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Digital Security and Privacy

Digital Security and Privacy Guide

Laptop with warning signOriginal picture (cropped) public domain.

A basic guide on protecting yourself, your data, your research, and the people you work with.

Digital Security 101

Digital technology has transformed the way we live and work. It brings immense possibilities as well as new potential threats.

Why Security?

Hackers of various allegiances (private, criminal or state-sponsored) may want to get access to your accounts and data. Beyond hacking, the surveillance state is now a reality, with intelligence services legally gaining access to anything hosted or transferred by cloud or internet service providers (ISP) in their countries.

This guide was also designed to help you adopt appropriate security measures to protect your activities. This is not limited to political activism: if you are a researcher working with personal and/or sensitive data, that includes your research subject's security, and more. The first step is always to assess risks and define your threat model this will help you decide which security measures are necessary for you, and which are excessive.

Why Privacy?

At a lower level, your personal data is collected massively by corporations and states with or without consent, despite protection by various laws across the world. Some cases are very benign (tracking for advertising) and others much more problematic (surveillance). This guide covers basic practices which help limit the amount of data which can be exploited by third parties.

Other Resources

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Surveillance Self-Defense guide is a reference.

Tactical Tech's projects, including Security in-a-Box and the Data Detox Kit, are also great resources.

To learn more about the legal aspects of personal data protection, check out this other guide (in French) prepared by our Data Protection Officer (DPO) Céline Vilmen. For more general advice on research data management, please visit our RDM libguide.