Digital Security for Unions and Advocacy Groups/NGOs

— a 4-part series

[FYI: SMT’s Online Organizing Coaching Program Q&A June 22]

The series includes three 90-minute webinars and a Q&A session, held Thursdays May 25 – June 15, 2017,  1-2:30pm EST. [Time zone converter for NGOs and activists outside North America]

Digital threats facing progressives have been growing for a while. But with corporations newly empowered to track and profit from our every move online, the Trump administration controlling mass data collection and surveillance, and an empowered Far Right with its share of online hackers, more organizers, IT managers, and Exec Directors than ever are motivated to take digital security seriously.

We’ll cover the immediate and common threats we face — at the organizational and personal levels — and how to make wise decisions about trade-offs. Starting in the first session, you’ll learn immediate and practical ways to protect your organization and yourself. From there we’ll take you through approaches to building strong digital security and cover the landscape of digital security for organizing as a whole.

We’ll walk you through the internal discussions and judgement calls to put together a digital security process for your group that is actionable and accessible. We’ll also discuss specific challenges in different organizational contexts, including attending protests, remote organizations, with vendors, and working in coalition or as a network.

Registrants will receive the recording and slides to each session as well as sample plans and templates, within 2-3 days of each session.

Organizations are encouraged to involve 2-3 staff members in this training to prepare a committee that can work together.

Session I:  Digital Security 101  + Threats to Organizers

  • What is digital security (beyond the hype), and why it matters for organizers
  • Steps to building a digital security process: threat modeling, compartmentalization, implementation
  • The political history of government surveillance, and how that shapes digital security today
  • Major threats and their capabilities
  • Three critical tools to improve your security you can start using immediately

Session II:  Priorities for Creating a Secure Workflow + Tools and Tactics

  • Digital security workflow, particularly compartmentalization and how to secure your data in all forms
  • Best practices in ‘digital hygiene’
  • Tools and tactics for every ‘compartment’ of your digital security plan
  • How to assess usefulness of tactics and tools presented for your organization
  • One secure workflow you can use with your team

Session III: Digital security for specific cases and roles

  • Working with remote staff
  • Working with vendors
  • Organizing network or coalition security protocols
  • Protest security
  • Challenges and next developments in digital security for organizing

Session IV: Q&A re: next steps

Registrants will receive the recording and slides to each session as well as sample plans and templates, within 2-3 days of each session.


H Kapp-Klote, Online/Offline Campaigner, SMT.  H has organized on and offline for the last decade, starting as a queer youth organizer in Kansas. Formerly the Digital Director for GetEQUAL, a LGBTQ organizing network, H’s online storytelling campaigns have reframed what constitutes “LGBTQ issues.”  From supporting cryptoparties to one on one training, H is passionate about helping organizations and individuals build strong digital security practices, and compiled the resource “Things to Know About Web Security Before Trump’s Inauguration: A Harm Reductionist Guide.” H uses a variety of online tools to tell stories that can both win real victories and bring people most impacted by harm into the movement.

Jonathan Stribling-Uss, Esq., SMT Staff Partner. Directs Constitutional Communications, a nonprofit organization that specializes in information security for professionals and civil society organizations. Has led trainings for hundreds of attorneys and law students on cybersecurity, professional ethics, international law, and attorney-client communications with the NYCLA Bar Association, Law For Black Lives, and the Continuing Legal Resource Network at CUNY. Has trained journalists, foundations, activists, and technologists from more than 40 countries at the Center for Constitutional Rights, Thoughtworks global corporation, the International Development Exchange, the Legal Clinics of the CUNY School of Law, and The Florestan Fernandes National School in Brazil. His work was recently featured in NY Magazine, The Indypendent, and Brazil de Fato news magazine.

Freddy Martinez is a reformed physicist who now works as a system administrator by night. Current focus is on police accountability and transparency while other interests include computer security, hacking and open source software. A long-time Chicagoan, his focus for the future includes issues around cell phone privacy, working with marginalized communities and the intersection of digital rights and activism. Board member of Lucy Parsons Labs, a transparency non-profit that seeks to engage the Chicago community in a horizontal manner while organizing around digital rights issues, supporting free and open source projects and seeking the free flow of information globally.

Allen Gunn, SMT Advisor. Executive Director, Aspiration. Gunner works to help NGOs, activists, foundations and software developers make more effective use of technology for social change. He is an active facilitator, contributor, advisor, and/or partner in a number of open projects, including The Tor Project, OpenReferral, Open Architecture Collaborative, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, Simply Secure, and Mozilla. He is a board member of The Ruckus Society, Global Exchange, and Peer 2 Peer University, and also serves in formal advisory roles with CorpWatch, LocalizED, Ranking Digital Rights, The Center for Tech Cultivation, The Engine Room, The Everett Program, United for Iran, and The Rosetta Foundation.

hannahHeadshot2013 100pxHannah Roditi, Executive Director, SMT. Long-time union, community and faith-based organizer. Has designed and led social media training for groups from D.C. to Oakland as well as on-line trainings with up to 500 organizers, including in Spanish and bilingually for mixed language groups, works with unions and organizing groups across the country to help them ramp up with social media to build power and win campaigns. The use of new tech tools to strengthen on-the-ground organizing and ramp up pressure on targets is a passion of Hannah’s.


$180   General registration per person

$90   If affiliated with an SMT Outreach Partner organization that is helping to get the word out about this training. (After registering please forward the email you received from the Outreach Partner to so we can approve your registration with the discount. Discount applies only if Outreach Partner is doing broad outreach.) Funders, networks and associations of groups can become SMT Outreach Partners to enable their networks to get up to 50% off training.

$350 Group rate – up to 10 people associated with one organization – the best way to build understanding and support within your organization. (As soon as we receive your payment, we’ll send you a link where your folks can register directly.) Group rates are to be used within one organization only. [If you need additional seats, email us.]

(Some of the orgs/unions that have paid group rates for past SMT trainings: Food & Water Watch, First Unitarian Congregation of Ann Arbor, Emerge USA, National Juvenile Justice Network, IAMAW Machinists Union – Southern Territory, National Air Traffic Controllers Assoc, the Moriah Fund, Jewish Voice for Peace, CLAC–Christian Labour Assoc of Canada, Washington Education Association, NH Investing in Communities Initiative, ILCA (International Labor Communications Association), UE United Electrical Workers Union, CSEA New York, Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, Oakland Education Association, UA Plumbers Local 1, Michigan Education Association, UNITEHERE, ProGeorgia, Choose Clean Water Coalition, 1199 SEIU Healthcare PA,  1199 SEIU-UHE MD/DC Region, Put People First! PA, Indiana State Teachers Assoc, Pacific Media Workers – UPTE CWA, Right to the City, American Friends Service Committee, Oceana, Wild Earth Guardians & many others)

NOTE: After payment please wait a few seconds to be routed to the webinar registration page. You must register on that page too if registering as an individual.