Announcing our new project looking into the digital security support ecosystem

Zara Rahman

We’re excited to share that over the next 8 months, we’ll be carrying out a new research initiative looking at the digital security support ecosystem for civil society organisations, supported by the Ford Foundation.

We’ll be building upon experience from our work in organisational security processes and transformation, and through the Responsible Data Programme here at The Engine Room. We’re lucky to benefit from both communities’ knowledge and expertise in this area, and we’ll be looking to them to for support and guidance throughout this initiative.

Mapping out the digital security support ecosystem

Through this first phase of the project, we’ll be mapping out the digital security support ecosystem, moving on to look at digital security needs of subsets of civil society and establishing a baseline of needs afterwards. We’ll be examining the needs and support provided to a section of high-risk US-based civil society groups, as well as specific civil society and support ecosystems outside of the US, the focus of which will be determined based upon our early project findings.

Through these two phases, we hope to lay the groundwork for the third phase, which will take a closer look at the alignment between support and needs.

In the first phase, our guiding research questions are:

  • Who currently provides digital security support to civil society? (ie. actors working in the digital security space, and what kinds of support can they provide?)
  • What resources exist to assist in providing this support? (ie. what kinds of guides, handbooks, online communities are there?)
  • Which resources are commonly used to provide digital security support?

Get in touch

There are two concrete ways that we’d love help at this first phase of the project.

The first is gathering up existing research on digital security support for civil society: We’re far from being the first to investigate this ecosystem, and we’d love to build upon the work of others rather than replicate anything. We’ll be using open source tagging platform TagTeam to gather up existing literature and research in this space, and we’re very grateful for any tips you might have.

The second is in helping us understanding the ecosystem(s) as they currently exist. If you’re working on a digital security support network, community or initiative (or simply an informal support mechanism), we’d love to hear from you.

Get in touch with us on zara[at] [PGP key here] or research[at], or tweet @engnroom.

If you don’t fall into the above two categories but you’d like to talk about the project, feel free to get in touch, or keep an eye on this blog. We’ll be sharing more information as we progress through the project, and there will be more opportunities and specific calls for support as we learn more.

We look forward to working with many of you on this project, and we’re grateful for your support.