Less than one year ago, Yubico launched a 20:1 donation-led program, where we pledged to donate 1 YubiKey for every 20 YubiKeys sold on Yubico.com. The program, called Yubico for Free Speech, is dedicated to securing organizations, their constituents, and at-risk individuals who are focused on protecting free speech and journalism, defending human rights, and upholding democratic integrity and election security.
Through our program, we’ve been able to connect with nonprofits and organizations who are doing the important work of fighting for free speech and protecting at-risk individuals around the world. To date, we’ve donated to over 25 organizations, in 10 different countries, and we look forward to expanding these efforts in 2021 and beyond.
Today, we’re shining the spotlight on one of our recipient organizations, RedesAyuda, a Venezuelan-based NGO that helps defend freedom of speech and human rights, and supports journalists with digital security training. To learn more about the important work that RedesAyuda is doing to make journalism safer in Latin America and beyond, we connected with executive director, Melanio Escobar, who was recently on a panel regarding journalist safety at the 2020 UNESCO World Press Freedom Conference.
Can you explain what your organization does, it’s mission, and what individuals you help?
RedesAyuda is an NGO that defends human rights through the use of technology. Our mission is to contribute to the promotion and creation of human networks – including digital and analog, free and independent – as an indispensable element for the promotion and defense of human rights in a democratic society. We help journalists, lawyers, activists, NGOs, human rights defenders and all kinds of social leaders committed to freedom, justice and equal opportunities without discrimination of creed, race, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, national or ethnic origin, language or anything else.
Why is security important to your organization or the individuals you work with?
Since Day 1, we have been promoting security as a transversal process in the operation of any organization and we firmly believe that in order to bring education to the world at large, we must start at home. This is why our team has advanced training in digital security, and we have established specific protocols to help protect individuals in the event of any threats or risk. We are part of the circle of trust of hundreds of activists, who have benefited from our workshops, consultancies, and audits, among other tools we offer.
How are you using the YubiKey to solve some of these concerns?
The YubiKey has become the most recommended two-step authentication method by our facilitators. At our workshops we provide a YubiKey to each of our beneficiaries. During the session, we teach them how to set it up, use it to protect their accounts and devices, and by the time they leave, they have a secure authentication solution that’s ready to go and reduces their vulnerability.
Thanks to the Yubico for Free Speech Program, we not only deliver knowledge, but we also help our beneficiaries physically protect their digital security by providing them with a YubiKey.
What are you most proud of that your organization was able to accomplish?
We have been able to build a fabric of trust that allowed us to be the source of consultation for activists in the neighborhoods of Caracas, the media in Venezuela, and also national and international Non-Governmental Organizations. In this sense, we were able to expand our scope of action and execute projects at all levels.
What is your organization currently working on that you’re most excited about?
Currently, we carry the “Empower Rangers” project, whose objective is to educate the general public on issues related to digital security through creative campaigns on social networks. It’s in reference to the famous series, the Power Rangers, because we focus on empowering the individual by providing the necessary tools, while also mixing humor with technical knowledge. Our current focus with this campaign is to diversify our group of Empower Rangers by empowering further representation among women and the LGBTIQ+ community.
Where can people reach you if they’d like to take part in supporting your mission?
You can contact us through our social media at @RedesAyuda on Twitter and Instagram, and on our website at: https://redesayuda.org
If you are an organization working in free speech, human rights, or election security and would like to leverage the YubiKey for your team or the individuals you assist, then please get in touch with us through our Yubico for Free Speech Program by filling out the form on our web page.