[swb-public] README: Welcome & Initial Thoughts

Tek tek at randhome.io
Mon Jan 2 13:37:36 UTC 2017

Hi everyone,

Thanks for this interesting discussion, few ideas/comments :

-I totally agree with Josh that it is too early to speak about
technology to communicate before having any real case project. I have
seen a lot of projects focusing on the technical aspect before having a
clear idea of the work to be done, and it always lead to countless problems.

-Trust and management are clearly the two challenges of this project.
About trust, I think the best solution is to have a small core
management team, slowly getting to know people involved and propose them
work that requires more and more trust (starting from public development
to forensic analysis for instance). Meeting at conferences or other
events may help to create this trust, with the obvious bias of being
easier for some people (people in Europe/US, people going regularly to
conferences...) than others. About management, I think we should be
careful with involvement in projects without any clear objective or
deadline. Imho, in an ideal case, the management team would define the
need and the deadline with the NGO, and propose a clear work plan to any
volunteer (which require technical skills in the management team). So as
a volunteer, I receive a clear proposal to do something and say yes or
no. Am I ok to take one week full time before April to give a security
training? Am I ok to develop this ticket on this project before June?
etc. This would help giving a clear answer to an NGO (and thus build
trust with them), but also limit management work for the core team as a
limited number of people are involved at a given time.

-I think that there is also a challenge to work with NGO / activist
groups, because just saying "we are here" even with media coverage is
not enough. From my experience, most of the time  these groups have
already more work than they can do, and do not see what benefit they
would have from security advice/audit/training... It would be really
helpful to have a network of people working closely with NGO/other
groups and with a clear idea of what we can do, so that they contact us
when we can help. It takes some time to have these contacts, but it also
requires that SWB give a clear overview of what is possible or not.

-For the first steps, it may be interesting to start defining the first
type of actions we can do for NGO (security audit? Security study on a
tool/specific problem? Security training?) to be able to communicate
this to target groups, and ideally find an easy project with a group
that the core team already know to test the organization. At the same
time, projects outside of a specific NGO (as proposed by Nex) could be
started (monitoring/blocking access to camera and microphone is a really
good idea, gathering knowledge on software commonly used too) slowly
(but we should take care of not reinventing the wheel and work with orgs
already doing similar projects). Any idea of what the first NGO work and
first projects could be? Do you have in your network some NGO having
some simple need that could be addressed at first?



On 2017-01-02 04:43 AM, Martin L. Fällman wrote:
> I'd like to add to the below that I'm willing to share my experience vetting emergency assistance cases, as well as what vetting I can assist with, should SWB need it.
> I think generally it's a good idea to agree on a few base criteria, for example that eligible clients should do work adhering to the UN OHCHR "Human Rights Defender" definition[1], and not have political activities (defined roughly as seeking/holding public office). This quickly sifts out all prospective clients engaged in discriminatory or hateful practices and violence or the promotion of violence, and makes sure you don't end up propping up a political party or politician.
> True, this will exclude a few people who legitimately need help but also run for public office (with the best intentions, etc)--I don't have a *perfect* solution to this.
> [1]: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/SRHRDefenders/Pages/Defender.aspx 
> Best,
> //MLF.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: swb-public [mailto:swb-public-
>> bounces at lists.securitywithoutborders.org] On Behalf Of Nex
>> Sent: söndag den 1 januari 2017 20:20
>> To: swb at hacknet.cx; Josh More <jmore at starmind.org>
>> Cc: swb-public <swb-public at lists.securitywithoutborders.org>
>> Subject: Re: [swb-public] README: Welcome & Initial Thoughts
> [snip]
>>> Comment 3: agreed objectives / politics.
>>> I suspect we've all expressed interest and willingness for different reasons,
>> but with a generally agreed view that we would like to support freedom of
>> speech and expression, support NGOs, the press and others in the face of
>> growing intolerance. How do we go about defining who to support and who
>> not to support, however? As an example I suspect everyone would support a
>> request from MSF for help,  however would that extend to other groups?
>> What would happen if breitbart sought help from the group? Or maybe The
>> Canary (left wing organisation)? What would happen if the White helmets
>> sought help, or a Palestinian organisation? How do we protect the group
>> against fracture along political and ethical lines? Who makes these decisions
>> and what happens if the group finds itself on the "wrong side of history"?
>> This is a common problem that I have faced when dealing with providing
>> assistance to people I do not know. Normally, I tend to rely on other
>> organizations with experience, such as Amnesty or Human Rights Watch,
>> who would often be aware of particular individuals and organizations. Of
>> course they might have particular biases, but they are generally a pretty
>> reliable metric, I think, so in cases of doubt it is always useful to inquire
>> them and seek for advice.
>> Also, I think a key component will be to cooperate with existing
>> organizations that work in the field and provide already forms of assistance,
>> and who already act as point of contact to people on the ground. For
>> example Access Now, Frontline Defenders, Amnesty, etc.
>> Best,
>> /nex
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