Front Line Defenders and Tactical Technology Collective, in cooperation with Brazilian organisation Escola de Activismo and Macedonian Foundation Metamorphosis, launched the newest language editions of Security in a Box, in Portuguese and Macedonian. The Macedonian language version is available at www.securityinabox.org/mk
“With ongoing revelations about governments seeking to collect vast amount of data like the latest, that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and the United Kingdom’s Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) have infiltrated the largest mobile phone SIM production company and stolen encryption keys used to protect the privacy of mobile phone communications around the world it is now abundantly clear that we all need secure ways of communicating more then ever. And for human rights defenders and civil society activists who are increasingly the target of cyber attacks it is a matter of survival. Security-in-a-Box provides tactics and tools for this”, said Wojtek Bogusz, Digital Security Coordinator with Front Line Defenders in Dublin.
In Angola journalist and blogger Rafael Marques exposed torture, rape and killings by high ranking generals involved in the illicit diamond trade in Lunda Norte. As a result, in addition to 11 criminal lawsuits, he was subjected to harassment, and pervasive personal and online surveillance, including apparently targeted hacker attacks on his computer and blog. For Rafael, the new Portuguese edition of Security in a Box is a way to stay one step ahead of his attackers.
Digital targeting of HRDs across the world has included interception of emails, voice or other types of communication; hacking of websites, blogs, email or social network accounts; the installation of malware or spyware; and the banning of websites. In the UAE, human rights defenders had their Twitter accounts hacked. In Serbia, independent online media and human rights groups had their websites targeted through DDoS attacks. In Somaliland, the authorities ordered internet service providers to block access to the websites of two independent media outlets which reported critically on the regional administration. Less sophisticated tactics were equally effective: in Vietnam, where the state-controlled media environment made Facebook an essential tool for debate and access to information, the profiles of HRDs and human rights groups were the subject of a number of complaints by pro-government individuals, which led to their suspension by Facebook.
Security in-a-Box, the world’s leading resource on digital security advice and tools specifically for human rights defenders is a package of peer reviewed tools and tactics for human rights defenders working in hostile digital security environments such as these. Developed by Front Line Defenders in partnership with Tactical Technology Collective It includes explanations of a range of digital security challenges as well as a collection of freeware or open source software tools with instructions on how one can use that tool to secure a computer, protect information or maintain the privacy of Internet communication.
Over 15,000 hard copy toolkits have been distributed since 2006 and there is an increasing user base with two and a half million unique visits per year to the Security in-a-Box online toolkit. With the addition of Portuguese and Macedonian Security in-a-Box is now available in 13 languages (Macedonian, Portuguese and English, Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic, Amharic, Burmese, Chinese, Bahasa, Farsi, Vietnamese). The translation of key chapters on tactics into Tibetan, Turkish and Thai are in the final stages of preparation while translations into Khmer, Urdu, Balochi and Pushto are also in preparation.
“While Security in-a-box is designed primarily to address the growing needs of advocates in the global South, particularly human rights defenders, the software and strategies in this toolkit are relevant to digital security in general. It has much to offer anyone who works with sensitive information. This may include vulnerable minorities, independent journalists or ‘whistle-blowers’, in addition to advocates working on a range of issues, from environmental justice to anti-corruption”, said Andrew Anderson, Deputy Director with Front Line Defenders.
“Recent developments in the world and in Macedonia indicate that we are actually becoming more and more susceptible to unauthorized surveillance by governments, hackers and (cyber) criminals. The theories that the Internet and other types of communication networks have been transformed into massive surveillance infrastructures, and that there is no safe method of communication are gradually becoming plausible. This is why Security in-a-Box is such an important project – although it is primarily intended for human rights defenders around the world – it is nevertheless a truly valuable resource for all those who want to protect their privacy and to be safe when working and communicating online”, said Bardhyl Jashari, director of the Metamorphosis Foundation.
For further information please contact:
Jim Loughran Head of Media, Front Line Defenders
Tel +353 1 212 37 50
Mobile +353 (0)87 231 60 49