Women in India will be able to report sexual assault, seek medical or legal help in an anonymous manner and to create private journals for their survivors using a mobile app that will be released next week.
Noopur Tiwari, co-founder of the app, said that the Smashboard app uses blockchain to create an encrypted space where the victims of sex offenses can store notes, photos, scrans, papers, videos and audio as journal and/or time-stamped proof.
The app also hopes to establish “feminists fighting patriarchy” online and provide survivors with access to doctors, lawyers , journalists and experts in mental health. Tiwari told the Thomsone Reuters Foundation in a phone interview prior to the official launch on Jan 15 after two months of testing. “I know from my own experience that the survivors have become very secluded and very few know what to do. “Our systems infantilicate the survivors very much and they don’t get any agency and often get rid of them. Many don’t find any help at all.
India has toped a list of the most dangerous women’s nations with more than 32,500 rape cases reported by police in 2017 , approximately 90 a day, according to the latest government information in a 2018 survey from the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The Indian media are frequently plagued by violent rape and threats on survivors who pursue justice. In addition , women are also prevented from reporting sex crimes by stigma and legal delay, human rights activists said.
In the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Telangana, police officers have launched their own mobile apps to protect women from attack, which promise immediate help by hitting the SOS button.
Women’s campaigners for data privacy have expressed concern that these apps may risk challenging or exposing survivors to public access if confidential information is leaked.
Sherin Bosko, a charitable co-founder of Nakshatra which runs a rape crisis center in Tamil Nadu ‘s capital, Chennai, said that “I ‘d be inherently skeptical of such technology because of the high risk of data misuse.”The data collected on these platforms are in the wrong hands and can assail, intimidate and further stigmatize survivors. The platform’s integrity is highly critical.
Tiwari said that Smashboard never collects data for any other reason, does not monitor the location of users or restricts the number of accounts a person may have and enables pseudo-anonymity, so only site administrators may access user-related details. “We believe the less personal information that we have about someone, the less hassle to store it and the less fear to be hacked and lose it,” Tiwari said.