ACLU + The Guardian Project Update

Last week we had a mini hackathon to get work done on our project — you can check out our code on Github at  As the last post mentioned, the hackathon was really successful and we got a lot of work done, all being in the same place at the same time.  Since then, we have been working to make the application more feature complete.  We have also connected with Alvaro from Neo and will be working with him to flesh out the UI/UX components of the application.  I am meeting with Alvaro today and will update based on what we discuss.  Finally, I will be working on the case study today and tonight.

Update on help from Neo:  Alvaro is working on UI wireframes and once we finalize these he will begin higher fidelity mockups and views.

UYC update #9

In-class Presentation
Suggestions of Twilio and Crowdmap
May use part of budget to create upgrade to full Twilio account to create working prototype
We have decided that Twilio will likely work best for our needs, since it allows UYC to have more direct control over getting students to respond. Also, we deemed it not essential to have picture data, because the chances of a student snapping a photo of police abuse in school is not very likely.
Potential workshop with UYC students – waiting to hear from Maria on possible date, as well as the types of questions she wants asked in the Twilio app.
Met with Neo on Monday. Jaime is currently building the back end of the texting platform via Ruby on Rails, and will keep us updated via Currently he estimates the prototype should be completed sometime next week, but will give a better estimate at the end of this week.
Next steps: Design the questions and consult with student group & user test the twilio platform.


Posted in UYC

EFF: Project Update #9

This week, we met with Alvaro from Neo and continued to work on graphics and tools to accompany the SSD content.

We asked Alvaro to help us build a Drupal theme based on our wireframes into which we will dump our content. We went over the wireframes that we put up last week and generalized them to specify a more structural layout that he will be able to work with (view here), the structural layout is below the original mockup). He will be providing us with an update by Wednesday, and he hopes to have the completed theme done by next week.

We have a few more completed graphics, and we are still working on more graphics as well as an interactive threat model flowchart tool.

Posted in EFF

ACLU + The Guardian Project Case Study and Hackathon

We’re hacking away on the application, copy, and text right now!!

Case study:

Apologies for the brevity, will update later with more info but hacking away!!

== Update ==

Today we had a day-long, team hackathon with help from people outside the team too!  It was a lot of fun and very successful.  We were able to get a lot going with our application and have a basic version running for Android devices.  Seen below is the landing page for our application where the user can take actions to get more information (“ABOUT”), or scan the surrounding cell towers (“SCAN”).  The about action will take the user to another screen showing background information on the problem (“What is Spidey”, “What are IMSI-catchers”, “Why be concerned?”, etc.).  The scan action will actually scan and persist cell tower information.

Spidey landing page

Landing page for the Spidey application. Scan button in upper right will scan and persist cell towers. About button brings up additional information on the application and problem at hand (IMSI-catchers, Stingray devices).


With the initial version of our application running, we have a better idea on how to build out more features and are constantly coming up with new ideas.  We’re focusing on building out very clean scanning information for comparison and storage that will allow for us to do more with the data.  In addition to the application we’re working on copy for our promo website and the Google play store.

Tor/Transition House: Project Update

We continued our work on IPVTech Research Portal, a tool designed for advocates to help them find related cases of Intimate Partner Violence via technology.

We evaluated our previous iteration and made some modifications. We took into account issues such as privacy and potential legal caveats; we tried to define categories for cases; we explored more sources of information and considering include court decisions into our datasets.

We revisited how our product is integrated into the advocates’ workflow. We decided and drafted some mini infographics describing the new workflow, which will serve as our introductory material.

Besides, we started to work on our case study.

Some screenshots (see case study for more):
codesign 21-1

codesign 22-2

UYC Blogpost #8!

Our group met this past Thursday to talk to Maria from UYC concerning our second iteration.   Bex was able to join into our Google hangout in order to answer any  questions Maria may have had concerning Vojo that we may not have been able to answers. Maria was largely concerned that the Vojo approach would produce just another website for UYC to manage and that Vojo would not be as appealing or accessible via mobile phone as opposed to an app.
During our meeting, we all submitted quick sms messages to our Vojo test page. Maria expressed to us that she would rather the Vojo stories site be kept closed, and we were also concerned about how to incorporate the “survey” aspect of our project into our third project iteration. Bex suggested a number of other media projects and platforms for us to look into, such as mobilecommons. We were recommended to research the success of apps like the NYCLU Stop and Frisk App and to look into mobile survey tools.
We have not been able to meet with Neo yet, but we hope to soon. We would like to see if it’s possible to create a lightweight app that could package Vojo, perhaps with a screen explaining how to send in a story, a screen explaining student rights, and a screen explaining how to get involved with UYC.
This upcoming Wednesday we will be leading the class discussion and presentation. Maria will be presenting on the history of the school-to-prison pipeline, as well as explain more about Urban Youth Collaborative as an organization. We will be leading a class workshop where we aim to have classmates discuss how to make Vojo suit our needs and perhaps ways to convey the stories once we’ve received them.
Posted in UYC

Team CURE: Prototypes + Design Development!

This past week, Team CURE made substantial headway with prototyping our project. While we are still working on finding a way to get a working prototype off the ground (neither Miho nor I are very adept at website design — hopefully we will get some help from NEO soon!), we have been trying to work through the graphic language + user experience of our project by creating mock up boards.

The website is meant to be a visual subversion of the existing red dot sex offender registry map. Instead of seeing registrant information when you click on the dots, you get super useful information from CURE about why the registry might be more damaging than productive. We anticipate that one of the main problems that we will be encountering going forward is the management of all of our dots (the multimedia content embedded in the site). As of now, we want the dots to have…. embedded video, essays, research pieces, facts, personal narratives, news articles and links to organizations. Depending on which dot you click, you will get a tiny morsel of information. The more you click the more you know!

Based on the feedback that we got from CURE, we will be working to make the graphic language less cute and more serious so expect a few more iterations of this shortly!

Website Draft_041414

Website Draft_041414 (1)Website Draft_041414 (2)Website Draft_041414 (3)Website Draft_041414 (4)

EFF: Update #8

This week we made some more prototypes and worked on the case study – now that we have another iteration of the website, we’re hoping that someone at Neo can make us a Drupal template into which we could send all of the information. Up next – hopefully we’ll be meeting with someone at Neo soon, and since Jillian sent us a few more final versions of the text, we’ll be making some more animations.

Case Study
Click below the cut for prototypes

Continue reading

Posted in EFF

SoMove Update #6

(Update from Apr 19)

Comments of the Class Review of our Project Update:

The class brought up many important points during our discussion after our presentation.  Our designs are still at an early stage, as we are still working through the main goal of our project and figuring out what the final product will be – whether it is a place for the community to share their infiltration stories or is it a place for SoMove to control and post stories they feel should be broadcast?  (We are hoping to end with a good combination of both.)

Here are some main points that were brought up during class, as well as our take on them and how we will think about these points in the future:

  • What is infiltration?  This is important to define on the website – if people new to this topic visit our site, we want to make sure that when they leave, they’ll know exactly what it is and how it is defined, and hopefully even be able to cite a few of the stories we share.
  • Concerns about crowd-sourcing the stories:  We are heavily considering a section of the website for people to submit their own stories of infiltration.  The current plan is to allow people to submit stories, and then have a moderator sift through these stories to see if there are any in particular that we want to delve into more.  If there is a particular story we want more information on, SoMove might even fly the submitter in and create a sort of mini-documentary or audio file interview or something that will VISUALLY be put on the website in liu of that story that was submitted.
  • SoMove has a strength, which is recording and producing oral histories (audio & video). There is concern that focusing on crowd sourced content won’t play to this strength enough:  We do not want all the stories on the site to be text based, because SoMove is an ORAL HISTORY focused organization – they thrive off of audio and visual formats, not text!  We want to adhere to that philosophy and provide them a platform where they can add their video or audio files, as well as attach relevant text files or pdfs for viewers to access.

Tor/Transition House: Project Update

During this week, we scraped the data from Cambridge police logs. We’ve got roughly 3600 lines of data of police reports. We’ve found that some of them are relevant to our research. (e.g. search with keywords like “computer” or “hacking”) There are also other interesting findings, such as police refer “domestic violence (DV)” to “domestic dispute”, which may provide some insight to workers in DV field.

We started to design the user interface for a database. Advocates can use this database to explore the uncharted sea of domestic surveillance. The database allow advocates and general public search among vast of police logs, which was unfriendly to researchers in the past. The database will also allow advocates and domestic violence shelter staff comment on logged cases, tag on cases to summarize device and technology uses, and submit new cases. This tool will be included in IPVTech, a resource center for people who want to eliminate intimate partner violence or abuse through technology.

The next step is to choose the proper web technology and build the interface out. We also contacted some interviewees and tried to reach out Cambridge Police. So interviews are also included in our schedule.