Access Now Protects Global Online Community

Nov. 30, 2015

Access Now is an international human rights organization protecting the digital rights of at-risk Internet users across the world. Combining innovative policy, user engagement and technical support, the group fights for open and secure communications for all.

Access Now believes political participation and human rights in the 21st century is increasingly dependent on access to the Internet and technology. To this end, the group responds to threats to digital rights, including attacks on activist websites, legislation undermining security of U.S. citizens and companies violating their users’ privacy.

This year, multiple independent media organizations in South America were targeted by state-sponsored malware, part of ongoing attacks on journalists across the region. Access Now became aware of the attacks while providing digital-security advice to groups in Ecuador. Director of Operations Joseph Steele said Access Now helped prevent a shutdown of the media organzations’ work.

“When malware struck, due to a higher level of security awareness, [targeted journalists] did not open the malicious attachments or phishing links, but forwarded them to us to share with malware researchers who investigated the source of the malware, enabling the targeted groups to advocate and publicize their targeting,” Steele said. “These journalists were ultimately spared from the ravaging effects of malware that would have undermined the security and privacy of their operations.”

With the help of Voqal Fund, Access Now is continuing its efforts to ensure all members of the global online community have open and secure communication.