After this summer’s surveillance revelations, there has been a growing interest from the journalism community on tools available at their disposal to protect communications. Different organizations are compiling guidelines on digital security, describing tools and strategies that can be applied.

However, not all journalists out there are necessarily interested in technology or learning to code, and getting them to start using new tools to protect them from untrusted monitoring can prove daunting since habits are often difficult to change. Training for digital security is blooming, but it can prove to be expensive, funding is not always available, and the number of people who can be reached is limited.

security for journalists and activists

That’s why on the December 4, The Guardian Project started a series of Google on Air Hangouts that aim to bring together a group of technologists involved in developing apps to protect communications via the Internet and those people who need it the most, journalists and activists.

The Guardian Project is partnering with different organizations, such as the Rory Peck Trust, to increase awareness of some of the risks surrounding mobile technology. The Rory Peck Trust is an organization based in London that works directly with freelance journalists to provide training support and assistance to freelancers who are in a crisis situation and operate in high-risk areas. The organization has developed one of the best-documented guides on digital security available online.

The first Hangout also had photographers Giulio Petrocco and Victor Breiner; freelance journalist Emma Beals, who is part of the Frontline Freelance Register’s governing committee; and Marcel Mettelsiefen, a freelance filmmaker and Rory Peck Award finalist. The Hangouts aim to be an open forum in which journalists interested in these issues can have a space to ask questions related to digital security no matter where they are or what their level of expertise is.

The second event of this kind will be conducted in the coming months, and more details will be announced soon.

Diana del Olmo is currently Communications Manager at The Guardian Project, an organization that creates easy-to-use open source apps for people around the world to help them communicate more freely, and protect themselves from intrusion and monitoring. Diana is currently bridging the gap between those who creates technology and those who need it the most by raising awareness on digital security. Previously, she worked extensively in conflict and post conflict countries such as South Sudan where she was working with the UN and Afghanistan where she was part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She holds a Masters of Public Administration from Columbia University and a BA in Economics with Development Studies from Sussex University.