Art, Artists, and Cultural Workers Under Threat: Digital Security in the Time of Trump

Freedom of artistic expression is an essential component of any democracy and an important value to the creative community. From political dissent + protests against injustice, to influencing the public discourse and criticizing actions of the government, artists and cultural workers have been at the forefront of social change using creativity to help shift the way people think about the world. Now more than ever, artists and cultural workers need to protect their data and communications on digital platforms given the ways in which the Internet and new mobile technologies can increase the threat of mass surveillance and digital discrimination

On Saturday, March 4, the ​Media Democracy Fund and Robert W. Deutsch Foundation co-sponsored a training session for artists and activists at Open Works. The workshop was free and focused on privacy and security tools for mobile phones, computers, and Internet usage. Led by artist/organizer Thenmozhi Soundararajan and movement technologist Ken Montenegro, the workshop started out exploring the US’s history of surveilance, which well proceeded the invention of technology.

From there, Then and Ken taught us the basics of encryption and data security, strategies on how to be safer and smarter when communicating, sharing, and storing digital information. The workshop included hands on, interactive instruction and covered intersectionality, basic risk assessment, secure phone encryption, how to secure network access, and securing your identity.

The Media Democracy Fund works with foundations, companies, philanthropic advisors, and individual donors to award grants that protect the public’s rights in the digital age. MDF’s deep expertise in media and technology policy and our partnerships with public interest and civil society organizations around the world enable us to guide our funding partners through the rapidly changing issues and develop strategies that address priorities in digital equity and rights.

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