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Digital Protection

Digital Protection

More Safely Sharing, Communicating and Storing Digital Information

Mobile phones, computers and the Internet are the main means by which human rights defenders (HRDs) communicate and coordinate their work as well as collect and store their research and findings, including sensitive data. Unfortunately, they are also the most common means by which governments and corporations restrict, manipulate and monitor the activity of human rights defenders. As surveillance and censorship increase, the insecurity of digitally stored and/or digitally transmitted information is a major problem for HRDs in many countries. Front Line Defenders created its Digital Protection Programme in 2004 to meet the needs of HRDs facing such threats.

Front Line Defenders is supporting HRDs through practical, hands-on workshops and long-term assistance aimed at HRDs implementing more secure practices and tools. Since 2013 we deliver this support also in cooperation with field based digital protection consultants. These consultants are based in the different world regions and work directly in a one-on-one manner with human rights organisations (HROs) and individual HRDs. The aim is to more effectively assess needs and identify digital risks, help design tailored security policy and cooperate in implementing it and integrating the practices into daily work and life. This approach facilitates long-lasting impact through more direct engagement in the specific real life contexts of some of those human rights defenders working in the most dangerous environments. We also provide digital protection grants as part of our security grants program which can include equipment or software. We work in cooperation with our overall protection program and other organisations to ensure that digital security is integrated with other aspects of holistic security.

In 2015 Front Line Defenders conducted 20 digital protection trainings for 309 HRDs at risk, directly worked through long-term support with 278 HRD and 116 HROs, conducting 70 support missions. In 2015 we supported 30 HRDs and HROs with digital protection grants for total amount of 60’909 Euro. This work has a broad geographical aspect and we have been working in more then 30 countries in all regions.

Security in-a-Box logo

Security in-a-Box (SiaB) was created by Front Line Defenders in 2005 in partnership with the Tactical Technology Collective to further help HRDs and HROs implement tactics and tools for digital security. SiaB is actively maintained since then by the two organisations and a network of independent experts. SiaB is a collection of guides and free and open source tools assisting HRDs in securing their computer or phone, storing and sharing sensitive information more securely or maintain the privacy of Internet and phone communication. It is available in 17 languages: Amharic, Arabic, Bahasa, Burmese, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, Khmer, Macedonian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Tibetan, Turkish, Vietnamese