“Assert your rights—we’ve got your back.” Since CLDC 2003 has defended activists’ constitutional rights in the courts and—through our Dissent & Democracy trainings—in the streets. While our core mission to provide activist legal education and support remains important as ever, our world is very different from the one fought for up to the 1990s by forest defenders and human and non-human animal liberation activists.
Activist groups today are equipped with widespread and affordable digital cameras, satellite navigation, and instantaneous global communications and social networking. These technologies provide significant organizing advantages. At the same time State and corporate opponents will turn these complex tools against activists, enabling systematic surveillance and sophisticated infiltration and disruption.
In a world where millions of digital communications are silently intercepted, collected, and stored every day, how do activists effectively say “I do not consent to this search?” As in a physical encounter with law enforcement, we must be proactive. Online, this means using encryption along with other privacy-protecting and autonomy-preserving tools.
Our choice of tools is of vital importance—corporate digital infrastructure that may be convenient to use can be relied upon to snitch on anyone accused of making trouble for racist, neocolonial and patriarchal government agencies and exploitative or toxic industries.
Community-driven, trustworthy, and proven digital security tools exist, but can require a sometimes steep learning curve. Also, all technologies have certain limitations. Knowing exactly what these are is crucial to using them safely and effectively. Finally, technology changes faster than the law. New backdoors and security flaws are discovered by researchers—or leaked to journalists by inside dissenters—every week.
CLDC is committed to educating our activist communities on the tools that can be used with confidence by dissident organizers to resist surveillance and remain free to take action. We’ll post updated recommendations for different levels of risk and tolerance for complexity.
On our security blog, we will document surveillance tactics as they are exposed by journalists, security researchers, and Freedom of Information Act requests, and provide activists with regular updates on surveillance methods.
Through trainings, workshops, and ongoing outreach to activist groups, radical online service providers, and privacy tech developers, we’ll help build resources to assist political movements in keeping their communications secure to empower grassroots organizing. This will include working with partners on platforms that can be rapidly deployed to protect communications within large, spontaneous movements.
Please contact us for comments, suggestions, or questions at and, as always, you can donate to support this work.
Recommendations for Secure Video and Conference Calls
PSA: Zoom shouldn’t be trusted for video/conference calls.
The short read: Should Zoom should be trusted to keep your group calls secret? Only as far as you would trust Microsoft, Google, or Facebook—as far as CLDC is concerned, not at all. If you must keep using Zoom, please make sure that […]
Private In-Person Meetings
To cut to the chase, keeping your phone in a high-quality Faraday bag will conceal your location. This stops the State from tracking your every move, which can be really important in some situations. We recommend this one right here. You can support CLDC’s work by buying one from […]
Keybase is Offering Me Free Money–Is This a Scam?
The short version: if you’ve been using Keybase, you’re not the only one who has received an “airdrop” of the cryptocurrency Lumens (XLM). This is nothing to worry about, and you can safely participate in it or ignore it. It’s Keybase promoting XLM, which is part of their funding […]
Does ProtonMail Snitch?
Since this Register article was recently published, some activists are concerned about whether or not ProtonMail can be trusted.
The CLDC has expressed reservations that ProtonMail may not be the best choice for activists. Despite the worrisome recent news, ProtonMail is nevertheless a reasonable choice for encrypted email. As […]
Google and Facebook give your data to cops
We dislike G**gle and F*c*book. Here is one reason.
Every year, Google and Facebook hand over data from roughly one hundred thousand user accounts to law enforcement and other requesters. Many of these requests come in the form of subpoenas, which do not require probable cause, can originate out of criminal […]
Passwords: Best practices
If you do nothing else, use a password manager (keepassxc.org, lastpass.com, 1password.com) that is protected by a strong password — here’s a checklist and a zine to help you make one.
At a minimum, we recommend:
- Using a different password for every account or login, so that if one account is compromised, […]
Introduction to Digital Security for Activists (Training Slides)
Activists who do not encrypt their communications put themselves and others at risk of surveillance. Encryption is more important than ever, but also much easier to use than it once was. We will give an overview of state-of-the-art secure communications tools, discuss trade-offs and considerations in choosing the right tools […]
The importance of authenticity
Short of meeting face-to-face with a person you really know, it is sometimes impossible to know if the person you are communicating with is who you think it is.
Advanced GPG Email Encryption: Self-Study Guide
So, you’re set up to use GPG email encryption using Thunderbird+Enigmail in one of our trainings or using our online guide. The following exercises will help reinforce key concepts and teach you some advanced tricks.
Importing (and fingerprinting) public keys
Now that you are using GPG email encryption, you will need […]
GPG email encryption guides
Because the confidentiality of your encrypted email relies also on others’ settings, for maximum safety until this flaw is patched, please use encrypted instant messengers like, Keybase, Wire or Signal for the most sensitive communications.
We recommend people use End-to-End Encrypted communications whenever possible […]
Outrun the Bear: ProtonMail is Not for Activists
Here, we take a look at easy-to-use ProtonMail -- and why we at the CLDC can't recommend it (or its security model) for people opposing the powerful.
What happens to deleted emails?
In response to a question to the Digital Security for Activists program:
How secure is it to delete email and other internet documents? Who owns the deletions– the email provider, the ISP, the owner of the server/hardware? The person/entity who wrote it? The person/entity who received it?
After deleting an email, you […]