About Waterbear


Waterbear is an open or closed ecosystem which allows your project to collect, organize, analyze and report more effectively on topics of disinformation. Waterbear is designed to allow for collaboration between organizations, team members or civil society. Ultimately the suite of technology will help civil society fight disinformation by providing a broader, more contextualized view of activity in their communities, enabling data-assisted strategies for early-intervention and response. It has the promise of utilizing open-source intelligence gathering to produce an aggregated global disinformation dataset, analyzed by professionals, made accessible to the public, and used by key stakeholders and communities affected.

The Waterbear system begins with submissions of incidents or evidence of disinformation through a Webform. The Webform is a simple form for reporting disinformation. Users can attach a date, description, link(s), attachment(s), and other details to what they are reporting. After submitting, their claim is sent to the CDR Link platform where team members can review the submission, edit, tag and organize it. Within CDR Link you can also add further attachments, links and comments to a submission. Once the review process is complete, tickets are forwarded into the QA Tool. In the QA Tool a limited number of analyst scrub tickets of any sensitive or personally identifiable information. Once tickets are reviewed and approved, they are queued in the database available for export. Investigators and researchers are able to download ticket data and media files directly from the QA Tool and import them directly into data analysis tools like Tableau.

The Waterbear suite of technology makes discovering, exposing, and responding to disinformation more accessible to civil society.

The Waterbear Ecosystem

Waterbear ecosystem

To learn more about Waterbear visit https://digiresilience.org/tech/waterbear.html

Data flow in Waterbear

Waterbear data flow

Waterbear provides a single ecosystem to collect, analyze, verify, redact, share, and publish data.

Life Cycle of a disinfo submission in the Waterbear Ecosystem

Waterbear information life cycle

Note: Tableau is included here as a suggested tool for visualizing your exported Waterbear data.

What are Waterbear’s values?

Waterbear is guided by the community-minded, open source, sustainability-focused ethic of CDR’s programmatic work. These principles include:

  • Security: Security and privacy are our first priority, and must be included from the start, never an afterthought or add-on.
  • Interoperability: Waterbear’s technology, taxonomy, processes, and frameworks must interoperate with other platforms in our space.
  • Open source: All technology that we create or adapt must be open source, ideally licensed under the GPL, and we build on the shoulders of giants by incorporating trusted, open-source platforms and technologies.
  • Unix philosophy: Many small parts doing single things well, rather than one big thing that does many things badly.
  • Part of the ecosystem: All work must be done to contribute to and support the existing ecosystem of technology-supported efforts to defend human rights and protect civic engagement.
  • Documentation: Every technology and process must be documented in a way that makes third-party use as easy as possible.
  • Packaging: All component parts of the Waterbear stack will be packaged in a way that makes third-party deployment as easy as possible.

Who is the team behind Waterbear?

Meet Center for Digital Resilience, the force behind Waterbear

Center for Digital Resilience is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that partners with communities around the world to provide sustainable, strategic approaches to long-term digital wellness. We see security as a collective community endeavour rather than solely an individual or organisational one. We work with regional and thematic communities of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) around the world to improve their collective understanding of the threats they face and how to mitigate them. We aim to not only ensure timely and effective responses for our communities, but to reduce their need for emergency response in the first place. The impact of our work is to protect civil society and empower activists to regain civic space.

We work alongside partners and a network of trusted digital security responders to provide security assessments, preventative wellness plans, trainings, incident response, alerts about crucial threats, and ongoing support. We currently partner with communities in the Middle East, North America, Southeast Asia, and East Africa.

Get in Touch

To learn more about CDR, or to request a demo of Waterbear, visit our website or email [email protected].

Meet Guardian Project, the development team behind Waterbear

Guardian Project (guardianproject.info) creates easy to use secure apps, open-source software libraries, and customized solutions that can be used around the world by any person looking to protect their communications and personal data from unjust intrusion, interception and monitoring.

Meet Okthanks, the product design team behind Waterbear

Okthanks (okthanks.com) is an interaction and product design team. They work hand-in-hand with teams to craft clear, effective user experiences and brand messages. They have over 8 years of experience specializing in User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) design of mobile and web apps for at-risk and marginalized communities. They have worked with multiple startups to name their products and services, and to produce strong visual brand identities. To learn more about the team at Okthanks, visit okthanks.com.

Meet the stars who continue to make Waterbear great!

  • Simply Secure

    Simply Secure exists to advance trustworthy technology that centers and protects vulnerable populations. An international team with expertise in research, design, software development, and product management, supported by a diverse set of advisors and partners, their work spans capacity building, design support, open research facilitation, and community convening. To learn more visit: https://simplysecure.org/.

  • The New Design Congress

    The New Design Congress is a research group developing a nuanced understanding of technology’s role as a social, political and environmental accelerant. The organisation promotes the cultivation of systems literacy, evaluating and amplifying new and underrepresented philosophies, perspectives and approaches to understanding and transforming digital systems. To learn more visit: https://newdesigncongress.org.

  • Throneless

    Throneless is a small, committed group of web developers who prioritizes hiring workers who are marginalized in the current tech industry and working with clients that have a positive social impact. Throneless cooperators are activists and organizers who’ve done work on a variety of issues. We care as deeply about building responsible, accessible software and websites as we do about the issues and causes we’re building for. To learn more visit: https://www.throneless.tech.