On November 20, 2013, Cyber Steward Network partner Tibet Action Institute (TAI) participated in a panel discussion and tech session titled “Safe Travels Online: Tech Meet” hosted by Students for a Free Tibet Canada in Toronto. The discussion revolved around online targeted threats against activists, members of the Tibetan diaspora community, and their supporters. In attendance were Citizen Lab’s Research Manager Masashi Crete-Nishihata, Nathan Freitas, the Director of Technology of TAI & The Guardian Project, Lhadon Tethong, Director of the TAI, and Lobsang Sithar, the Field Coordinator of the TAI.
The TAI held a similar “Safe Travels Online” event in Dharamsala in June 2013, where representatives from the TAI and the Citizen Lab spoke of the dangers of online threats against the Tibetan community and the importance of digital security. The TAI website also hosts an ongoing “Safe Travels Online” video series starring Tibetan comedian Sonam Wangdue promoting security best practices for users of digital technology.
The TAI has long supported digital privacy. The Institute is a partner in the Guardian Project, a program designed to create apps, open-source software, and smartphone solutions designed to prevent online intrusion and guard the privacy of activists, journalists, humanitarians, and ordinary citizens.
On 12 June 2013, the Tibet Action Institute (TAI) hosted an event in Dharamsala, India, as part of their Safe Travels Online campaign.
The event began Cyber Steward and TAI Field Coordinator Lobsang Gyatso Sither and TAI staff explaining security concepts and the use of security tools to members of the Tibetan community, while distributing awareness raising materials and information on secure apps.
Citizen Lab Research Manager Masashi Crete-Nishihata gave a presentation on the Lab’s Targeted Threats research and what they have learned about online threats targeting the Tibetan community. Lhadon Thetong, the director of the Tibet Action Institute, then gave a talk on the importance of digital security, activism and action in the Tibetan community in the context of the movement and struggle for independence. Both talks were translated live in Tibetan and followed by a Q&A session.
The event was covered widely by the Tibetan media, such as Voice of America: Kunleng News (Tibetan) (starting from 11:28 minute mark), Voice of America Radio (Tibetan), Radio Free Asia (Tibetan) (starting from 19:53 minute mark), Voice of Tibet Radio (starting from 24:00 minute mark), Tibet Times (Tibetan), and Phayul (English). In addition, Dechen Pemba, Editor of High Peaks Pure Earth and author for Global Voices who has advised TAI on education programs, wrote an article on promoting digital security awareness among Tibetans who live in exile using both online and offline methods.