Techies and activists: Help me plan a security class
January 31, 2017 3:58 PM   Subscribe

I'm organising a short (about 2 hours) hands-on class about security and privacy for folks involved in civic engagement. What should this include?

Howdy, hive mind. Not everyone is good at DIY tech stuff. I like having my hand held, for example, even for easy things like installing Signal or figuring out Facebook privacy settings. That's just how I am, and I can't be the only one. So a buddy and I are organising a 2-hour meetup to show MeFites and potentially others (especially those engaged in public rallies, etc.) how best to protect their phones, laptops, social media accounts, and communications without going to crazy time-intensive or super techie extremes.

The activist guides I've found online are really old. Please tell me, tech and/or activist sages:

1. In order of priority, what are the most important things (tools, systems, techniques, issues) protestors should know about and why?
2. Got any accurate, useful, and not-highly technical links to share on this topic?
3. If you are in the Bay Area, are you interested in helping teach or present at this thing? PM me if you'd prefer not to respond publicly.
4. Special bonus Q for activists: Is there non-tech related info that would be useful to new protestors? I'm not sure what's down the road, so preparation seems like a fine idea. But I have no idea what that might look like, which is why I ask. :-)

posted by Bella Donna to Technology (8 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Everyone loves the EFF's guides but I find them a little tough to get through. The big issue here is threat modeling, and deciding what bits and pieces are actually important to each person. Trying to secure every piece every second of your life is going to wear folks out and make them not do anything in the end.

I recently came across @mshelton's list of Current Digital Security Resources and found it very helpful. He also has a brief introduction here along with securing your life like a normal person which is excellent for low-level "normal person" security.

I'm in the journalism world which isn't quite the same, but I'm pretty sure in those resources you'll find plenty from the activist angle, too.
posted by soma lkzx at 5:50 PM on January 31, 2017

Best answer: Hi; I work for Mozilla. In a few weeks, we're running another round of our new-engineer onboarding courses, and one of the recent additions to our curriculum is called "An Introduction To Operational Security". We have people all over the world, and they cross a lot of borders, so this will be likely be the sort of thing you're interested in.

When it's up, it'll be posted to Air Mozilla, our streaming video service. When that happens I'll come back to this post and leave a note.
posted by mhoye at 6:45 PM on January 31, 2017 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I thought Security Culture for Activists by the Ruckus Society was good. Refreshingly wary about becoming overly paranoid.
posted by atchafalaya at 1:39 AM on February 1, 2017

Best answer: The Grugq recently wrote a piece on Twitter Activist Security that's worth a read as you prepare.
posted by DaveP at 2:49 AM on February 1, 2017

Response by poster: May I just mention again how MeFites are the best? Carry on, please. Any ActUp folks wanna chime in on Q4, please do.
posted by Bella Donna at 9:10 AM on February 1, 2017

Best answer: OK - When I was in ACT UP, there was no such thing as this "cell phone" you speak of, therefore we had no need for security!!

On the other hand, I've recommended to all of my people to immediately download the ACLU Mobile Justice App. It is specific to your state and it will record and send directly to the ACLU, so if your phone is confiscated, the video has already been sent to the ACLU. I have it on my home screen.

As far as question #4 goes, I am in the process of preparing a curriculum with our group in L.A. that will hopefully be scalable. Let's keep in touch and I'll make sure you get a copy.

Also, here is the list I wrote out for things to bring to protests for newbies:
1. Water & snacks
2. Phone charger cord and extra battery packs
3. Cash & credit cards
4. A sharpie marker to write your emergency info on your arm, leg, etc.
5. Sun protection
6. Meds if you need them
7. Bandanna
8. Mini first aid kit
9. If you're serious, a spray bottle and liquid maalox (for tear gas)
posted by Sophie1 at 10:14 AM on February 1, 2017

Best answer: March Hare Security Guide
posted by fritillary at 12:10 PM on February 1, 2017

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