Posts Tagged ‘on-line conversations’

Frontline’s Guide to Secure Group Chat and Conferencing Tools

July 21, 2020

With teams increasingly working remotely during COVID-19, we are all facing questions regarding the security of our communication with one another: Which communication platform or tool is best to use? Which is the most secure for holding sensitive internal meetings? Which will have adequate features for online training sessions or remote courses without compromising the privacy and security of participants?

Front Line Defenders presents this simple overview which may help you choose the right tool for your specific needs.

FLD Secure Group Chat Flowchart

Download PDF of the flow chart

Note:

  • With end-to-end encryption (e2ee), your message gets encrypted before it leaves your device and only gets decrypted when it reaches the intended recipient’s device. Using e2ee is important if you plan to transmit sensitive communication, such as during internal team or partners meetings.
  • With encryption to-server, your message gets encrypted before it leaves your device, but is being decrypted on the server, processed, and encrypted again before being sent to recipient(s). Having encryption to-server is OK if you fully trust the server.

Why Zoom or other platforms/tools are not listed here: There are many platforms which can be used for group communication. In this guide we focused on those we think will deliver good user experiences and offer the best privacy and security features. Of course none of the platforms can offer 100% privacy or security as in all communications, there is a margin of risk. We have not included tools such as Zoom, Skype, Telegram etc. in this guide, as we believe that the margin of risk incurred whilst using them is too wide, and therefore Front Line Defenders does not feel comfortable recommending them.

Surveillance and behaviour: Some companies like Facebook, Google, Apple and others regularly collect, analyse and monetize information about users and their online activities. Most, if not all, of us are already profiled by these companies to some extent. If the communication is encrypted to-server owners of the platform may store this communication. Even with end-to-end encryption, communication practices such as location, time, whom you connect with, how often, etc. may still be stored. If you are uncomfortable with this data being collected, stored and shared, we recommended refraining from using services by those companies.

The level of protection of your call depends not only on which platform you choose, but also on the physical security of the space you and others on the call are in and the digital protection of the devices you and others use for the call.

See also:

Caution: Use of encryption is illegal in some countries. You should understand and consider the law in your country before deciding on using any of the tools mentioned in this guide.

Criteria for selecting the tools or platforms

Before selecting any communication platform, app or program it is always strongly recommended that you research it first. Below we list some important questions to consider:

  • Is the platform mature enough? How long has it been running for? Is it still being actively developed? Does it have a large community of active developers? How many active users does it have?
  • Does the platform provide encryption? Is it end-to-end encrypted or just to-server encrypted?
  • In which jurisdiction is the owner of the platform and where are servers located? Does this pose a potential challenge for your or your partners?
  • Does the platform allow for self-hosting?
  • Is the platform open source? Does it provide source code to anyone to inspect?
  • Was the platform independently audited? When was the last audit? What do experts say about the platform?
  • What is the history of the development and ownership of the platform? Have there been any security challenges? How have the owners and developers reacted to those challenges?
  • How do you connect with others? Do you need to provide phone number, email or nickname? Do you need to install a dedicated app/program? What will this app/program have access to on your device? Is it your address book, location, mic, camera, etc.?
  • What is stored on the server? What does the platform’s owner have access to?
  • Does the platform have features needed for the specific task/s you require?
  • Is the platform affordable? This needs to include potential subscription fees, learning and implementing, and possible IT support needed, hosting costs, etc.

The document then proceeds to give more detailed information related to each tool/service listed in this guide

Signal – https://signal.org/

Delta Chat – https://delta.chat/

Wire – https://wire.com/

Jitsi Meet – https://jitsi.org/jitsi-meet/

BigBlueButton – https://bigbluebutton.org/

Whereby – https://whereby.com

Blue Jeans – https://www.bluejeans.com/

GoToMeeting – https://www.gotomeeting.com/

Facetime / iMessage –https://www.apple.com/ios/facetime

Google Meet – https://meet.google.com/

Duo – https://duo.google.com/

WhatsApp – https://www.whatsapp.com/

Video calls, webinar or online training recommendations

Video calls recommendations: In the current situation you will undoubtedly find yourself organizing or participating in many more video calls than before. It may not be obvious to everyone how to do it securely and without exposing yourself and your data to too much risk:

  • Assume that when you connect to talk your camera and microphone may be turned on by default. Consider covering your camera with a sticker (making sure it doesn’t leave any sticky residue on the camera lens) and only remove it when you use the camera.
  • You may not want to give away too much information on your house, family pictures, notes on the walls or boards, etc. Be mindful of the background, who and what is also in the frame aside from yourself? Test before the call by, for example, opening meet.jit.si and click on GO button to get to a random empty room with your camera switched on to see what is in the picture. Consider clearing your background of clutter.
  • Also be mindful who can be heard in the background. Maybe close the door and windows, or alert those sharing your space about your meeting.
  • Video call services may collect information on your location and activity, consider using a VPN (see Physical, emotional and digital protection while using home as office in times of COVID-19 guide).
  • It is best to position your face so your eyes are more or less at the upper third of the picture without cutting off your head. Unless you do not want to reveal your face, do not sit with your back to a light or a window. Daylight or a lamp from the front is the best. Stay within the camera frame. You may want to look into the lens from time to time to make “eye contact” with others. If you are using your cellphone, rest it against a steady object (e.g. a pile of books) so that the video picture remains stable.
  • You may want to mute your microphone to prevent others hearing you typing notes or any background noise as it can be very distracting to others on the call.
  • If the internet connection is slow you may want to switch off your camera, pause other programs, mute the microphone and ask others to do same. You may also want to try sitting closer to the router, or connecting your computer directly to the router with an ethernet cable. If you share internet connection with others, you may ask them to reduce extensive use of internet for the duration of your call.
  • It it very tempting to multitask especially during group calls. But you may very soon realise that you are lost in the meeting and others may realize this.
  • If this is a new situation for you or you are using a new calling tool, you may want to give yourself a few extra minutes to learn and test it prior to the scheduled meeting to get familiar with options like turning on/off the camera and the microphone, etc.
  • If possible, prepare and test a backup communication plan in case you will have trouble connecting with others. For example, adding them to a Signal group so you can still text chat or troubleshoot problems on the call. Sometimes it helps to have an alternate browser installed on your computer or app on the phone to try connecting with those.

If you would like to organise a webinar or online training, you can use tools outlined above in the group communication. Some of best practices include:

  • Make sure that you know who is connected. If this is needed check the identities of all people participating by asking them to speak. Do not assume you know who is connected only by reading assigned names.
  • Agree on ground-rules, like keeping cameras on/off, keeping microphone on/off when one is not speaking, flagging when participants would like to speak, who will be chairing the meeting, who will take notes – where and how will those notes be written and then distributed, is it ok to take screenshots of a video call, is it ok to record the call, etc.
  • Agree on clear agendas and time schedules. If your webinar is longer than one hour, it is probably best to divide it into clear one-hour sessions separated by some time agreed with participants, so they have time to have a short break. Plan for the possibility that not all participants will return after a break. Have alternative methods to reach out to them to remind them to return, like Signal/Wire/DeltaChat contacts for them.
  • It is easiest to use a meeting service that participants connect to using a browser without a need to register or install a special program, one that also gives the webinar organiser the ability to mute microphones and close cameras of participants.
  • Prior to the call, check with all participants whether they have particular needs, such as if they are deaf or hard of hearing, if they are visually impaired or blind, or any other conditions which would affect their participation in the call. With this in mind, ensure that the selected platform will accommodate these needs and to be sure, test the platform beforehand. Simple measures can also improve inclusion and participation in your calls, such as turning on cameras when possible, as it can allow for lip-reading.
  • Encourage all participants to speak slowly and to avoid jargon where possible, as the working language of the call is most likely not everyone’s mother tongue language. Naturally, there will be moments of silences and pauses, embrace them. They can help to support understanding and can be helpful for participants who are hard of hearing, interpreters and will also aid assistive technology to pick up words correctly.

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/resource-publication/guide-secure-group-chat-and-conferencing-tools

Podcasting in Human Rights: an underestimated tool

May 2, 2018

New Tactics is organizing podcast conversations on the potential of podcasting in human rights activism and the power of narrative storytelling. Hosted by Gianna Brassil. Podcasts are downloadable episodes of audio content, typically part of a series on a thematic topic. Over the past few years, podcasts have grown into a dynamic media form, with niche shows catering to listeners’ political, cultural, educational, musical, and technological audio palate. While podcasts are often produced by professional radio stations, they can also be created independent media creators. The freelance nature of podcasts makes them a unique tool for activists who want to broaden the audience of their message through a low-cost means.

New Tactics created its own podcast that explores issues of representation, the value of oral storytelling, and accessibility in creating independent media. The tension between a podcast’s entertainment value and the representation of human suffering is a topic that we grapple with in our podcast. We ask questions about how we can create stories that are honest and empathetic, meanwhile knowing that sometimes it is impossible to “create comprehensible stories out of the incomprehensible” (That the World May Know, James Dawes). Our podcast guests also discuss the uniqueness of voices and oral storytelling as tools to re-humanize conflicts and highlight the experiences of individual human lives. Finally, we discuss the accessibility of podcasts. With a microphone, simple audio editing software like Adobe Audition or Garageband, and an online platform such as Soundcloud to distribute episodes, activists can reach countless potential listeners. The power of becoming a media creator cannot be underestimated, and this episode seeks to demonstrate how media creators have the ability to reshape the landscape of representation, define for themselves what it means to be a human rights activist, and nuance an audience’s conception of how human rights stories can be told.

https://newtactics.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=acc46cd2cef604ae60bd5355b&id=181aceb2b1&e=0cf25f99e0

12 January: Community Discussion by HURIDOCS on Managing human rights contacts

January 9, 2017

 

huridocs-signature-logoFrom mobilizing supporters, to organizing interviews, to fundraising, to persuading decision-makers, relationships are at the heart of human rights work. This is why it’s so important to have a system to document and manage these relationships. There are many Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) systems out there to help manage this information, but human rights groups often require additional attention to security, sustainability, and other custom features. So what CRM systems are human rights groups using today? What’s working well, and what are the challenges?

This HURIDOCS community discussion is an opportunity for CRM users, developers and advocates to share their experiences, knowledge and advice on contact management. A summary of the discussion will be written and shared on the HURIDOCS website.

When: 12 January 2017 at 4pm GMT
Where: Watch the webinar below from the embedded Hangout On Air, and participate via Twitter.
Who: open to anyone who wants to learn more about managing human rights contacts
So far, HURIDOCS has recruited human rights practitioners to present on their experiences using:

CiviCRM
Civi (a CiviCRM distribution)
Salesforce
ActionKit

If you have CRM experience you want to share, please contact: kristin@huridocs.org! To ask questions or make comments, use the #HURIDOCS hashtag on Twitter:

Source: Community Discussion: Managing human rights contacts | HURIDOCS

New Tactics in Human Rights: ‘conversation’ on photography now running!

June 24, 2015

New Tactics in Human Rights is currently having an on-line conversation on “The Use of Photography in Advancing Human Rights“. It lasts until 26 June.

Photography (as images in general) is a powerful tool that can create awareness and effect change. The visual narrative created through photographs can move individuals to a place and understanding of people, geographies, and events that would otherwise be impossible. Used as a tool to document, educate, move, and inform, photographs can be a powerful resource in the efforts of human rights practitioners when used effectively and ethically.

There is even a human rights award for photography in the area of human rights: http://www.brandsaviors.com/thedigest/award/anthropographia-awards.

I have written several posts about the power of images, through the Geneva-based True Heroes Films (THF) [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/true-heroes-films/] and in general [e.g. https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/round-up-of-2014-in-human-rights-images/].

New Tactics in Human Rights.

Using Video for Documentation and Evidence: on-line course by New Tactics from 21 July

July 7, 2014

Citizen media

(Photo credit: WITNESS, used under Creative Commons)

Kelly Matheson of WITNESS and the New Tactics community organise an online conversation on the Using Video for Documentation and Evidence from 21 to 25 July, 2014. User-generated content can be instrumental in drawing attention to human rights abuses. But many filmers and activists want their videos to do more. They have the underlying expectation that footage exposing abuse can help bring about justice. Unfortunately, the quality of citizen video and other content rarely passes the higher bar needed to function as evidence in a court of law. This online discussion is an opportunity for practitioners of law, technology and human rights to share their experiences, challenges, tools and ideas to help increase the chances that the footage citizens and activists often risk their lives to capture can do more than expose injustice – it can also serve as evidence in the criminal and civil justice processes.

Using Video for Documentation and Evidence | New Tactics in Human Rights.

Help lead our upcoming conversation on documentation tools!

May 29, 2014

 

New Tactics is going to have a on-line conversation on the safe & effective use of documentation tools from 9 to 13 June 2014. They are looking to recruit 10 to 12 human rights practitioners to join Daniel D’Esposito of HURIDOCS and Enrique Piracés of Benetech to help lead the upcoming conversation on Working Safely and Effectively with Documentation Tools Documentation is a crucial aspect of the quest for justice, accountability and transparency.

Read the rest of this entry »

RFK Training Human Rights Defenders in Social Media

April 10, 2014

You can participate in an on-line conversation on the use of social media in human rights work on 15 April 2014 organised by the John F. Kennedy Centre for Human Rights [RFK]. The speakers are: 
Santiago A. Canton is the Director of RFK Partners for Human Rights. Mr. Canton was the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, after serving as the first Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression in the Inter American System. Mr. Canton was also Director for Latin America and the Caribbean for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), a democratic development institute based in Washington D.C. Mr. Canton was a political assistant to President Carter in democratic development programs in countries in Latin America. In 2005, Mr. Canton was awarded the Chapultepec Grand Prize for his contributions to the promotion, development, strengthening and defense of the principles of freedom of expression throughout the Americas.
Maria Isabel Rivero is a Uruguayan journalist and has been director of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Press and Outreach Office since July 2007. She started working at the Commission in 2006, through a competition for the post of press coordinator for the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. She studied social communications at the Catholic University of Uruguay and has a Master of Latin American Studies degree from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Before joining the IACHR, she was a journalist for 15 years, working for an international news agency in Santiago (Chile), Asunción (Paraguay), Montevideo (Uruguay), and Washington, D.C. (United States).

Ali Ravi is Senior Consultant – Digital Strategy, Security, Capacity. With advanced degrees in Electrical Engineering and Robotics, Ali Ravi’s work focus has primarily been on information systems design, Digital strategy development and adult-learning methodology. He has spent 15 years in the NGO world as Technology Strategist for smaller NGOs, and Digital Strategy and Security educator/trainer for individuals involved in progressive causes.

Maya Derouaz is the Social Media Manager at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). She has developed the social media presence of OHCHR on various platforms since 2012. Ms Derouaz has also been advising, designing and implementing communications strategies aimed at increasing the visibility of OHCHR on social media. She leads various social media campaigns in order to disseminate key information on the activities of the UN Human Rights Office on the ground. Ms Derouaz took part in the development of a National Agricultural Programme for Eritrea when she worked at the International Fund for Agricultural Development in Rome. Ms Derouaz holds a Master of Arts in International Affairs from Sciences Po Paris, a Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Business from Paris Sorbonne Abu Dhabi and has a keen interest in new media, global politics and sustainable development.

Lely Djuhari is Communication Specialist at UNICEF, working on social media. She has also worked in other humanitarian and development agencies in Indonesia, Southeast Asian countries, Central and Eastern Europe, the Russian Federation, Turkey, South Caucasus and Central Asia. She managed wide ranging multi-country advocacy campaigns on inclusion of children with disabilities, ethnic minorities such as the Roma; disaster risk reduction into mainstream education; child-friendly schools during post-tsunami reconstruction, the roll out of journalism education and child rights in 30 universities in Europe and Central Asia; groundbreaking research and advocacy for maximizing safer online access for boys and girls. As a correspondent for The Associated Press and Kyodo News English Service during 2004-1998, she covered social and political issues in Indonesia, East Timor`s path to nationhood and the Indian Ocean Tsunami.  While on a Chevening scholarship at London`s City University, UK, she explored new media and new competencies needed by journalists in an increasingly connected world.

Human Rights Affairs: Social Media & HR | RFK – Training Institute.

Reminder: online conversation on Visualizing Information for Advocacy starts today

November 11, 2013

Tactical Technology Collective and the New Tactics community start their on-line conversation on Visualizing Information for Advocacy  as from today November 11, until 15 NovemberPeople around the world are using digital tools and visualization techniques to expose injustice and abuse, creating narratives to challenge the status quo and mobilizing for action. In the words of the organisers:  Read the rest of this entry »

Join on-line Conversation on the power of narrative for HRDs as from today

October 14, 2013

You can Join the Center for Story-based Strategy CSS and the New Tactics community for an online conversation on Change the Story: Harnessing the power of narrative for social change from October 14 to 18.

People and communities use stories to understand the world and our place in it. These stories are embedded with power – the power to explain and justify the status quo as well as the power to make change imaginable and urgent. …This conversation is an opportunity for human rights defenders to learn more about story-based strategy and how to integrate it into campaign planning. This is also an opportunity for those practitioners using story-based strategy to share their experiences, questions, and ideas with each other. Practitioners to lead this conversation are:

Danielle Coates-Connor, Conversation Facilitator of the Center for Story-based Strategy

Nathan Schneider of Waging Nonviolence

Soriano of Lionswrite Communications

Kathleen Pequeño of the Progressive Communicators Network

Nadia Khastaqir of the Design Action Collective

Kristi Rendahl of the Center for Victims of Torture

Lama Sangye and Justin Von Bujdoss of the New York Tsurphu Goshir Dharma Center

Chris Cavanagh of the Catalyst Centre

Dr. Cara Lisa Berg Powers of Press Pass TV

Laura Revels, Digital Storytelling Trainer

Shreya Atrey, practitioner.

September’s Conversation on Media Tactics for Social Change now has a summary posted and in November there will be a Conversation on Visualizing Information for Advocacy, in partnership with Tactical Technology Collective.

via Join our conversation on the power of narrative, this week!.