Global Encryption Day: Group trains journalists, CSOs, others

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Ilorin, Kwara.

Webfalla Digital Skills for All Initiative (Wdsfai), an NGO, says it has trained journalists, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Digital Right Defenders on how to ensure a secured information without interference.

The training held in Ilorin to commemorate Global Encryption Day and to sensitise public on privacy and freedom of expression.

The Guest Speaker and Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative, Mr Gbenga Sesan, described encryption as a tool designed to help Internet users keep their online data and communications private and secured.

According to him, encryption plays a critical role in protecting day-to-day digital activities making sure private messages stay private.

Sesan said End-to-End (E2E) encryption provides the strongest level of security and trust, because by design only the intended recipient holds the key to decrypt the message as no third party should have a key.

“Encryption is essential for protecting freedom of expression and privacy. It is an essential tool for CSOs, Digital Right Defenders and journalists.

“Encryption is especially crucial for keeping people safe and ensuring a healthy freedom of the press.

“End-to-end encryption helps journalists protect their communications from surveillance and interception by third parties.

“If journalists cannot communicate in confidence with colleagues and sources or cannot protect the anonymity of their sources, they will loose public confidence,” he said.

The speaker advised that in order to protect the integrity of their clients, journalists need to reliably create trustworthy content and ensure it matched what their intended audience can see online.

He suggested Internet protocols like HTTPS, which help protect data as it passes between news websites and reader.

He advocated the need for journalists and the public to have digital security tools that prevents powerful entities, domestic or foreign from accessing and altering their research, conversations and sources.

“Protect freedom of the press by advocating for strong end-to-end encryption and ensuring journalists and the public are free to use it.

“Journalists need to be safe online in order to hold governments and institutions accountable, tell important and impactful stories, protect their sources and promote healthy democracies,” he stated.

He warned government not to embrace ‘exceptional access’ whereby government will have the access to private information.

“Embracing exceptional access puts private information and conversations at risk because it allows government access to your private information, and simultaneously creates a doorway for bad actors,” he said.

He stressed the need to take the advocacy campaign to schools, market places, religious houses to be sensitive about sharing their privacy on social media.

The Convener of the event and the Co-founder of Webfalla, Mr Wale Bakare, said the training was organised to create awareness and provide the public with knowledge about encryption.

According to him, the focus is on journalists and CSOs because they will help spread the information to the public.

“We want to take the campaign to the grassroots.  We know media practitioners will do that for us.

“We want to keep the public informed on the happenings and information management. How to secure their privacy.

“Through encryption campaign, we want to help the public prevent theft of sensitive information in data breaches,” he said.

The event was themed “Empowering Voices: Safeguarding Free Expression & Privacy Through Encryption”. 

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