Project Title - Usability and Community Intervention on Support for Democracy and Human Rights
Project Period: December 1, 2017 - December 31, 2020
Summary - implement an intervention in support of activists and others fighting for their rights under repressive and unstable regimes. This intervention will specifically target organizers on the ground in Colombia, Kenya, and Uganda and provide training on how to use the Tor Network through desktop and mobile devices in order to communicate anonymously and securely.
Objective 1: Eliminate censorship barriers that prevent agents of change from influencing political, civic, social, and environmental discourse, organization, and activism via the Internet.
- Goal 1.1: Empower agents of change to circumvent censorship blocks to Internet access. Goal 1.2: As censorship blocks evolve, empower impacted groups to impel corresponding updates in anti-censorship technologies.
Objective 2: Empower agents of change to act against corruption and abuses of human rights and safety when and where they are observed, through publication, activism, whistle-blowing, and reporting, irrespective of physical location.
- Goal 2.1: Provide access to secure, untraceable communications in places where censorship of mobile web access and app usage is increasing.
Objective 3: Reduce the technological barriers that isolate marginalized individuals and cultural and civic groups,including women and other historically oppressed groups, from actively participating in broad dialouges about peace-building and situational improvement.
- Goal 3.1: Increase awareness of Tor as a means for marginalized and oppressed groups to avert imposed barriers to online access.
- Goal 3.2: Reframe Tor as a user-friendly consumer product, not tool just for technologists.
Objective 4: Reduce opportunities for oppressive actors to identify, locate, physically or digitally attack, and persecute agents of change.
- Goal 4.1: Empower agents of change to avert online surveillance and to communicate as anonymously as they wish.
Objective 5: Empower vulnerable individuals to safely and securely communicate, organize, share resources, and express opinions using Internet resources without fear of retaliation or recrimination due to negative surveillance.
- Goal 5.1: Cultivate a general understanding of online threat models and risks related to oppressive surveillance.
- Goal 5.2: Empower vulnerable groups to freely connect, learn, and engage online without fear of identification, retaliation, or recrimination.
- Goal 5.3: Reduce technological barriers to safe, secure communications.
Phase 1 Goals
- Establish strong relationships with the local communities where we will work.
- Get a good understanding of user needs and threat models in each country.
- Document user problems identified during trainings and tests to be fixed in phase 2.
- Establish strong relationships with partners within each country who will work with us on phase 2.
- Gather information about whether it is secure to run OONI tests to learn about censorship events in targeted countries.
Phase 2 Goals
- Visit new countries and perform the work listed on phase 1 (threat modeling, training, user testing, etc.).
- Finish our new sites based on feedback we received during our visits to phase 1 target countries. It is especially important to have these resources translated for non-native English speakers.
- Iterate and improve our training materials based on our experience during our visits.
- Diversify the availability of our materials with more materials that can be printed and distributed (not only digital). This goal is based on feedback we received during our visits to target countries during phase 1.
- Analyze and organize the user problems identified during phase 1 so we can start to address them in the product.
Phase 3 Goals
- Develop a pilot for a training program to teach our training partners how to document and communicate usability issues to Tor. Our training partners already work with marginalized individuals and historically oppressed groups. In partnering with them to carry out this program, we can achieve our second strategic objective to reduce technological barriers that isolate these groups from actively participating in peace building and situational improvement.
- Triage usability issues into improvement requirements and translate those to software development tasks to build into Tor Browser incremental releases, also known as “nightly builds.” As a direct result of this program, we will improve our existing resources, such as the Tor Project website and portals, Tor Browser, and Tor Browser for Android to empower agents of change to safely access the internet to carry out their work, as per our first strategic objective.
- Share incremental releases containing improvements with communities that reported the original usability issues to validate our approach. Through this approach, we can ensure that we are making improvements to make our products more accessible to these specific groups. This helps to achieve our third strategic objective to enable agents of change to stay safe in the face of oppressive actors.
- Document processes and findings publicly to share knowledge with the rest of the community. These resources will work towards achieving our fourth strategic objective to empower vulnerable individuals to safely and securely communicate, organize, share resources, and express opinions using Internet resources.