First Amendment and Human Rights Lawyer

Security is a skill, and should be learned by application

August 1, 2014Carey Shenkman0 Comments

In the last year security has been brought to the forefront of debates on journalism and human rights, as it is clear that electronic information and communication is not safe from governments or even private parties with the right know-how.

Many organizations have published guides on security, and several of these are excellent. Security-in-a-Box is one of the most popular (put together by Tactical Tech and Digi Defenders): very practical and down-to-earth. Susan McGregor at the Tow Center recently released a great guide for journalists, and the Centre for Investigative Journalism just released a report that is particularly good on hardware issues.

The current approaches cover fantastic ground. But based on my experience doing fieldwork, and training lawyers and journalists in security, things need to be simplified even further. Security is a skill, and it is one that is learned by application. I’m reminded of my time studying math; I wouldn’t read a 50-60 page textbook about theory and then take a final exam. I would work through problems, and learn concepts step-by-step.

I think security should be approached similarly. People are busy. Especially in human rights, they are overworked. And those who have the time and dedication to acquire resources are confused.

I plan to post examples of different security situations that would be relevant for different practitioners. In doing so it can hopefully serve as a resource to those facing specific risks in a variety of fields.



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