CJFE Digital Self Defence course prepares activists and press for digital threats

Thursday, October 26, 2017
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Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is holding a free, full-day, hands-on workshop on October 29th, 2017, to instruct in practical ways to strengthen digital security for journalists and human rights activists. The training will help to ensure that individuals and organizations have the knowledge and tools required to use the internet and associated tools securely, facilitating the crucial public-interest work that they perform on behalf of Canadian society.

Click here for the full list of session and trainers

Journalists and activists can face threats to free expression from overzealous law enforcers as well as interference with their work by non-state or extranational  adversaries.  In 2016, it was revealed that police spied on 11 journalists in Quebec and dozens of Indigenous activists across the country.  In 2017, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) published a report displaying a wide array of threats to Canada’s democratic processes, including foreign interference. Digital security literacy is crucial to the health of Canadian democracy. 


In addition to training 80 journalists and human rights workers at the event, a series of brief video tutorials will be available after the workshop on cjfe.org as a resource for participants and the broader public. Topics to be covered include threat modeling, secure web browsing, encryption, online anonymity, phishing, desktop and mobile security, and device searches and the law. CJFE will be joined by trainers from Citizen Lab, Copperhead, Crypto.Québec, C4 Collective, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Peerio, and the Tor Project. This workshop is made possible by a grant from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority’s (CIRA) Community Investment Program, and the support of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.


“Journalists and human rights workers keep the public informed about important issues and advocate on behalf of individuals and groups in need or danger, but this work also makes them targets for digital surveillance or threats,” said CJFE Co-Director Duncan Pike. “Enhancing their ability to use the web safely and securely will ensure they can carry out their public-interest work effectively, to the benefit of all Canadians.”


“CIRA believes that a better online Canada is one where individuals and organizations can benefit from the cultural, economic and social benefits the internet has to offer,” said Byron Holland, president and CEO of the CIRA. “Digital literacy, including understanding digital privacy and security, is an important step to harnessing the power of the internet. We are proud to support CJFE’s efforts to build this up among journalists and human rights workers.”


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Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) monitors, defends and reports on free expression and access to information in Canada and abroad. Rooted in the field of journalism, CJFE promotes a free media as essential to a fair and open society. CJFE boldly champions the free expression rights of all people, and encourages and supports individuals and groups in the protection of their own and others' free expression rights. cjfe.org


Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is building a better online Canada through the Community Investment Program by funding charities, not-for-profits and members of the academic community who are making the Internet better for all Canadians. CIRA is best known for our role managing the .CA domain on behalf of all Canadians. While this remains our primary mandate, as a member-based not-for-profit ourselves, we have a much broader goal to strengthen Canada's Internet. The Community Investment Program is one of our most valuable contributions toward this goal and funds projects in digital literacy, online services, research and infrastructure. Every .CA domain name registered or renewed contributes to this program. To date CIRA has supported 101 projects with over $4.2 million in contributions.


For media inquiries or more information, contact:


Duncan Pike
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
416-787-8156 x203 
[email protected] 

Alison Gareau
Communications Manager
Canadian Internet Registration Authority
613-237-5335 ext.234
[email protected]

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