Online tool Montage helps piece together evidence of war atrocities, and to disseminate information that can help understand them, and stop them from reoccurring.
Montage is one of the many brain-children of Jigsaw, an incubator (part of the Google family) that builds technology to solve some of the toughest global security challenges of the day. From violent extremism to online censorship, from online radicalisation and propaganda to online hate and harassment, the team behind Jigsaw uses technology and collaboration to do its bit to counter these complex issues, and to ultimately help make the world a safer place.
Open-source technology Montage is Jigsaw’s contribution to those researching issues such as violent conflicts or organised crime, and wanting to bring perpetrators to justice. The online platform helps journalists and anyone investigating war crimes for example, to sort through hundreds of hours of YouTube video footage, and to essentially spend their time analysing evidence, rather than collecting it.
Indeed, given the current rate at which crowdsourced content is uploaded onto online platforms, researchers on the look out for information from conflict zones face an enormous amount of data to sift through. Montage gives them the tools to work in teams to analyse and tag online video content, and to find the all-important detail to help bring transparency and justice to the people affected.
Montage is an open-source technology and the fruit of an ongoing crowdsourcing collaboration between engineers, scientists, researchers, designers and policy experts. Users need to have a Gmail account to be able to use the platform.
Having signed in to the platform using my Gmail account, I admit however that I found myself a little lost, as the platform is rather bare, with no search functions and no instructions. The only possible action is to create an own project, uploading an own image/video content and tagging it. No other functions, such as search for content, for geographical area etc, are visible at this stage, but it may well be that as the first project is uploaded, added functions become available. The tool is currently still in beta, so obviously a work in progress.
If you’d like to have a go yourself, or to get the source code, click here.