just my work now. It's my entire life. It's the conversations I'm having with my friends and my family. And I, you know, I'm doing so much work on learning my own, you know, ingrained racism coming from a South Asian community.
[00:10:30] It impacts every part of my life here. because I'm working in the country where, where I'm from.
[00:10:35]Karama: There's no compartmentalizing it,
[00:10:37] Palika : Right.
[00:10:37] Karama: Cause it's, it's all around you all the time. Now. Let's, let's bring that, to how Witness has been helping people document a lot of the, I don't want to say the Black Lives Matter Movement like it started yesterday, because it didnt.
[00:10:53] These videos are humanizing people. And we shouldn't have to say that, but the whole term Black Lives Matter is a humanizing statement because people I think are desensitized to a lot of what they, they see. How has witnessed our org been able to, and the work that you've been doing, I've been able to help some of the protests and the protesters that we've been seeing around the country.
[00:11:17] Palika : So what we've really been focusing on, and we've really been in like our emergency rapid response mode the past few weeks. And, and we've been, you know, we can't be everywhere at once. We're a small team and on the US team, it's actually just me and another colleague and she's on maternity leave right now.
[00:11:32] So it's just me. So I can't be everywhere at once. So one of our goals is to really be able to. Create resources and get those in the hands of as many advocates and communities as we can so that they could spread that information. And we make sure those resources are accessible, different languages, you know, accessible to communities.
[00:11:49] It's not, you know, we don't use a lot of legal jargon or jargon in general. and we make sure that things are in multiple different languages. But really we've been wanting to support. Communities, not protesters, not to film because you know, people are already inclined to whip out their phones and film when they see something happen.
[00:12:07]So it's not about that, but it's about making sure that they're doing it in a way that actually leads to some impact, you know, unfortunately, so many of the videos that we see showing police violence and abuse, whether at a protest or not, don't actually lead to any sense of accountability in, or out of a courtroom. But the few cases that have, we've seen that there's strategy involved, things were filmed a certain way. They were stored a certain way. They were shared a certain way. And we really see ourselves in this interesting kind of connector space, where we work with the lawyers. We work with the journalists and we work with the activists on the ground.
[00:12:43] So we can be able to help those three groups of people communicate with each other better to make sure that this eyewitness footage is crucial footage, that sometimes people are. You know, risking their lives to document actually leads to impact. and you know, the main ways that we do that are by listening, learning, observing, and really figuring out what the gaps and the needs are and then creating resources and trainings as well.
[00:13:07]So for example, just through, you know, going to the protest, myself, talking to people, you know, being online, reading the news, opening myself up as a resource, checking my DMS, everything. I realized that what people are really looking for is advice around sharing. You know, what do you do after you've filmed a video who should you share it with?
[00:13:27] How can you protect protesters identities? What's the strategy to actually make sure that people see this and make some sort of impact. So two of the rapid response resources that we've created over the past couple of weeks in two different languages has been a guide. And it's just kind of a one page guide that you can even just pull out on your cell phone.
[00:13:47] And it just reminds you that before you share a video publicly to pause, take a breath and look through these eight questions before you actually post the video. We're never, you know, none of our advice is absolutist. We can't tell you what to do and what not to do, because it really depends, on every situation and on every person's personal.
[00:14:06] Risk profile and their life, but we really see our advice as harm reduction. You know, if you're gonna post, we can't stop you, but we want you to be thinking about how can you reduce harm and increase impact. we also created a really cool resource. It's kind of like a decision tree and it asks you for questions.
[00:14:25]you know, the first question is, Are you as the filmer worried about your identity? If you share this footage and if the answer is yes, then we advise you not to post without first taking a few steps to reduce harm, which we lay out. If the answer is no, then we take you to the next question. You know, are you worried about exposing anyone's identity in the video?
[00:14:47] If the answer is yes, then we take it to the reduced harm section. So it's just a way to get people to think through the more, the most important questions we should be considering for safety and security when we share videos. and to just pause and reflect and think there's some strategy. You know, unfortunately we know that FBI, Department of Homeland security police. They surveil protests. They do, they target protestors. We saw it in Ferguson. We're seeing it now. We've seen it in the past, even before there was video technology, you know, the Black Panther movement was surveilled. We don't need cell phones. You know, just to surveil people, surveillances as old as, as America,
[00:15:29] Karama: COINTELPRO'S entire
[00:15:31] Palika : Exactly!
[00:15:31] Karama: Existence was based on that, just that thing.
[00:15:34] Palika : And it's only gotten easier since we have cell phones and people are taking videos and photos, which make it easier to identify people. So I both have really excited that people are asking these questions around security that maybe didn't get asked six years ago and Ferguson. but I'm also eager and anxious to respond to those needs.
[00:15:54] And that's one of the main ways we've been doing it is to really make sure people have the resources and in there in the information to share videos, in an ethical way and in a strategic way.
[00:16:06] Karama: Well, I would love to go over a few of those ways. Yu named eight, we don't have to hit all eight, but if we can leave it at least five, that would be wonderful.
[00:16:14] Palika : Sure.
[00:16:14]Karama: One that I heard that surprised me. wasn't about video, it was about still images. If you're going to take a picture. Don't just post the picture straight to whatever social media platform, especially if you're worried about your own safety or something, take a screenshot of the picture and then post it. And I found that fascinating because it basically loses the tracking data, I guess?
[00:16:38] Palika : Right.
[00:16:39]Karama: What are some of the other tips that you were offered people in very specific situations?
[00:16:43] Palika : Sure. I mean, I have to, as a first step, just remind people to assess their safety. No footage is worth your safety.
[00:16:52]Sometimes whipping out your phone can escalate the situation. We're seeing how it's making protesters, who are filming the, become the target of police harassment and violence themselves during these protests. So just understand that your cell phone can change the dynamic of the interaction. So it's important to, you know, assess that before and also in the moment.
[00:17:11] And, you know, the risk to your safety really depends on your own identity, your background, your race, your gender, your ethnicity. I really see filming, especially filming at protest is something that white allies can especially, engage in, in a more safe and secure way. Not to say that they're not targeted themselves, but obviously, you know, their skin color does come with a set of privileges and advantages.
[00:17:32]Karama: I saw a video the other day where, when cops taught to fire on protestors, all the black and Brown protesters in the front moved all the white allies moved up and they, staff of them lowered their weapons.
[00:17:44] Palika : So yeah, it can be an amazing act of solidarity.
[00:17:48] Karama: And I'm not, I do not want to condone anybody listening to just start standing in front of weapons, but you know, safety first, but it is something that we have seen.
[00:17:57] Palika : Yeah, exactly. That's the thing when it comes to security, there's really no, no easy black or white solution here. You know, it's really about who you are.
[00:18:06] You have to think about your family, your community. I mean, You know, I I've been filming and I've documented, armies and, you know, military and police in different countries over the years. And there's still situations where I just don't feel comfortable filming as a young woman and a young woman of color.
[00:18:22] So it's really, it's really just about being aware of that. I think the second most important thing to realize is that. That you do have a right to film law enforcement in public spaces. It's part of your constitutional right. And you know, Federal Appeals Courts throughout the country have upheld this right.
[00:18:38] That being said, you know, we know that what your rights are and how they play out in the real world are not always aligned. So one thing to keep in mind is you can film law enforcement. You can't get arrested for filming, but you could get arrested for interfering with the arrest, which is how people often get, arrested. It's for "obstruction of justice"
[00:18:57]And it's completely at " discretion of the police officer. So it's best to keep some distance between you and the, and the incident. you know, just keeps kind of a healthy, this distance, even just an arms length distance away. And, you know, if the officer does tell you to back up. it really is best to comply with their orders.
[00:19:13] You can move a minimal amount, but, you know, it is better just to deescalate the situation, to comply with the orders. You know, you can, even as you're backing up, say out loud, I'm complying with orders, I'm taking five steps back." And you can even film your feet as you're backing up so that there's some sort of documented record, that you complied.
[00:19:31] And if the police tell you to stop filming, you can assert your right to film if you feel comfortable doing so. but you know, if you're scared, if you're worried about being retaliated against, it's okay to stop filming and stand there and bear witness instead.
[00:19:44] And if you do want to assert your rights, I know it sounds silly, but I really recommend practicing in the mirror before you go out into a protest situation, because sometimes it's just getting that your vocal chords to practice saying out loud to give you the confidence to say it in person.
[00:19:59] Karama: Yeah. And repeating it. I think it practicing and repeating. is an excellent, excellent idea.
[00:20:04] Palika : Yeah. another tip is you want to lock your phone with at least a six digit passcode, not just the touch ID or face ID or pattern lock.
[00:20:14] And the reason for this is because, you know, for the most part courts here in the United States have ruled that you have a Fifth Amendment constitutional right to not give up your cell phone passcode during a legal search. But that right. Whether or not, it currently applies to finger ID or face ID and pattern lock is a little bit murkier.
[00:20:33]and courts have ruled both ways. So for now it really is the safest to use at least a six digit passcode. We also have heard instances where a police officer just takes a person's finger and forces them to open their phone right. Or sticks it up to their face and, and, you know, forces it to open that way.
[00:20:51] So it really is safest to have some sort of a passcode on there
[00:20:54] Karama: I'm curious about that too. If you're protesting and you're arrested and they confiscate your things, even if you don't stay and you know, and even if they're overnight, they could be doing whatever with your phone.
[00:21:04]Palika : We actually saw that happen before that exact scenario in 2015, an activist named Keeanga Womba, what's driving home from work and she saw police officers kicking and harassing a man who they had handcuffed. And she pulled over her car across the street and she opened the window and she started to film.
[00:21:24] And her father was a police officer. She knew her rights. She knew she was able to film police officers. She was all the way across the street. She was nowhere near the interaction and the police officers saw her filming and this really upset them. And they came over to her car, told her to stop filming.
[00:21:40] She didn't stop filming. They opened the door. They dragged her, they pulled her to the ground. Her phone ended up falling out of her hands, but it was still recording the audio of the entire incident. And you could hear them saying some really horrible stuff to her because she had tried to assert her rights and tried to hold them accountable by documenting them.
[00:21:59]They ended up arresting her and she spent the night in jail for, you know, "obstruction of justice". And all of her stuff had been confiscated. And when she went to go get it in the morning, she grabbed her phone and immediately went to look for the recording, but the recording had been deleted. Of course it was then her word against the officer's word.
[00:22:20] But luckily she had like a teenage daughter who had backed up all of her footage to automatically back backup to the cloud. So her and her lawyer were able to still retrieve that video. And they used that video to get the charges dropped against her.
[00:22:37] Palika : Yeah. You could get your phone to back up to a service like Dropbox or Google Drive. That way even if something happens to it or you lose it or break it, you still have, you know, a layer of protection on your footage. You know, you just have to be aware though that backing up to a cloud, depending on the company, the company's policy could leave your data vulnerable to legal requests or subpoenas from the police.
[00:23:00]Karama: This is all extremely fascinating. is there a platform that you have found has been, really, an amazing resource for documenting things?
[00:23:12] Cause I know Twitter years ago started for this reason. It was for. People in the news to get information back and forth to each other quickly. But I feel like now there's so many different platforms. Is there one that you're seeing that is sharing information faster?
[00:23:29] Palika : Well, the one I use the most is Twitter.
[00:23:33] When it comes to kind of like rapid response news, unfolding protests, I mean, you have to make sure you're following the right accounts and vet that, information, but, you know, we're seeing so many, like even. Compilation videos and people collecting this, these videos on Twitter, and it's really an amazing place for documentation.
[00:23:52]it's not a platform necessarily, but I've really seen Signal be a great resource right now. Signal is a communication app, end to end encryption communication app. I'm sure that your audience is well aware of those. But what they might not be aware of as they recently released a tool that's free to use on Signal that makes it easy to blur people's faces on photos.
[00:24:13] So you can just upload a photo to Signal or take it using the signal app and then blur their faces. and my colleagues at, Witness have looked at this and tested it and it is supposed to be a very secure blur. That's hard to reverse. So that's a really great platform for images. And then I'm sure that folks have seen iImage Scrubber, the website popup, and they are an awesome resource.
[00:24:36]they're only for photos, not for videos, but not only do they help. Scrub or not only do they help blur photos really easily, but they also scrub or get rid of the metadata, which is that kind of tracking information that you were talking about so that, you know, you could share that on social media and feel more secure that, that, that footage is not going to be tied back to you
[00:24:57]Karama: Why is it important to sometimes blur people's faces at, especially at protests?
[00:25:04]Palika : We know for facts that FBI, police, Department of Homeland Security use video and photos and livestreams from protests to target and surveil people, and to " protesters. We know that this has happened even as recently as, you know, Ferguson, this happened with Standing Rock, this happened with Occupy Wall Street and it's happening now.
[00:25:27]it's how they find protesters who are doing, you know, "incriminating things" and they arrest them and they charge them. And so while we're at protests fighting for police accountability and exposing police violence, we want to use our cameras to hold police accountable, not to expose anyone from our own communities.
[00:25:46]And so it's important that while we're sharing this really important footage or even trying to build solidarity by sharing footage that we're keeping in mind that people's identities could be vulnerable, even if they're in a public space. And so a really easy way to help protect your fellow protestors and community members is to blur out or blackout faces.
[00:26:06]And it's important to remember that faces are not the only identifying features, you know, there's tattoos, t-shirts affiliations, things like that. So it's important to be. To really be thinking about a person's identity. And what are the different things that can help someone identify someone when you do blur footage?
[00:26:24] And then if you are concerned about your own identity as the person who filmed it, something that gets attached to all of your photos and videos is called metadata, and it's basically just. Data about your data, but some of the data that that includes is GPS coordinates that can track you to exactly where you were when you took that footage.
[00:26:45]so if you are concerned with your own personal safety, if you are high profile, high risk, and even if you're not a good practice is to try to get rid of that metadata. and like you mentioned earlier, really easy way to do that is to take a screenshot. It's not the most foolproof way. So if you are at high risk, there are better ways to do that.
[00:27:04] And I would, recommend consulting with the digital security expert, but at a very basic level, taking a screenshot, you know, making a recording of video recording on your phone of the video, or going to a site like, Image Scrubber could get rid of that metadata.
[00:27:21] That's amazing. and this is just invaluable information.
[00:27:24] Karama: Like there's so many links I'm going to be putting on the show notes. Cause this is just, this is very, very helpful.
[00:27:30] Palika : Oh good! I'm glad.
[00:27:31]Karama: You mentioned some things like when you're trying to protect people, you know, and protect members of your community, but can we flip that on its side and, and try and find a way to, if you're trying to take a picture or videotape somebody who is NOT helping the situation and is being harmful. is there a best way to take a picture? Is it like a closeup of a tattoo or a hand, or is it a wide shot of where you are? Like, is there a good way to take that picture?
[00:27:59]Palika : I think it's actually a combination of those things because you want to use a wide shot so that you can confirm the surroundings and the location.
[00:28:07]There's so much misinformation and fake news out there. We want our footage to have visual cues that verifies that we were where we said we were, when we said we were there. So it would be helpful to get a different, a few different types of shots.
[00:28:20] One would be a wide shot that really places the person in that location. and then maybe a medium shot or, or zoomed in shot that could help, share some more identifying details. You know, I generally tell people to try to record for at least 10 seconds before you move your camera away. I know this isn't always possible in the moment because things are really happening quickly, but you know, we work with a lot of lawyers and journalists and investigators, and they're looking for footage like this and the main issue they always tell us over and over again, is that they couldn't use the footage because it was too shaky, you know, or they couldn't see the full screen. And so, you know, another helpful tip is to think about, do I want to film this horizontally or vertically? You know, if you're trying to get the full scene of a protest, it might make more sense to film it horizontally.
[00:29:08] So you just capture more information in the screen, but you know, if you're filming a burning building, for example, it probably makes more sense to film vertically. So you can actually show the full building. And then another useful tip is, is to, is to just not stop and start. Filming continuously, even if, you know, parts of it seem boring or like there's no action that you're filming, is really the best way to do it because this can also fight against claims that your footage is manipulated,
[00:29:37]Karama: That it's been edited or...
[00:29:38] Palika : Exactly
[00:29:38] Karama: things have been cut in.
[00:29:39] Palika : But yeah, you generally, you know, you wanna, you want to tell a story with your footage. You want to ask yourself if I wasn't here, what would I need to film in order for people to understand what was happening? So that's really like. The who? So that's, you know, identifying details. The where? So like street signs, landmarks, buildings. You know, those wide shots that place the person in that space. The, what, you know, what actually happened if it's possible to film in the moment, you know, those are really, really crucial details to film, to film.
[00:30:12] Karama: Awesome. And sort of my last question, what, once you do have this footage, whatever it is, and I'm not just talking about police brutality, maybe you documented something, like you said, like a building, you know, burning building or something like that.
[00:30:26]Because people also witness things and then are, contacted by news outlets and stuff like that out. What's the best way to catalog this footage?
[00:30:35]Palika : The best thing to do is, is to remember that if you're going to make any edits to your video, you know, including even changing the title name, you know, we often will change the title of, you know, our, our footage to men to. To indicate the time and date and location, but when it comes to filming something, that's some sort of abuse or that could potentially be used as evidence.
[00:30:59] We actually recommend that you don't make any edits to it at all. If you're going to edit, you should edit from a copy.
[00:31:05] Karama: Even the name? Don't even change the filesname?
[00:31:08] Palika : Even the name
[00:31:08] just because if it is, if it does have the potential to be used as evidence in a legal proceeding, changing things like the date and time and anything, even just the, the name of the file could hurt its chances of being able to be used.
[00:31:22] So if you are going to blur faces or add in date time or slow things down or make any cuts, I just recommend doing it from a copy so that you have at least one. Unedited copy saved and secure, and preferably even backed up to one other space.
[00:31:38] Karama: Well, thank you so much. This been like an amazing, like yeah, you need to teach classes. You probably already do, but, this information that you mentioned, the decision tree and things like that, where can people find that? Is that all over on Witness?
[00:31:53]Palika : So all of this can be found under our filming, the police, filming police violence in the United States project page, which I'll send over to you.
[00:32:02] It has resources, tip sheets, case studies, blog posts, everything you need, in multiple languages on this page.
[00:32:11] Karama: That's amazing. And where can we like find you and follow you too? Cause you said you're on Twitter.
[00:32:19] And if there's anybody else out there or groups out there that want to basically contact, Wtness and say, listen, we ha we are an organization that is trying to make a teach all of our members, how to do these things more properly. Is there a way that they can contact, witness that way as well?
[00:32:38] Palika : Yes. So you can reach out to me on Twitter. It's my handle is @palimakam. I'm also active on Instagram. I share a lot of information there and my handle is Polly pocket. For all you nineties kids. It's @palipocket.
[00:33:00]But if you are interested in just reaching out to Witness generally, we have a contact page through the website that you can reach out to and, you'll get directed to the right person.
[00:33:09] Karama: Awesome. Thank you so much for taking time to talk to me because this is invaluable information. And I know you've been really, really, really busy these days. But I appreciate it. I know my listeners really appreciate it and we really, this is information that we need because it's all going to help us.
[00:33:27] And I think there's a lot of people out there that feel a little bit helpless right now. but this is something that everybody can do. And this is information that everybody can hold on to. Thank you again.
[00:33:37] Thank you so much.
[00:33:39]That's a lot. Right. I've put all the links of what we were discussing in the show notes. And I am happy to say that this episode has been fully transcribed. Are hearing impaired brothers and sisters really need this information as much as we do. So please share. Uh, transcriptions or something that I hope will be a regular occurrence here at the blur girl podcast, but I'm going to need your support at dot com slash the blur.
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[00:34:28] See you next time.