Secure Communication is Gaining Momentum in India
Meetups are the best place to link faces with nicknames. And for sure, to share knowledge and discuss specific topics. We had our first Tor Meetup in Mumbai last weekend and thanks to the organizers, it was a pretty energizing one.
Zainab, Anish, and Kondi from HasGeek were responsible for organizing everything and worked wonders. The venue was situated in Lower Parel, Mumbai, on super cool offices shared by OML (Only Much Louder) in an old refurbished silk silo.
The event started with quick introductions; we shared our backgrounds, how we are helping involved in the Tor community, and offered some words about ourselves. We also asked the members in the audience about what interested them about the workshop (voluntary; no names required).
I introduced the work that the UX team is doing. Then I ran user tests on the new onion services indicators (ticket #23247) and the next improvements for the new Tor Launcher which was introduced last week in Tor Browser 7.5.
The community was ready to collaborate and excited to be part of the tests. Sharing our internal processes with the people who use Tor every day allow us to have the real spectrum of their expectations and experiences.
After that Sukhbir did a master class about Tor where he gave an introduction to Tor and a demo of Tor Browser (slides), followed by discussions on digital security and privacy.
Then Kushal Das, from Freedom of the Press Foundation, took the projector and did a demo about how journalists are using SecureDrop, which is built using onion services, for secure communication with their sources, such as whistleblowers. We then briefly discussed the current state of investigative journalism in India, the lack of SecureDrop installations at newspapers in India, and what we can do about it.
Privacy became a headline topic in the last few weeks in India because of surveillance and abuse related to Aadhaar, the 12 digit biometric identifier. January also happened to be Privacy Month, led by Mozilla India. Each day in January, they've featured a tip for protecting your privacy online.
Secure tools for communication are more relevant now than ever. We are glad that we found an active Tor community working on online privacy and safety in India.