Måns Adler on Bambuser

This Thursday morning DXFSWE was treated to a fascinating presentation on Bambuser, a free Swedish live mobile video broadcasting service that has been instrumental in informing the world about events in the Arab Spring.

Presenting Bambuser was none other than Malmö native Måns Adler, the founder of Bambuser. He told DXF the story behind Bambuser — and how from the very beginning, one of the intended use cases was being able to stream live video from a mobile phone in the Middle East to the web, so that attempts to confiscate cameras would not prevent the information from getting out.

More broadly, Måns explained the motivation behind Bambuser as being that “in its purest form information is always good.” The biggest problem with information is if it doesn’t arrive, Måns argued. Bambuser solved a number of technical challenges to make video and sound information so much easier to disseminate to the world from anyone with a mobile phone. Before, only large broadcasting organizations had the means to broadcast live to the web, requiring expensive infrastructure. Bambuser managed to make the process simple and free for users. The effect, specifically in the Middle East and North Africa, has been tangible, as DXF participant Wael Abbas and his fellow activists can attest from the many live videos they’ve sent from the streets of Cairo over the past few years.

But while Bambuser is often used for political activism, Måns also highlighted several unusual and unintended uses, both funny and serious — for example, for checking if the light in the fridge goes out when the door closes, or to broadcast rescue operations to collaborators.

DXFers had plenty of questions. One participant asked about censorship on Bambuser. Måns responded that the only kind of video they remove is when people broadcast smut. (Starts 60 seconds into the broadcast):

Another question was: How can you be sure that videos on Bambuser are not fake? Måns answered that because live videos are broadcast with a latency of 3 seconds or less, viewers can interact with the video broadcaster in real time; this allows viewers to verify the veracity of the video: