Detecting Threats & Understanding Risks: What Can Organisations Do?

The debate is over; there is no longer any doubt that no matter who you are, your data and information is valuable to someone in this world. Attempts to hijack your computer, break into your phone's address book, are no longer reserved for secret agents or Hollywood actors; anyone and everyone is a star in the battle to know what you do, who you do it with and much more.

In the world of documentation, the threat is further multiplied. If you or your organization are involved in gathering information about most anything in the world around us, that data is of interest to someone; which can mean that it is either wanted or unwanted by people with power.

All over the world the social, political, and informational landscape is teeming with attempts to destroy data that is gathered and the individuals with the audacity to gather it. These threats can take many shapes and forms in the offline and online world. Moreover, the shortcomings of the tools we rely on for doing documentation and managing security mean that everyday people underestimate the risks of recording information.

What is to be done?

A key step towards grasping the world of risks and threats to documenters in both the digital and physical space is understanding of how technology works. It should become the responsibility and interest of any institution or individual that rely on digital tools, to know the essentials about the functioning of that tool. This knowledge can help empower users everywhere to measure what risks they do or do not take. And it is an important step towards understanding what threats are known to exist, to detect them before they do damage.

Unfortunately, anyone who could be considered an at-risk user, working in a high-risk context is not often taken into consideration when the makers of operating systems and large software platforms design their tools. This creates today's challenging reality, where many tools may have advanced security settings but they are not the default settings. One needs technical training to know how to activate basic security settings that could have already been set as active if the major software corporations of the world prioritized security for all. It has unfortunately become common place all over the world that activities such as counting how many sick people there are, or taking photographs of police activity, are responded to with a broad range of threats and hostility. Without sufficiently understanding how digital tools work and what methods powerful forces are making use of, people will continue to fall victim to the growing global apparatus for monitoring and suppression.