Legislative staffers appreciate hearing from Benetech in our role as a Silicon Valley technology-for-good pioneer. Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to join Benetech CEO Jim Fruchterman and VP of Human Rights Enrique Piracés in Washington, DC, for a series of meetings with Congressional staffers to present Benetech’s Human Rights Program and its role supporting the global human rights community. We also briefed members of the press who were interested to learn about our human rights work.
On April 7, 2014, The Heartbleed Bug—a serious vulnerability in encryption technology used by most Web servers to secure communications over the Internet was announced. The good news is that the Martus servers (where all data is stored and backed up) are not affected by Heartbleed. The Martus Desktop client, too, was not affected by the Heartbleed bug. However, Android 4.1.1 is vulnerable. If you use Mobile Martus, we recommend you update Android, then delete and recreate your Martus Mobile account, so that a new private key is generated. If you are unable to update Android 4.1.1 we strongly suggest that you do not use Mobile Martus.
As hundreds of technologists, businesses, governments, and human rights defenders assemble in San Francisco for the RightsCon technology and human rights conference, our CEO, Jim Fruchterman, and VP of Human Rights, Enrique Piracés, have co-authored a Huffington Post op-ed on human rights and the duty to protect sensitive data. They argue that the “Do No Harm” principle requires social justice advocates to use encryption and other strong security practices.
I recently returned from a weeklong training in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where I worked with our partner, Housing Works, to set up a nation-wide human rights documentation project using Martus, Benetech’s secure, open source documentation tool. The new initiative follows on the heels of a spate of homophobic violence experienced by the Haitian LGBTI community earlier this year. By the end of our training week, we graduated 20 new Martus Human Rights monitors representing 10 organizations working across the country with the goal of ensuring that no human rights violation motivated by homophobia, misogyny or stigma based on HIV status goes undocumented.