Project

Project

The Fallback Project

The Fallback Project

Graduate Project

Role: Designer & Prototyper
Year: 2019

Graduate Project

Role: Designer & Prototyper
Year: 2019

Intro

Intro

Alternative Platform For Real-time News During Internet Shutdowns

Accessing to information is a primary human right. Internet Shutdowns have become one of the defining tools of government repression and information control in the 21st century. They directly infringe the right of access to information which often exacerbates and hides grave human rights violations. Authoritarian regimes have realized that this rudimentary and crude technique is an efficient way to suppress people within a region and even an entire nation.

Accessing to information is a primary human right. Internet Shutdowns have become one of the defining tools of government repression and information control in the 21st century. They directly infringe the right of access to information which often exacerbates and hides grave human rights violations. Authoritarian regimes have realized that this rudimentary and crude technique is an efficient way to suppress people within a region and even an entire nation.

Overall view of Fallback System

Overall view of Fallback System

“Fallback is an alternative platform providing access to information during times of internet shutdown. Fallback employs alternative technologies for social good and brings normalcy in accessing information. Fallback provides a backup right when it is needed.”

“Fallback is an alternative platform providing access to information during times of internet shutdown. Fallback employs alternative technologies for social good and brings normalcy in accessing information. Fallback provides a backup right when it is needed.”

The Internet Shutdown Prediction

The Internet Shutdown Prediction

It will be done by evaluating several metrics such as the frequency which certain keywords appear in different online platforms. We were able to verify the existence of a rising pattern of these keyword hits during past Internet shutdowns. We constantly monitor the probability of Internet shutdowns worldwide. We selected and created both qualitative and quantitative metrics to prove the possibility of predicting an Internet shutdown within a reasonable time frame to deploy pre-emptive action.

It will be done by evaluating several metrics such as the frequency which certain keywords appear in different online platforms. We were able to verify the existence of a rising pattern of these keyword hits during past Internet shutdowns. We constantly monitor the probability of Internet shutdowns worldwide. We selected and created both qualitative and quantitative metrics to prove the possibility of predicting an Internet shutdown within a reasonable time frame to deploy pre-emptive action.

The Portal

The Portal

Upon a high-risk prediction, we scrape headlines and articles from news platforms pre-customized by the user, encrypt it, and send it over satellite to the Fallback Portal devices. Portal receives data over satellite, decrypts it with a private key, formats it into news articles to fit our Fallback UI. We not only designed Portal to be aesthetically non-threatening, functionally minimal and robust for unknown environmental conditions, but, we also designed Portal to be device and software independent. A user can use any wifi enabled device they can get their hands on or borrow to access the data received by the Portal, without the need for a pre-downloaded software or app while still maintaining anonymity since no data gets stored locally. Once connected to the hotspot provided by Portal the UI pops up on the chosen and available device regardless of its operating system or pre-existing software or apps. The simple UI interaction aims to maintain some normalcy in the experience of browsing online news. The transmission continues until the Internet shutdown is over or the risk levels decrease.

Upon a high-risk prediction, we scrape headlines and articles from news platforms pre-customized by the user, encrypt it, and send it over satellite to the Fallback Portal devices. Portal receives data over satellite, decrypts it with a private key, formats it into news articles to fit our Fallback UI. We not only designed Portal to be aesthetically non-threatening, functionally minimal and robust for unknown environmental conditions, but, we also designed Portal to be device and software independent. A user can use any wifi enabled device they can get their hands on or borrow to access the data received by the Portal, without the need for a pre-downloaded software or app while still maintaining anonymity since no data gets stored locally. Once connected to the hotspot provided by Portal the UI pops up on the chosen and available device regardless of its operating system or pre-existing software or apps. The simple UI interaction aims to maintain some normalcy in the experience of browsing online news. The transmission continues until the Internet shutdown is over or the risk levels decrease.

Objective

Objective

An internet shutdown is an intentional disruption of internet or electronic communications, rendering them inaccessible or a specific population, often to exert control over the flow of information. Internet Shutdowns directly infringe the human right of access to information which often exacerbates and hides grave human rights violations.

The mission of Fallback is to build empathy, increase global visibility and provoke action on Internet Shutdowns worldwide. Fallback builds a robust system for information accessibility in uncertain times. Fallback brings the power of insights generated from analysis of specific quantitative and qualitative metrics to generate an Internet shutdown forecast. These forecasts trigger our transmission service to our users in a seamless way, allowing them to adapt to changing situations effortlessly and empowering them with their own choices of sources of news.

Ultimately, we hope to target Fallback for leading NGOs and nonprofits that have a large network of field staff around the world and in high-risk nations who play an imperative role in supporting their communities and in defending human rights. Through our market research and the interviews we conducted, there are strong indicators that NGOs and Nonprofits are increasingly aware of the importance of investing in technology as a mission enabler for both field staff and fundraising activities and they are investing bigger portions of their core budgets on technology and technology training.

An internet shutdown is an intentional disruption of internet or electronic communications, rendering them inaccessible or a specific population, often to exert control over the flow of information. Internet Shutdowns directly infringe the human right of access to information which often exacerbates and hides grave human rights violations.

The mission of Fallback is to build empathy, increase global visibility and provoke action on Internet Shutdowns worldwide. Fallback builds a robust system for information accessibility in uncertain times. Fallback brings the power of insights generated from analysis of specific quantitative and qualitative metrics to generate an Internet shutdown forecast. These forecasts trigger our transmission service to our users in a seamless way, allowing them to adapt to changing situations effortlessly and empowering them with their own choices of sources of news.

Ultimately, we hope to target Fallback for leading NGOs and nonprofits that have a large network of field staff around the world and in high-risk nations who play an imperative role in supporting their communities and in defending human rights. Through our market research and the interviews we conducted, there are strong indicators that NGOs and Nonprofits are increasingly aware of the importance of investing in technology as a mission enabler for both field staff and fundraising activities and they are investing bigger portions of their core budgets on technology and technology training.

The Fallback Manifesto

The Fallback Manifesto

Fallback considers access to information to be the epitome of freedom in our time, shaping the way we learn, think and act.

  1. Fallback seeks to build empathy, increase global visibility and provoke action on Internet Shutdowns worldwide.

  2. Fallback considers the internet to be both a promise and a threat. The greater the dependence on the internet the greater the need for resilience in its absence.

  3. Fallback believes that by building robust systems of preparation and pattern recognition you gain the power to alter the course of history and reverse the inevitable.

  4. Fallback believes that with every Internet Shutdown the agency of individuals is challenged. A society cannot prosper under threats of isolation.

  5. Fallback recognizes that an information siege is the most powerful form of contemporary control and repression.

  6. Fallback fights back on ignorance and seeks to break open these echo chambers and time-capsules of internet shutdowns.


Credits: Khulood Alawadi, Yi-fan Hsieh, Bahareh Saboktakin and Qifan Zhao. We’ll talk more about our design journey of this project. Stay tuned!

Fallback considers access to information to be the epitome of freedom in our time, shaping the way we learn, think and act.

  1. Fallback seeks to build empathy, increase global visibility and provoke action on Internet Shutdowns worldwide.

  2. Fallback considers the internet to be both a promise and a threat. The greater the dependence on the internet the greater the need for resilience in its absence.

  3. Fallback believes that by building robust systems of preparation and pattern recognition you gain the power to alter the course of history and reverse the inevitable.

  4. Fallback believes that with every Internet Shutdown the agency of individuals is challenged. A society cannot prosper under threats of isolation.

  5. Fallback recognizes that an information siege is the most powerful form of contemporary control and repression.

  6. Fallback fights back on ignorance and seeks to break open these echo chambers and time-capsules of internet shutdowns.


Credits: Khulood Alawadi, Yi-fan Hsieh, Bahareh Saboktakin and Qifan Zhao. We’ll talk more about our design journey of this project. Stay tuned!