This morning on the stage of TC Sessions: Justice, Matt Mitchell of CryptoHarlem discussed his views on the link between surveillance and minority oppression and the importance of taking a preventative approach to security and privacy. Mitchell, a specialist in digital safety and encryption, is dedicating time to creating Protect Your Org, a free, open source, tool for all organizations to prepare for inevitable data breaches.
The site, supported by the Mozilla Fellowship and the Ford Foundation, will enable organizations to prepare digital security policies, data retention policies and incident response plans. Together these documents establish a precautionary rulebook for handling information , a baseline stock of data ownership and a checklist for reacting after a hack.
The online document generator isn’t a full toolkit, but it is a fast and easy way to engage organizations that may have never previously thought about the potential dangers of neglecting security.
“This is my way of giving back,” said Mitchell. “You need to think about your way of giving back.”
While Protect Your Org isn’t set to move into beta until the summer, Mitchell isn’t new to the world of security. His main project, CryptoHarlem, fills a broader void by preparing people to combat digital risk. The organization’s sweet spot is advocating for and educating those that are particularly vulnerable.
During his fireside chat, Mitchell drew attention to the fact that one of the most vulnerable groups is the black community. For this reason, he underscored that it’s imperative that those at-risk take proactive steps to maintain adequate digital safety and privacy, regardless of whether they feel an imminent threat.
“If you think that you are not a person of interest, I can tell you that you are,” added Mitchell, addressing the black community.
Encryption exists as a means of protection, but the trick is getting people to forget their fear of math and embrace preventative steps. Unchecked surveillance can damage lives so it’s up to us to do what we can.