For the last five years, I’ve traveled around the world training human rights defenders to use technology to more securely collect, store, and share sensitive data. The individuals and groups I work with face serious and complex digital threats that are difficult to detect. Some are aware of such threats and have taken precautions, while others are just gaining awareness and starting their search for solutions. To get a sense of where a specific audience fits on this spectrum, I often introduce the digital threat conversation by asking the room: “Show of hands: who here has a sticker covering their webcam?”
Human rights groups face increasingly sophisticated attackers with the ability to exploit their growing digital surface. When a group documenting human rights abuses against the Tibetan community came to us last year with interest in Martus, they brought with them a deep mistrust of their own hard drives. Together we decided to use an implementation method that emphasized security at all stages and selected Tails to be the default environment for their use of Martus. The Martus-on-Tails model is an exciting new venture into human rights defenders’ protection. We look forward to exploring other models and developing this one into a more mature standard.