Security in the Wild for Low-Profile Activists

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 - 1:30pm2:00pm

Zeynep Tufekci, University of North Carolina and The New York Times


Why are many activists more worried about what their mom knows than being tortured? And what does this mean for their digital communication habits and methods? Will they add an extra five minutes to their log-on routine--even if their lives are on the line? Why not?  Why are they likely to trust SMS second-factor authentication rather than a more secure "security key"? How could we change their mind? Why are content policies part of security? Why do so many activists ask me more about how to be public and how to prove they took the pictures they did, than ask me about hiding their tracks?  Why do activists really need to hide their tracks when it comes to personal information, but not necessarily political communication? Can governments defeat end-to-end security with just a rumor?  I draw on more than a decade of studying digital habits and needs of activists in a variety of countries, ranging from developed countries to fairly repressive ones to share what I know about security and safety in the networked public sphere, especially for non-high profile activists and ordinary people. 

Zeynep Tufekci, University of North Carolina and the New York Times

Zeynep Tufekci is an associate professor at the University of North Carolina and a contributing opinion writer at the New York Times. Her book titled "Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protests" will be published by Yale University Press.

@conference {202508,
author = {Zeynep Tufekci},
title = {Security in the Wild for {Low-Profile} Activists},
year = {2017},
address = {Oakland, CA},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = jan,

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