Surveillance Self Defense for Activists, January 2015



Greetings Seattle activists!

Seattle Privacy Coalition is starting a new workshop in Seattle called Surveillance Self Defense, a name gratefully adopted from the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s “Tips, Tools and How-tos for Safer Online Communications“. Our workshops will be free to the public but limited in space.

Surveillance Self Defense for Activists will start in January 2015 and occur every-other month. So if you miss January’s, remember that another workshop will happen in March 2015. We are also starting Surveillance Self Defense for Journalists, which will begin in February 2015.

Our first workshop, for activists, will be on Sunday, January 18. Registration is not yet open. The time, location and curriculum will be announced when registration opens next week. Curriculum will include securing your phone and computer (and related communication) for on-the-ground activists, no matter if you’re an organizer or participant.


There will be no form of registration that will record who is attending, so no Facebook, Meetup, or email invites of any kind. This is done to protect the privacy of the attendees. Depending on our workshop space, we will have a limit to how many people we can accommodate. We’ll know how many people to expect based on how many anonymous surveys are submitted.

Below is a set of draft survey questions that we’ll be asking each participant to answer before they attend. They have been created with the help of Internews’ SaferJourno project. We’re putting these here now just to give you an idea of what kinds of things we’ll be educating you about:

  1. Do you use a cell phone when participating in protests?
  2. What is the operating system of the cell phone that you take to protests?
  3. Select the capabilities of said cell phone:
    1. Phone calls
    2. SMS (text messaging)
    3. Data (internet access via 2G, 3G, or 4G)
    4. Bluetooth
    5. Camera
    6. Video camera
    7. (fill in the blank)
  4. When participating in protests, what communication platforms do you use?
    1. Google Hangouts
    2. Apple iMessage
    3. SMS/texts
    4. Facebook Chat
    5. Email
    6. Twitter
    7. (fill in the blank)
  5. Do you know any differences between HTTP and HTTPS?
  6. Have you used privacy enhancing tools such as a VPN or Tor, either on a computer or on a cell phone?
  7. Have you ever sent an encrypted email before?
  8. Is your cell phone password protected?
    1. Yes, with a pin number
    2. Yes, with a password
    3. Yes, with a pattern
    4. Yes, with a fingerprint
    5. Yes, with a faceprint
    6. No
  9. Is your cell phone’s storage encrypted?
  10. Do you know what an IMSI-catcher, or “Stingray”, is?
  11. Regarding the personal computer that you use to coordinate protests, what is its operating system?
  12. Have you ever had a personal computing device seized or confiscated?
  13. Are you currently a victim of active surveillance?
  14. Do you drive, carpool, bus, bike, or walk to protests?
    1. Drive
    2. Carpool
    3. Bus
    4. Bike
    5. Walk
  15. Do you use your electronic debit, credit, and/or bus card(s) before, during, or after attending a protest?
    1. Yes, debit/credit
    2. Yes, bus (Orca) card
    3. No
  16. Do you have access to a technical specialist when you have questions about digital safety tools and practices?
  17. What topics would you like to see covered at this workshop?
  18. Will you be bringing your cell phone or laptop to the workshop? We encourage you to for our hands-on training.

Please be sure to check back here next week for registration! For organizing queries, please send an (ideally PGP encrypted) email to “yawnbox at riseup dot net”. If you’re a security or legal educator and wish to get involved, please email me.


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