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Sidekik: A Blockchain Backed App that Intends To End Police Brutality

Op-ed - Sidekik: A Blockchain Backed App that Intends To End Police Brutality

The Sidekik app, which is accepting bitcoin in its crowdfunding campaign, is intended to bring real-time accountability to law enforcement by streaming video and audio of encounters with police to Maidsafe.

The goal is to protect the integrity of evidence.

The app, which began its second stage of crowdfunding March 9, will do far more than just video and audio streaming. An army of attorneys is being built who will compete to be your representative if you happen to need them during an encounter with police. Sidekik seeks to connect attorneys with potential clients when they need legal representation the most.

The Sidekik team says there is an inherent power imbalance between law enforcement and civilians during these encounters, as “the vast majority of people do not know their rights well enough and tend to crumble under the pressure.”

Essential evidence also tends to be scarce, too often turning court testimony into a your-word-against-mine scenarios, which the Sidekik team believes tilts the balance of justice in favor of law enforcement.

The app is designed to gather as much relevant information as possible, including GPS location, audio and video, while calling licensed attorneys via video to deal with the encounter lawfully.

Concerns about data storage lead Martin to Maidsafe, a decentralized storage company currently in closed beta.

The value of decentralized storage

During an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Martin expounded on the need for secure cloud storage of this sensitive information and the company’s relationship with Maidsafe.

“The concern is totally valid about having data centralized, any data,” Martin said. “It’s not just about being able to store video and making it so that whatever entity cannot hack into one server and destroy that video. It’s about a lot more than that; it is about contact lists, it’s about people’s confidential information.

“People get notices all the time from different companies that they do business with, such as credit card companies or maybe their schools, saying ‘Hey our servers got hacked, your Social Security number, your birth date, your name, someone has it,'” he said. “With Maidsafe that really is a thing of the past, there’s no more hacking that one server and grabbing all that data.”

Martin said he met Page Peterson of Maidsafe at Libertopia in San Diego last November and had his CTO Jessie Wallace talk to her about how Sidekik could use Maidsafe for the massive amounts of data that will be coming from the app.

“We’ll be storing the data on multiple secure servers, but those are centralized,” Martin said. “So we are also going to be working with Maidsafe … This is a perfect merger with them in terms of features. This way, there will not be one single place where the powers-that-be can go to and say ‘We don’t want that video released to the public.’”

What if the officer takes the phone?

The Sidekik app can also be configured to require a pin from both the user and the attorney to stop the phone from recording and streaming data once it has started.

Even if the officer takes and destroys the phone, Sidekik believes enough evidence would be gathered and stored in the cloud to show the nature of the encounter in court.

Stage of development

The first phase of funding ended late last year, enabling the development of the graphic user interface of the app, as well as feasibility studies and a blueprint of the full development of the complex software app.

Phase two, which would be funding the full development of the app, began earlier this month, and a variety of perks are available for crowdfunding supporters at Indiegogo. Those who contribute with bitcoin receive the same rewards for a contribution of 10 percent less.

To develop the app, Sidekik is working with Zco, one of the largest app development companies in the world.