FFDW and Guardian Project Team Up to Bring Decentralized Storage to Content Verification and Distribution on Smartphones

Leveraging the Dweb to Enhance Free Speech bannner

Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web (FFDW) is proud to announce our award to Guardian Project, to support their efforts to integrate decentralized storage into their free and open-source solutions for distribution, authentication, and preservation of essential multimedia and software. Guardian Project is a global collective that develops privacy-focused mobile apps and free licensed, open-source software libraries that can be used by anyone looking to protect data and communications from unjust intrusion, interception, and monitoring. The Decentralizing Veracity and Distribution (DVD) project will focus on preserving content and expanding access for the human rights defenders, frontline journalists, and everyday activists that Guardian Project has sought to empower for over a decade.

"Many aspects of our modern smartphone-driven lives are in the hands of giant internet platforms that practically mandate centralized services for downloading apps and sharing photos. While they claim security and safety as their motivation, the underlying goal is more often control and monetization, and not preservation or privacy,” said Nathan Freitas, founder of Guardian Project. “A decentralized web – a web that’s in the hands of many – paves the way for a world where people can have greater trust in where they store their data and more open access to the applications they need. Our work with FFDW to implement decentralized storage in our apps and code libraries will bring real value to millions of real people around the world.”

The DVD project will be divided into two initial pillars. First, it will build on ProofMode, a system that enables authentication and verification of multimedia content captured on smartphones, that was co-designed with WITNESS, the human rights organization who pioneered work with video for justice. Using enhanced sensor-derived metadata, hardware fingerprinting, cryptographic signing, and integration with third-party notaries, ProofMode establishes a chain-of-custody and extra layer of “proof” metadata that establishes the authenticity of content while maintaining privacy of the source and subjects. This project will incorporate decentralized storage and communication technology into ProofMode, making the capability available in its own apps on Android and iOS, and to third-party applications that want to incorporate the capability.

The funding will also support expanded collaboration with human rights defenders and journalists, as well as partners like WITNESS, Open Archive, Starling Labs, and others, to provide education on ProofMode’s approach to veracity and authentication through the decentralized web and how it can benefit their work, causes, and communities. “We believe in a future where every camera will have a ‘proof mode,’ and we can all more readily trust what we see, without reducing our privacy,” said Carrie Winfrey, Design Lead at Guardian Project.

Second, DVD will accelerate the adoption of decentralized storage technology for F-Droid, the leading free and open-source app publishing platform. F-Droid has been a key part of Guardian Project’s goal to ensure people have access to the apps they need, even during humanitarian and human rights crises where internet access is often limited. The work that FFDW is funding builds upon previous work in “nearby app sharing” supported by Mozilla, the National Science Foundation, and Open Technology Fund. “The rise of smartphones, where the market is largely dominated by two companies, has exacerbated the issue of who has the right to choose what software is allowed to be installed and where you can download it,” says Hans-Christoph Steiner, Distributed Lead at Guardian Project. “By adding decentralized storage and access to F-Droid, we will make the app ecosystem both less fragile and more free.”

“Our mission is to permanently preserve humanity’s most important information,”

said Marta Belcher, board chair of the Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web.

“We are proud to support Guardian Project’s work to preserve critical human rights data and empower greater access to applications using the decentralized web.”

Learn more about FFDW award programs here!