Cybersecurity Clinics for Activists

posted in: Cybersecurity, Ongoing, Projects | 0


Project leader: Priya

Activists face many threats as they advocate for social good. To combat these threats, they need to be well-equipped to conduct their activities securely – for instance, to:

  • Share files within an organization without outside parties gaining access
  • Communicate and collaborate digitally without having messages intercepted
  • Maintain physical security and secure smartphones at a protest

Our group runs cybersecurity clinics specifically catered towards activists, providing general education/advice as well as personalized support. We’re also seeking other ways to best educate the Pittsburgh activist community about cybersecurity.


Project team

Our project team consists of a mix of “cybersecurity experts” and general technical people. We welcome anyone interested in this topic to join the team, whether they’re coming in with expertise or are excited to learn on the job!



We held three “monthly” clinics in March, April, and May of 2017. We also held a personalized teach-in at a local organization to help them install and set up a password manager.

The format of each monthly clinic was as follows:

  • Short presentations
    • Topics: Secure filesharing, separating online identities
  • Small-group discussions
  • One-on-one consultations

Based on feedback from attendees, we believe that these clinics were valuable to those who attended. However, attendance was somewhat low; upon discussion with other cybersecurity groups, we found that they had had similar issues with attendance. Together with these other groups, we brainstormed that planning “pop-up clinics” at existing activist events might be a better path forward.


Next steps

Our main goal this year (2017-18) is to set up a framework for and then run some pop-up clinics.

We also hope to

  • Formally measure activists’ understanding to improve clinics’ effectiveness
  • Generate online resources based on our conversations with activists
  • Provide resources to other organizations that want to hold similar clinics
  • Provide clinics catered to specific activists subgroups or organizations


More information

To stay updated on events, please follow our Cybersecurity Clinics Facebook page or join our mailing list. We will also send updates through the Tech4Society mailing list.

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