By Matthew Russell Lee, Video
UNITED NATIONS, June 7 – A project that certainly sounds good, XPrize, held an event in the UN on June 6, to award a $1 million prize to the best technology solution to the lack of safety for women.
Inner City Press sent an RSVP saying it wanted to live-stream it on Periscope but was told, “Hi Matthew, Thank you for your email. Please note that we cannot authorize any live recording or image sharing on-site, as all content from the event is strictly under embargo until Thursday, June 7th at 6am ET. Kindly confirm you received this and can honor these terms.”
Inner City Press which honors embargoes all the time, for example in connection with the International Monetary Fund's biweekly media briefing where it reports answers to its questions on Yemen, Somalia, Cameroon and Sri Lanka on a delay, sent in confirmation, and went to the event.
It was in the UN's Xpress bar, complete with tuna appetizers and champagne and a crowd not usually seen at the UN. In fact, other than the UN Security and food service staff, the only UN presence was a few correspondents most of whom left before the award announcement.
But many in the crowd were not only photographing but also live-streaming the event. It seemed clear that the stated embargo no longer held, at least for some. But in an abundance of caution, Inner City Press shot a video stored to its phone, not live-streamed, and did not tweet the name of the winning team, for example.
Leaving the event, Inner City Press immediately emailed its publicist: “Hi - I attended and complied, shot some video for later use, but saw people live streaming and now see these, for example here and here and here.
Can you confirm the embargo is off?”
The response was, “Hi Matthew, thanks for your note. Confirming the embargo is NOT off, thanks for your continued compliance!” This seemed strangely - usually in these circumstances the embargo is lifted.
Unless the embargo was unevenly applied, a seeming trend in the UN. Recently the office of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told Inner City Press it could no longer stream Periscope video of Guterres' events in his 38th floor conference room, even as UNTV shot video and audio and others shot Facebook Live. This has yet to be explained.
On June 6, Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Inner City Press it was not surprising that Inner City Press was banned from live tweeting, even without any attribution of the quotes, a presentation in the UN Library (including about oil exploration in southern Lebanon) by Jane's Defense Industry Solutions IHS Markit.
Well, now at 6 am on June 7 it can be told, and shown: the winner of the $1 million Xprize offered by Anu & Naveen Jain is (or was) SAFER Pro from Leaf Wearables (New Delhi, India). The description: “Led by Manik Mehta, a smart safety device that sends emergency alerts with location details to a users’ guardians when they sense danger. SAFER Pro is a small chip that can ultimately be put into any device or jewelry with a discreet emergency alert button. When the alert is received, it additionally lets you record audio from the time of the alert.”
The other finalists, each given $50,000: Nimb & SafeTrek (Los Altos, CA and St. Louis, MO, United States) – Led by Leo Bereschanskiy and Nick Droege, Nimb collaborates with SafeTrek to provide their customers an option to call for professional emergency services with just a touch of the thumb. The company was founded in response to rising concerns about safety on and off campus. Both teams work together to make the world a safer place.
Saffron (Bellevue, WA, United States; Tsinghua, China) – Led by Nicholas Becker, Saffron is a collaboration between the University of Washington and Tsinghua University through the Global Innovation eXchange (GIX), focused on developing wearable sensors and machine learning algorithms to create inconspicuous technologies that improve the safety and well-being of women around the world.
Soterra (Bethlehem, PA, United States) – Led by Lena McDonnell, Soterra used a combination of global positioning services, cellular data and bluetooth to build a versatile, reliable and affordable network to connect women to emergency support systems.
Artemis (Lausanne, Switzerland) – Led by Dr. Nicee Srivastava, Artemis is developing a device that can be used to trigger an alert not just by a gesture, but also by seamlessly tracking emotional threat levels.
We need to know more how this device tracks emotional threat levels...