CreditsLast Updated 2017-06
This session is intended to share digital security recommendations for women human rights defenders who are involved in online campaigning efforts.
This session should be attributed to Indira Cornelio for SocialTIC, as adapted for the Institute for War & Peace Reporting resource “Cyberwomen: Holistic Digital Security Training Curriculum for Women Human Rights Defenders”, under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International CC BY-SA 4.0 License
The intent of this session is for participants to identify digital security solutions they can implement for safer online campaigning activities; however, the ultimate goal is not for them to implement these during the session, rather it is for them to begin a process of exploration to identify what will work best for their individual context.
Step 1 | Explain to participants that the intent of this session is for them to identify digital security solutions they can implement for safer online campaigning activities. They won’t need to immediately implement these during the session, however - the goal is for them to begin a process of exploration to identify what will work best for their individual contexts and campaigns.
Step 2 | Ask participants to share any examples of online campaigns they are aware of – are there any emerging trends in how these campaigns are implemented that they can identify?
Step 3 | Remind participants that, when it comes to mounting their own online campaigning and advocacy efforts, they should keep in mind the information and adversaries identified during the exercise “Who Do You Trust?”. As campaigns are, by nature, very public efforts, they should be extra aware of who could potentially be monitoring them, or who might potentially pose a threat to them.
Step 4 | In the context of their own work, suggest to participants that when it comes time for them to begin the planning phase an online campaigning effort, they should work with their team(s) to answer the following questions:
Step 5 | Answering these can help them plan preventative measures against possible threats more strategically – highlight to the group that they can even prepare messaging in advance for possible scenarios that emerge from the responses to these questions. Also, remind participants that even envisioning the best-case scenario of the campaign is helpful for planning preventative measures – for instance, how would they prepare for the possibility that, if the campaign is successful and becomes quite popular, their website is unable to handle a sudden surge in traffic and goes down?
Step 6 | Now, explain to the group that during the next parts of this session, you will be providing guidance and recommendations on digital security practices useful for online campaigning efforts (if possible, depending on how much time you have to work with, allow participants to visit recommended tools’ websites).
Step 7 | Ask participants if they use their own personal devices for campaigning (versus a “work” device) - how much campaign related information they store on these devices? Are they connected to email and social media accounts as well?
Step 8 | Here are some topline practices to recommend to the group for device protection:
Step 9 | Online campaigns often require multiple users to be able to access the same online accounts (or devices, in some cases). Access to a device or account by multiple users with the same credentials represents a significant increase in risk; however, by taking some preventative measures, participants can substantially reduce the likelihood of these risks becoming direct threats:
Step 10 | When implementing and organizing an online campaign, it is common to use certain apps and tools to keep track of social media/website metrics, or to schedule social media posts. When making decisions about such apps, and which ones to use, there are few questions that participants should keep in mind – these are primarily for them to avoid sharing their information with certain unsafe tools, or tools that are no longer supported by developers:
Step 11 | Facebook is often used in online campaigns to organize communities and to quickly disseminate important messaging and other communications. It is important, however, to highlight some of the potential vulnerabilities are with using these platforms as part of a campaign’s core organizing structure:
The final point above could represent a significant setback to campaign and community building progress, so highlight to participants the importance of having alternative communication and organizing channels – these could include:
Step 12 | Discuss the importance of informed consent with the group – this is important generally for awareness raising campaigns on human rights issues, and especially when using images or testimonials of victims, survivors and witnesses of atrocities or other violations in campaign materials: