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U.S. | Police State and Prisons

Secure(r) Communications for your Campaign
by UBEW
Wednesday Jan 2nd, 2013 2:31 PM
The following came form a brainstorm with UBEW members at the request of locals planning an environmental defense campaign. It discusses only secure(r) communications, but does not talk about the larger ramifications of creating a security culture.

SEVEN PRACTICAL SECURITY, TRUST, AND PRIVACY SUGGESTIONS FOR YOUR CAMPAIGN

  1. Trust! Action planning should happen IN PERSON with people who are trusted or vouched for.
  2. Privacy! People should NEVER share other people's emails, names, phone numbers, and personal info without their consent.
  3. Separate! Use a SEPARATE organizer email list from an announcement email list.
  4. Outreach! Add people to the organizer list only AFTER you have physically met them and if they have been vouched for.
  5. Secure! Assume email is insecure. Action planning should NEVER be discussed on the internet.
  6. Communicate! Use the organizer list to announce MEETINGS, but never to discuss strategy or details of actions.
  7. Announce! Public info (open actions, etc) should be ANNOUNCED as widely as necessary at the strategically appropriate time.

Bonus Suggestions

  • If at a planning meeting, someone isn't present to vouch for someone, ask them to leave. Also trust your intuition.
  • If organizing actions, use an email that is unconnected to the rest of your life.
  • Social networking may be fine to announce public info, but is otherwise terrible security-wise, since you have no control over how it is distributed. Social networking sites often provide ways for the authorities to easily gather information.
  • Be aware of your email chains. Have an understanding about what can be forwarded or copied.
  • Text message are more easily searchable for the authorities (legally and technically) than just about any medium. Be aware.
  • If you use email of SMS, don't talk in code. Authorities have argued in court that coded words or deliberately obscured references were allusions to even worse things.
  • Public members, such as spokespeople, should not participate in actions (and possibly planning), because they will be targeted. The less they know, the safer everyone is.
  • If open-organizing low-risk actions, some of the above guidelines can be loosened, but be cautious.
  • Note that we didn't mention email encryption. While the technology is sound, it still hampers rather than facilitates communication, since implementing secure email is still technically challenging for non-tech people.