Digital Security Guide for Environmental Rights Defenders in Africa

Written by Samuel Maina for Global Voices

A new digital security guide seeks to help environmental rights defenders in Sub-Saharan Africa protect themselves and their communities. Developed by Tactical Technology Collective, a Berlin-based info-activism organization, the guide was developed through a collaborative process with groups working in this field across the region.

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 1.09.57 PMThe fight to save the environment and natural resources that impoverished communities depend on is intensifying as oil and gas are discovered in more and more places throughout Africa. The loss of land to agricultural multinationals and the building of mega-dams is increasing. Extraction of myriad other resources and poaching are all at an all-time high. In the middle of all this, environmental rights defenders (ERDs) are struggling to make corporations and governments accountable to the people and to defend the integrity of ecosystems.

Reports released by such organizations as Global Witness, particularly the “Dangerous Environment“ report, show a sharp increase in known killings of environmental and land defenders by their adversaries worldwide. The report shows that three times as many people were killed in 2012 than 10 years before.

With the growth of technology and increasing use of digital advocacy and communication tools to do their work, ERDs in Africa are increasingly becoming vulnerable to cyber-attacks and harassment. Governments and corporations are targeting ERDs through loopholes left in their digital life.

In response to these trends, Tactical Technology Collective launched a digital security guide targeted specifically for environmental rights defenders.

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