A few months ago, we discussed the importance of DNS and why it should matter to activists after a major phishing campaign was uncovered in Venezuela, which targeted tens of thousands of citizens who now are in danger of facing punitive measures or retaliation by the government.
Essentially, the internet’s structural issues are putting our social activism networks at risk, as well as other citizens. In 2019 for example, we witnessed an unprecedented number of successful DNS attacks against ISPs, internet infrastructure providers, governments and sensitive commercial entities across North America, Europe, Middle East and North Africa, which in many cases, resulted in successfully harvesting the targets’ credentials.
What we see is that the onus of responsibility to protect activists is placed on activists themselves (and their allies). Instead, we should be engaging with those who have the power to push change to the Internet’s infrastructure, which would allow for an environment that is more equitable and safe for everybody.
People Want to Help — So We Are Creating an Intersectional DNS Working Group
After the publication of the article, we received inquiries from individuals working in both civil society and for-profit organizations that want to help tackle the DNS challenge, but also get more involved in imaging what a better Internet could look like.
Also, while a handful of privacy technologists are having these conversations with each other, it is important to provide support in both amplifying their recommendations and better understanding what activists are experiencing.
As a result, we are creating an Intersectional DNS working group made up of activists, technologists, journalists, and other human rights defenders interested in learning more about DNS and helping push forth the change we need and want to see. We believe that by having different types of voices represented, we can both help educate each other, and successfully come up with creative short-term and long-term solutions that may help mitigate risks.
Throughout the years, we have seen the power of intersectional groups in the Internet Freedom community, with the IFF being a prime example of that. To achieve a goal, we require that diverse voices are represented, with different skill sets and experiences. This mix of people with different backgrounds and knowledge, helps produce more effective and powerful approaches and insights.
Scope of Work
While the working group will evolve to meet the needs and interests of those involved, it will focus primarily on the following tasks:
- Salon-Inspired Educational Activities: Members will pool their knowledge to collectively educate each other on different aspects of DNS.
- Documenting Cases: Members will help document cases that can be used to inform researchers working on these issues
- Bridge Building Between Service/Infrastructure Providers and IF Community: Considering the scope of the problem, the group will aim to create more bridges between the IF community and internet infrastructure/service providers. These bridges are essential to help with knowledge share, and cultivate allies in sectors outside of the IF community.
- Crafting Recommendations for Internet Infrastructure Providers: Produce recommendations that can be shared with internet infrastructure providers, and help shape the future of the Internet to be more secure and equitable.
Who Can Join
Anyone can join who fits the following requirements:
- Has at least 4–5 hours per month that can be dedicated to the group. Ideally, it should be people whose work requires either working on internet infrastructure, or learning about how it works to help better protect their community.
- Has a passion and desire for better understanding internet infrastructure, with a special focus on DNS, and helping come up with creative possibilities to tackle the problem.
- Is either an activist, technologist, journalist, or human rights defender. In fact, we would like a diversity of profiles represented!
If this sounds like something you want to get involved with, please reach out to Sandy@internetfreedomfestival.org