What is Whiteflag?

Raising the white flag in the digital world

Whiteflag is an internationally neutral and accessible means of digital communication. In conflict areas, it offers a solution to the current technical limitations in the sharing of information. So You could say that Whiteflag is a potential game changer.  

White flag 

The ‘white flag’ is the internationally recognized, protective sign of truce or ceasefire. With the Whiteflag communication protocol, raising the white flag is also possible in the digital world. The protocol is based on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and describes predefined messages and their meanings. These messages refer to the location of protected buildings, such as hospitals or humanitarian convoys. Messages are exchanged securely over a public blockchain network.

Examples of Whiteflag Use

Whiteflag enables entities protected under humanitarian law to make themselves known in real time to prevent collateral damage and casualties in conflict zones. 

  • Whiteflag allows organisations to notify others of their planned and ongoing activities, for more effective aid and military deconfliction. 
  • Whiteflag makes it possible to disclose valuable information real-time, such as emergencies and danger areas, to improve overall situational awareness.

Within the Whiteflag protocol, specific messages are used to indicate objects and locations that are protected under the laws of war. Marking objects and locations should prevent, for example, rescuers and their means of transport from being accidentally attacked. Any party affiliated with Whiteflag, regardless of background, can securely disclose relevant information to specific parties.

Why White Flag?

Armed conflicts are becoming increasingly complex due to the large number of parties involved without clearly defined battlefields. Existing means of communication, such as telephone, email, WhatsApp or social media, offer too limited functionalities. Whiteflag can be added to the existing means of communication, not replacing them (just as email has not replaced the telephone). This will contribute to clearer and more transparent communication, aimed at defending vulnerable groups such as children and aid workers.

Key is in the blockchain technology that Whiteflag uses, as well as the blockchain principles such as neutrality, transparency, reliability and confidentiality. This offers a solution to the shortcomings of existing communication platforms.

  • Blockchain permanently records the history of events.
  • Blockchain provides indisputable evidence and ensures transparency.
  • Blockchain prevents the disclosure of information about the intended recipient and, depending on the authentication method, about the sender.

While there are many protocols for digital communication, all of them have limitations compared to Whiteflag. This overview shows the unique technical features and advantages of Whiteflag compared to other communication protocols currently used by humanitarian aid organizations.

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Expected long-term results

Whiteflag can be seen as a potential ‘game changer’ in conflict and war zones. The protocol offers a scalable solution for various issues.

  1. Improved communication to protect humanitarian causes under international humanitarian law in conflict zones. 
  2. Prevention of accidents resulting in unintentional deaths and injuries and damage to vital infrastructure. 
  3. Improved coordination between aid workers in conflict areas, more situational awareness and better cooperation.
  4. Discouragement of human rights violations in conflict zones through transparency in communications, allowing offenders to be held accountable for their actions.
  5. Fewer attacks on civilian targets and humanitarian aid organizations.
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