Q. What is Reporta?
A. Reporta is the only comprehensive personal security app available worldwide created specifically for journalists.
Journalists around the world face increasingly hostile environments. The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) designed Reporta to empower journalists working in potentially dangerous conditions to quickly implement their security protocols with the touch of a button. This free app was created in consultation with journalists and global security experts. The app is available on iPhone and Android devices in English, Arabic, French, Hebrew, Spanish, and Turkish.
Q. How does Reporta work?
A. While it’s not a replacement for security training, Reporta provides three essential features that can help keep you more secure when you are entering potentially dangerous environments:
CHECK-IN: Reporta provides an automated and customizable Check-in system for when you’re meeting with sources or covering events such as protests that could quickly turn unstable. With just a few easy taps of the screen, you can provide your general location, select how often you’ll Check-in and designate which contacts you want to notify if you need assistance. You can also choose to add multimedia files such as photos, audio or video. If you miss a Check-in, Reporta will send a reminder to you before notifying designated contacts and locking.
ALERTS: Reporta allows you to send Alerts—including attachments of photos, audio or video—when you feel your safety or that of a colleague’s may be at risk. This allows you to record anyone suspicious who may be watching or following you and provide your contacts with invaluable information should anything happen.
SOS: Reporta provides an SOS feature that allows you to immediately alert designated contacts with the touch of a button when you’re at immediate risk. Once an SOS is sent, the app locks completely to prevent unwanted access.
The app can include your location in all the notifications that it sends by using your phone’s geolocation capability if you choose to enable that feature. If you’d rather not let Reporta access your location data automatically, you can also add a location manually.
Q. What are Contact Circles within the app?
A. The heart of Reporta is the ability to easily contact the people who care about your safety. You can categorize your contacts into three distinct Circles: Private, Public and Social. To use Reporta, only a Private Circle is required.
PRIVATE CIRCLE: Your Private Circle is the group of contacts with whom you are closest and who will take action on your behalf if needed. These contacts are usually your closest associates, family members or colleagues, such as your editor, partner or a sibling. If you are adding individuals to this Circle, you should provide them with instructions, preferably written, about what to do if alerted by Reporta. You will want these contacts to know what to do if you have missed a Check-in, sent an Alert or activated an SOS. You may create more than one Private Circle, but only one Private Circle can be active at any given time.
PUBLIC CIRCLE: Your Public Circle is a group of individuals or organizations that may be interested in your security. This may include journalism associations, unions or media organizations. You may create more than one Public Circle, but only one Public Circle can be active at any given time. Creating a Public Circle is not required to use Reporta.
SOCIAL CIRCLE: You can connect Reporta to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Please note, anything you post to social media through Reporta can be seen by others. Creating a Social Circle is not required to use Reporta.
Q. What is an App-Unlock Contact?
A. To use Reporta, you must designate at least one contact in your Private Circle to serve as your App-Unlock contact. App-Unlock contacts will receive a link to a verification code required to unlock the app if you miss a Check-in or activate an SOS. You may add as many App-Unlock contacts as you wish. Once locked, you will not be able to access Reporta on your phone until you have the App-Unlock code. There is no other way to unlock the app.
Q. How many contacts can I include in my Circles, and can I have multiple Circles?
A. There is no limit to the number of contacts you designate in any Circle. In fact, you can create more than one Private Circle, but only one Private Circle can be active at any given time. You may choose to create different Private Circles based on the story you are covering or where you are working. For your convenience, Reporta will ask you if you want to update your Circles when you travel 150 kilometers or more from the last place you used the app.
Q. If I issue an Alert through Reporta, who will receive it?
A. You decide who you want to receive Alerts and enter these individuals as your Private or Public Circle contacts. You should provide instructions, preferably written, to those individuals in your Private Circle before you schedule any Check-ins or activate an Alert or an SOS. Should you miss a Check-in, send an Alert or activate an SOS, your designated Private Circle contacts will receive the message and take action depending on what you have previously arranged with them.
Q. Does Reporta contact the authorities on my behalf if I miss a Check-in, send an Alert, or activate an SOS?
A. Reporta does not alert any authorities on your behalf. As a Reporta user, you are in complete control of the notification process.
Q. What are the minimum technical requirements to use Reporta
A. Versions of Reporta are available for both Android phones and Apple iPhones. You need to be running iOS version 8.0 or higher on your iPhone or Android version 4.0.3 to use the app. In addition, you must have Internet access to use Reporta—either through your carrier’s mobile service or via a wifi connection.
Q. How secure is Reporta?
A. Reporta has robust data security features including strong user password requirements, data encryption during transmission and storage of information, and a 2-step authentication for admin and server access. As an added layer of security, the app shuts down when a user sends an SOS or fails to Check-in after 2 prompts. Until the journalist enters an “App-Unlock” code sent to a pre-selected contact, the app and any data it contains cannot be accessed.
Q. Why can’t I upload multimedia from my phone’s media library?
A. Reporta uses the highest security measures available to protect the data within the app and helps prevent privacy breaches of your personal information. This includes prohibiting access to multimedia on Reporta should anything happen. The only way to share multimedia files through Reporta is to create the files in the app.
Q. Can I use Reporta if I don’t have consistent voice and data coverage?
A. Reporta will only work if your phone can connect to the Internet via your mobile provider’s data service or a wifi connection. If you don’t have consistent connectivity, you risk becoming disconnected and the app may send a false alarm.
Q. What should I do if I encounter a technical problem with Reporta?
A. If you have any inquiries or questions about Reporta, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any technical issues, please send an email to email@example.com.
Q. Where can I get more information about hostile environments and first aid training for journalists?
A. You may get more information on hostile environments and first aid training (HEFAT) through various security organizations. We recommend reviewing journalist-specific safety training resources at Rory Peck Trust: https://rorypecktrust.org/resources/safety-and-security/safety-training.