Tag Archives: ustream

What I Learned From Streaming Protests and Uprisings

I’ve always been a huge fan of technology. I’ve been fortunate enough to have semi regular access (regular now) to the internet since 1996. I remember the days when yahoo messenger, and aol gave us our first video chats, with friends, family, and those we never met.

Years ago I hosted an internet show on a site called Stickam, which I could pull other users video feeds in and have a live talk show with guests. It was mildly popular, and included a few guests of infamy, and was hosted live from… my bedroom.

At the time, I also had started a livestream account, but the platform was choppy, ustream coaxed me in and asked me to try their service. Also too choppy during those days in 2008. I kept my account around though.

When Occupy started, I was one of the few people at the Los Angeles camp who had experience with streaming. I helped find guests, (who sadly were not always allowed in the media tent, but that’s another story) and tried to help find relevant content for offline media, but during camp days, until the final weeks we were not offline much.

I had suggested instead of the bizarre ideas the media team had about buy thousands of dollars worth of equipment, we get some decent phones, some battery packs, and hook up streamers, instead of our laptop on a car with converters, and truck batteries. I was shut down.

Then the Skyborg appeared, and other streamers from Oakland, and San Francisco, and people realized, laptops were stupid, and dangerous if you had to run, phones and battery packs work.

I started using my own phone to stream for OLA in April of 2012. Prior to that I spent the prior 7 months mixing our official channel, rebroadcasting streams from across the world, as well as General Assemblies, and other meetings and actions.

I already knew before I even posted my first “I’m going Live” update, that the cops were going to be watching.

I’ve always tried to take that into account, but because of the transparency of Occupy, many times I ended up feeling uncomfortable about what I had streamed, fearful people could be targeted because of my footage. I watched comrades arrested again and again, and by summer of 2012, realized as soon as I left an action, the cops moved in, to either terrorize or harass people at the action.

I had one of my stream supporters listening to scanners hear my voice over the scanner, and I then told the pigs we are watching the watchers. Support heard me say it over the scanner as the channel was open and they were mid convo, which ended with OH SHIT, and no more scanner.

I’ve gone to stream events at consulates, where I normally have full service, to not be able to get online to stream, not from any phone, on any service or portable wifi. We know LAPD has stingrays, and are using them to steal our incoming data, so since they redirect our cell phone, its hard to get data out.

All this, I have seen and experienced, and it took a toll. The amount of state violence I have not only witnessed, but have been personally affected by, even if it is “only PTSD” from a past attack, and minor injuries now.

This is why I was hesitant to stream the LA marches around the Mike Brown shooting. This is why I have tweeted, but not streamed. I don’t want any of the people who end up on my footage to be criminalized because of it.

I don’t want what happened to this kid in Baltimore to happen to ANYONE because of my footage, let alone get paid for that type of thing. Yes, I used to take donations, but I also didn’t work, I streamed full time, and my combined donations from 2.5 years, didn’t even cover one years phone bill. It was just about keeping people connected to what was happening.

But is that connection for others on the outside worth the potential of jail for someone else? No.
I am going to refrain from streaming uprisings, maybe I’ll cover meetings, happy shit, ya know the stuff that no one watches… 🙂 But from here on out, all my riot porn goes to the ACLU Mobile Justice CA App.

And maybe some pics to twitter when I feel like it. Follow me there @lizsavage


Streamers: Promoting Safe Streaming Practices

Right now we are in the midst of an information war. Mass media ignores us, and only covers what they are told to. Instead of seeing the truth behind the stories, you only see their twisted, PC, version of some kind of alternate reality. During protests the media has always skewed the perspective of the piece based on who is writing it, who is paying for it, and who the target audience is. Journalism is dead, as its all being turned into a production rather than just straight facts.

Citizens of the globe have always depended on the “News” and mainstream media outlets to provide this to them. The price paid is being subjected to commercials, advertising, and mis-stated opinions as fact, and thats just in the news report! Right now all that is changing, as we now have the technology to bring you the news LIVE, as its happening, right from our hands. Smart phone technologies have given us for the first time, a direct uncut, unedited, look into the news as it really is.

With this new technology there comes even greater responsibility. When you pick up a cell phone, turn on your stream and point it at the crowd, you are showing the world real time what is happening around you. This means, much like the mainstream media, the commentary a streamer gives their audience can also distort the perspective of the viewers. The viewers rely on streamers in the same way many people have relied on their nightly news team for generations. They deem the information they are receiving as accurate. It is the responsibility of the streamer to be conscious of how what they are filming can be perceived, and that they are not UN-intentionally incriminating protesters around them, or could be misconstrued to do such.

Everyday the police seem to find some way to bend a law to use against civil protesters. Whether it be using “Felony Lynching” against protesters who are accused of nothing more than pulling their comrades from harms way, to threatening protesters with arrest for disturbing a “planned meeting”, or simply arresting people who have done nothing, on falsified charges that are trumped up and seem completely irrational. Streamers play a very important part in this, we are learning, as recently one streamers footage was used against her own friends.

The question is; how do we stop this from happening? We have to be aware of our surroundings while streaming especially, as it is unedited, RAW, live feed to anyone watching. There is no editing footage, there is no protection, so the only thing we can do is watch what we film! If you are filming police standing off with protesters, be on the front lines, film the police, especially when they arrest or attack people. But also be aware of those around you. Protesters cover their faces for good reason, as the police are filming us as we film them. If you know someones name, but they are “blocked up” don’t use it! In fact, they probably do not want you to even stream them, so your best bet is not to even turn your camera toward them unless you know it is ok with them. Speak to those around you!

We need to make sure the other protesters around us know we are filming, as we are a strong ally. Our cameras are the weapons in the information war. We cannot allow them to be silenced. We need to remind our peers that that mainstream media is far more dangerous than streamers from your occupation. Instead we need to protect the streamers from police violence, while allowing them a safe place front and center to capture the crimes against the citizens of this planet. We cannot allow our media to be “controlled” by outside forces any longer, as they do not have our best interests in mind.

Every streamer should be responsible to practice safe filming techniques, and study them, and share them with other streamers. We need to hold those who put others in danger accountable, not through threats of violence, but by discussing the actions with them that put people in danger. If they fail to understand these discussions, which should be had in person, then discussion topics should be brought up at the General Assembly’s about it. This type of real time media coverage should not be stifled. It needs to be utilized, and progressed into the tool it really is. Only through streaming have I been able to follow what is going on at occupations throughout the world. I ask that everyone thinks about how streaming could change to benefit everyone. I ask that you meet with your local streamers, and discuss concerns in person, as it is the only way we can work together to provide a more realistic picture to the public of what exactly is going on. They rely on us to do so!

to watch my stream visit: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/savagetruth
follow me on twitter to see when I go live: http://twitter.com/lizsavage

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