To empower vulnerable communities through secure technologies and practices.
We believe that privacy is a basic human right.
These values are how we carry out that belief:
In fact, little conclusive research has been conducted on what causes security-positive behavior change. Our study of uptake, supported by the Open Tech Fund, will help trainers, developers, and funders understand what causes at-risk users to adopt security tools and secure communication habits. It consists of an assessment on the current digital security training landscape and a corresponding study comparing 3-4 training methodologies with two groups of activists in Belarus and Central Asia in 2015 and 2016.
We expect to create a baseline of data and guidelines that allows the Internet freedom community to make evidence-based and cost-effective decisions about how we put tools and knowledge into the hands of people living under censorship and surveillance around the world. Further, the project will cultivate a cadre of expert users of privacy and circumvention tools in Belarus and Central Asia. We hope to connect our test communities with open-source tool developers for much-needed user testing, and to create a positive feedback loop for tool use and usability.
We apply the findings from our secure tool adoption research and experiences with our human-centered auditing program to empower networks of activists to explore and define security strategies that work best for them. In January 2015, we piloted a community-driven effort to develop and adopt minimum security standards across a network of Central Asian human rights defenders.
We work with individuals and organizations to gain the skills and confidence to assess their own risks and evolve with the threats they face, ultimately eliminating the need for outside support. We focus heavily on follow-up frameworks - both technical and non-technical - as part of affecting behavior change. Our approach mitigates the effects of stress on learning by incorporating trauma-sensitive techniques, self-care practices, and psychological support.
Surveillance has become a mix of technical infiltration and socially-engineered attacks that aim to exploit human errors.
Until now, we’ve countered the threats posed by digital surveillance only with technical solutions. Increasingly elaborate security tools become increasingly enigmatic for everyday users, and organizational security is siloed off to understaffed or outsourced IT departments.
To do this, we’ve developed and iterated a security auditing program that shifts team cultures to embed security as a shared responsibility. We borrow from multiple fields and diverse backgrounds to create a model that depends on full team engagement, understanding specific team dynamics, and how teams can protect each other (and therefore, their organization) best.
FreedomHack, Washington, D.C., August 2013
We brought US developers and programmers and Mexican journalists and activists together to design and re-engineer secure communication technologies.
uVirtus Launch Party, Washington, D.C., October 2013
Help Desk Happy Hour, Mexico City, November 2013
RightsCon Panel, San Francisco, March
Shauna spoke about digital security issues in the international development context at RightsCon, Losing a Battle We Didn’t Know We Were Fighting: Surveillance and the Developing World, in our first collaboration with Sarah and the Arzuw Foundation.
Training + Tool Testing, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, March
We traveled to six countries where Arzuw’s Turkmen students were studying to beta-test Briar with them and researched the use of commercial surveillance software in the area.
Strategies for Digital Security in Development Projects, Washington, D.C., May
The symposium, held in partnership with AppropriateIT, The ISC Project, and IREX, convened 70 human rights activists, technologist, and international development experts to discuss digital security issues in international development and how to address them.
Weird Science House Party Fundraiser, Washington, D.C., July
With 100 of our closest friends, we toasted CommunityRED with sangria and jello shots, painted our faces to thwart facial recognition software, and auctioned off a 3-D printer.
ADAPT Kick-off, Washington, D.C., August
With a Knight Foundation Prototype Fund grant, we began to build an open-source, mobile game application, ADAPT, that teaches self-threat assessment skills as a scalable, lower-cost alternative to traditional digital security trainings.
We traveled to the US/Mexican border to engage journalists in discussions of physical, psycho-social and digital security. In this holistic style of training, we added trauma resilience and self-care to our curriculum.
International Press Freedom Awards, New York City, November
We attend the awards as a guest of the Ford Motor Company, hung with our friends at the Committee to Protect Journalists, and even made some new ones.
501c3 Exemption Status, Washington, D.C., December
2015: taking off!
Minimum Security Standards Pilot, Warsaw, January
With a coalition of Central Asian human rights defenders, we piloted a community-driven effort to develop and adopt minimum security standards across an entire network of individuals and devices.
Auditing Program, Washington, D.C., January
We began the auditing program in earnest, piloting the program with Global Zero, a DC-based disarmament organization.
Amid increasing requests for security support from activists, disarmament groups, and human rights organizations based in North America, we spun off TechHUG , a U.S. LLC, that performs our holistic security audits.
Battle Testing Privacy Tools Launch, Washington, D.C., June
After several years of performing digital security trainings, we are hitting refresh. With the support of the Open Tech Fund, we are studying what causes the adoption of security tools with Belarusians and Central Asians in 2015 and 2016.
International Workshop on Misogyny on the Internet, Boston, June
Co-Founder and Executive Director
An advocate for free speech, technology activism, and secure communities, Shauna has worked as a global security analyst, focusing on the intersections of social media, politics, and transnational crime in Mexico and Latin America. She trained law enforcement in social media exploitation. Shauna’s work in security began with a National Security Education Program Boren Fellowship to research political tolerance in Beijing, China. Shauna represented CommunityRED at the 2014 RightsCon, 2013 Netroots Nation, and 2013 SXSW Interactive. In 2012, Shauna delivered a presentation on Mexican drug cartels’ use of social media at SXSW and at the Gatlinburg Law Enforcement Conference. She received a master’s degree from the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, and a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University. She is fluent in Spanish with a working knowledge of Mandarin, Portuguese, French and Hebrew.