The rabble podcast network offers an alternative take on politics, entertainment, society, stories, community and life in general. All opinions belong to the podcaster; however, podcasters are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new podcasters -- contact us for details.

Defending social movements against digital threats

On this week's episode of Talking Radical Radio, Scott Neigh speaks with Dmitri Vitaliev. He is a co-founder and director of eQualit.ie, a non-profit based in Montreal that helps human rights organizations and social movements -- including some of the world's most prominent -- deal with increasingly crucial questions of online security and digital privacy.

Information technology and the many resources and tools that comprise the online world are, for better or worse, integral to how most activist and organizing efforts in North America today do their work. Yet according to today's guest, activists and organizers in this country are considerably less aware than those in most of the rest of the world when it comes both to the digital threats they face (from surveillance to disruption) and to the skills and tools necessary to counter these threats.

Dmitri Vitaliev is an IT professional who has for many years specialized in digital security and privacy technology in support of people who are engaged in independent media work and people who are on the frontlines of struggles for rights, justice, and freedom around the world. He has done a great deal of work to create resources and to build knowledge and capacity on these questions among activists and organizers.

In recent years, that work has primarily happened in the context of eQualit.ie, an organization that defines its mission as being "to promote and defend fundamental freedoms and human rights" through working to "create accessible technology and improve the skill set needed for defending human rights and freedoms in the digital age." They aim to do this in large part through creating digital tools of various kinds, but also through education and capacity building. One area of particular expertise has been defending activist websites against what are called "distributed denial of service" attacks, a means of online attack meant to knock websites offline. Though most of the groups that they work with prefer not to be named, a couple of prominent websites they have been enlisted to protect and that have given permission to be identified publicly include Black Lives Matter in the United States and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (or BDS) movement that emerged from Palestinian civil society and has been taken up around the world.

Vitaliev talks with me about his own history of contributions to human rights work as an IT professional, about the work of eQualit.ie, about the relatively low level of interest and knowledge on these questions among many activist and organizers in North America, and about what we can do to start changing that.

To learn more about the work of eQualit.ie, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada. We give you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show check out its website here. You can also follow us on FaceBook or Twitter, or contact scottneigh@talkingradical.ca to join our weekly email update list.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Hamilton (formerly Sudbury), Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

The image that was modified for use in this post is the logo of eQualit.ie, taken from its website.

Like this podcast? rabble is reader-supported journalism.

Thank you for reading this story...

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all. But media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our only supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help.

If everyone who visits rabble and likes it chipped in a couple of dollars per month, our future would be much more secure and we could do much more: like the things our readers tell us they want to see more of: more staff reporters and more work to complete the upgrade of our website.

We’re asking if you could make a donation, right now, to set rabble on solid footing in 2017.

Make a donation.Become a monthly supporter.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.