Digital Security for Civic Actors

As a human rights defender, being safe and aware is an integral part of campaigns, advocacy and engagements. This awareness provides a great deal of confidence in our content and information source. This also helps in improving the efficiency and consistency of human rights campaigns and advocacy across Nigeria. The Media Awareness and Justice Initiative sees safety and digital security as key ingredients of needed for the actualization of social and environmental justice. We see physical and digital safety as integral to the investigative mindset, as something you need to plan for and think about. Not just that, but think of it as something that can give you insight into how your digital and physical data traces may expose information. Safety should not be a simple checklist that you need to tick off before you proceed with your investigation. If you think of safety as a checklist, you may end up having a false sense of security.


With Support from the Association of Progressive Communications, MAJI will focus on the primary principles and steps needed for effective data collection, verification, investigation and sharing via online and offline platforms. We will provide key mobile software, approaches and tools needed to protect and ensure digital security for human rights defenders across Nigeria. 



Personal Contacts - People you engage with (sources, collaborators, colleagues, close ones, etc.) and whose information you have access to / collect / use / store.

Personal Information – It’s important to stay safe and minimise risks and mitigate threats to yourself.

Personal Data – Information that you collect should be safe from being accessed by others without consent or authorisation and must be recoverable in case of loss, damage or theft.


It is vital to always take into consideration the risks and possible threats associated with the type of research and investigative activity that is undertaken by the HRDs or organizations. It is particularly important to factor in the context of the area where the content is deployed and the repercussions of the deployment of such content. The factorization of these various risks is called Risk Assessment. The purpose of undergoing these assessments is to try to reduce the risks associated with the type of work and content, and also assess the potential mitigation approaches that can help in side stepping the identified risks. This is what we call Risk Assessment. The implementation of these assessment outputs is what we call Risk Mitigation

It is important to note that digital safety is not just about your own understanding of risks but the steps you take to mitigate these risks. Think of safety as a group sport, where we all depend on each other. The more we are all collectively aware of the risks and vulnerabilities the better we can be at taking steps to mitigate these risks. If data is breached by someone accessing your devices or someone else’s who has the same data, then the risks are still similar even if you have taken every step to ensure data is secured at your end. For this reason you have to pay attentions to the digital safety awareness of other people or platforms and services you interact with.

It is not often easy to put digital safety on the table, but make sure that people who work with you understand the threats the same way as you do and have a plan if things goes wrong. Share your safety plans and your evaluations with collaborators who are working with you on an investigation, and make sure that that your sources are also made aware of the risks.


This digital safety guidlines have been culled from various documents and tools from online collaborators and partners such as Frontline Defenders and Pangea (A member of Associaiton of Progressive Communication). This has been done with support from the Association for Progressive Communication (APC).


See the bottom of this page to download the safety guidelines and tool links.

See video
digital_security_toolkit_-_pangea.pdf861.94 KB
digital_security_guidline_civic_actors_1.doc150.5 KB
digital_security_tools_and_databases_civic_actors_2.doc37.5 KB