As we start to grasp the scope and scale of unchecked surveillance, it is clear that having the know-how to protect personal information and privacy is no longer something that only human rights activists need. That’s why our Human Rights Program is working to increase use of end-to-end, open source encryption among journalists, citizen reporters, and activists, as well as broad awareness of the self-empowerment that open technology can generate. Team members of the Benetech Human Rights Program have just hosted a two-day workshop in New York City, where they introduced Martus, Benetech’s open technology for secure information management.
The African region has seen rising levels of homophobia over the last several months. Amidst the changing climate of restrictive, “anti-gay” laws that have swept the region, local LGBTI activists are facing new types of risks and threats, yet digital security literacy among LGBTI activists in the region remains quite low. That’s why a joint team from our Human Rights Program and from Access organized a workshop and a digital security health clinic focused on improving digital security for LGBTI activists in the African region. In a joint blog post published on the Access blog, they report from the field.
I had the chance to sit down with Ugandan LGBTI activist Richard Lusimbo earlier this month at RightsCon. At the conference, he represented the LGBTI community in Uganda, where he says he feels like a criminal since the signing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in February. I spoke to him about a range of issues, including LGBTI Rights and digital security.
Silicon Valley startups are proving their ability to subvert internet censorship plans of governments half a world away, but by doing so might wade into dicey diplomatic waters. In a story that examines the promises and perils of this new, unregulated power, TechCrunch journalist Gregory Ferenstein quotes our VP of Human Rights, Enrique Piracés, who explains why non-commercial, open source technology ought to be the baseline for trusted anti-censorship applications.
The Knight News Challenge is looking for ways to make the Internet open, equitable, and free, so Benetech’s Human Rights Program has submitted an idea for a secureApp Generator to benefit journalists, citizen reporters, activists, and other organizations or individuals who need reliable channels for secure mobile data collection and information exchange over the Internet. Check out and support the full concept on The Knight News Challenge website.