A Legal Guide to Digital Security for Arab Human Rights Activists

The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), in Egypt, has issued a “legal guide to digital security” as part of its digital freedoms program. AFTE is an independent Association, established in 2006, interested in issues related the protection of freedom of thought and expression.

The guide was produced for campaigners and human rights activists and lawyers interested in digital freedom of expression and the confidentiality of communications and information stored on mobile phones, computers or any other device used to store or distribute data or information. They argue that security problems can present a risk to both users and others, particularly in the case of users living under repressive regimes that restrict freedom of expression and the right to privacy and in countries where activists using the internet and other digital services often face vague charges such as “misuse of communications networks” or “insulting individuals and organisations by means of digital publishing.”

The legal guide to digital security is divided into two parts: the first is a technical manual for ways to secure data and information and how to combat snooping or infiltration; the second is a collection of legal advice for people facing prosecution charged with publishing digital content illegally.

The guide, published as part of the digital freedoms program by the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, stands out for its emphasis on the legal aspects of digital security and its attempt to explain the most important aspects to be considered during investigations and trials related to crimes of digital publication, where the perpetrators often enjoy a greater degree of anonymity than is the case with other crimes. The technical part of the guide provides a number of tools for digital safety related to browsing, file editing, data storage, restoring lost files, combating viruses and thwarting snooping attempts as well as other tools.

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