There were a number of aspects to our shift to ProofMode from CameraV.
First, sustainability. CameraV had bloated to a huge set of features and functions, and had been built around earlier architectures of the Android operating system. The amount of funding, resources and time it took to sustain this effort was taxing, and not generating the best “return on investment”, especially when considering the niche user base it was valued by.
Architecturally, it had also become a kitchensink app that was trying to do everything, from being a secure camera and gallery, to dynamic form support, and remote archiving, synchronization and backup, which slowed down our ability to innovate on the core premise of generating chain of custody and proof metadata.
ProofMode has enabled us to realize the idea of verifiable metadata generation being nearly an invisible service that is just part of the operating system and core apps. This is really our end goal, and something we hope Google, Apple, Facebook (via Instagram), WhatsApp, Signal and others may eventually adopt. We’re going to be releasing libProofMode soon on Android, and something for iOS in the fall, that will get us closer to that reality.
As for sharing through existing apps, we had many users who, even with CameraV, wanted to share proof data via WhatsApp, or uploading to their own backend services. With the end-to-end encryption and identity verification capabilities provided by apps like WhatsApp and Signal, it makes a great deal of sense, and removes the need for organizations to even host a server. It also reduces the ability for an adversary to monitor a group of users by seeing who is connecting to who or to what back-end server, if all that interaction is mixed into a common public cloud service, over millions or billions of users.
We are also working now with the OpenArchive project to integrate ProofMode support through a number of mechanisms, so that we can enable public sharing to Archive.org, and future private sharing to self-hosted archives.
As for downsides, well, the kitchen sink approach can work, and provide a total security model against a strong threat model / adversary. The complete vision for CameraV served a niche community of users well, if they were willing to put up with the constraints and usability issues with the app. Ultimately, we hope to still serve them, through a suite of apps, and better operational security training.