Transmission 1

May 13

Security Without Borders (SWB) is a collective of hackers and security professionals who provide technical assistance to civil society and activists that are dedicated to the international, non-violent struggle to protect fundamental human rights.

While the advent of Internet has provided unprecedented channels for expression, it has also enabled repressive actors new opportunities to quash dissent and persecute at-risk communities. As the Internet becomes ingrained in every aspect of life, security and privacy cannot continue to be afforded to only the privileged elite. Security Without Borders is dedicated to the defense of fundamental human rights, internationally-recognized principles enshrined in documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Security Without Borders is committed to anti-racism, anti-fascism, and anti-sexism.

Whereas commercial entities, governments, and the defense sector have ample resources to protect themselves from digital threats, civil society remains vulnerable against groups that are as equally interested in repressing dissent aspursuing foreign espionage. Security Without Borders is devoted to shifting power imbalances in favor of the people. Security Without Borders will provide digital security assistance to organizations to harden infrastructure against attacks, perform incident response to secure organizations, engage in public education, and produce research on the threats posed to activists. Among our members we count penetration testers, malware analysts, reverse engineers, vulnerability researchers, and software developers. Security Without Borders is a member of a larger community dedicated to protecting civil society through providing security assistance and incident response. The initiative is by no mean an attempt to duplicate or replace those efforts, but instead to complement them through providing specialized technical expertise. As an inclusive organization, our desire is to partner with human rights and digital rights communities. We are here to help, not to compete.

Security Without Borders endeavours to promote participation in the security community, enabling a new generation of security professionals to play a collaborative role in civil society. Trust is essential toward being a responsible and effective partner in an environment where lives are at stake. Security Without Borders currently consists of a set of trusted individuals operating as a Central Committee (SWBC). This group is responsible for setting organization policy and handling assistance requests, and only its members are currently entitled to speak on behalf of Security Without Borders.

Currently, we welcome requests for assistance through a public form on our website, which we are working to refine and clarify. Please refrain from using it as a way to inform us about your willingness to volunteer, as all unrelated messages pollute our response pipeline. Moving forward, we hope to establish channels with existing human rights and digital rights organizations in order to leverage their existing networks and emergency response programs, and assist them in their missions. Requests for assistance are normally processed and executed internally by SWBC. Due to a requirement of confidentiality and operational security, we are not able to share details on requests and involve the larger community in every assistance process.

However, Security Without Borders is also dedicated to supporting technical groups to be involved in their community, and encourages the creation of local, decentralized initiatives — especially important in the current social and political climate. Since the announcement of Security Without Borders at 33c3, we have received a groundswell of positive feedback and engagement. The network of people that is autonomously assembling around Security Without Borders is an extremely valuable resource, and we invite all to use it, find each other, meet, organize, and do good in a responsible manner and in respect of our core principles described earlier. Many have reached out to us offering their help. We encourage those motivated to participate to become involved in those groups within their own communities in order to understand the needs that exist in diverse contexts, to review the information security training literature that has been produced, and to suggest opportunities for collaboration on our public channels.

As with any new initiative that grows too quickly, we are concerned with making sure we do things appropriately and minimize the risk of unaffiliated individuals abusing our network and name to cause harm. There is still a lot to figure out. As a next step we will be reaching to the broader human rights and civil society communities to collect an initial set of needs. Over the coming weeks, we will begin to formalize the structures, broaden the representativeness of Security Without Borders, and expand the channels to participate.

Stay tuned.

Claudio Guarnieri
Collin Anderson
Andreas Lindh
Johan Rydberg Möller
Core Group — Security Without Borders