Colourful campaigns

Global systems for exploiting natural resources are designed to make profit, not to protect the environment or respect the rights of local communities. Corruption and the lack of transparency and accountability in the extraction and development sectors has meant that for decades, the exploitation of natural resources and the development of polluting industries has been possible all over the planet at an alarming rate, resulting in displacements, pollution and conflicts. Indigenous and local communities are at the front-line of struggles to protect the communities and the environment in which they live, while being in severely marginalised positions. Defenders are increasingly being criminalised, intimidated, harassed and, in some cases, even murdered for standing up to companies, corporations, extraction industries and governments who are exploiting natural resources, eroding land and customary rights and threatening local livelihoods.

The design of digital defence systems for (W)HRD, Land, Nature and Earth rights defender cases is hard. Beneficiaries are often highly vulnerable, with critical security and protection needs that complicate any kind of support. The power dynamics between marginalised people(s) and the organisations serving them can complicate matters further, not to mention cultural differences. And low levels of technology adoption and digital literacy mean that in many such contexts it can deepen dependencies on any support system.

For profit organisations use red teaming as a full-scope, multi-layered attack simulation designed to measure how well a company's people and networks, applications and physical security controls can withstand an attack from a real-life adversary. We propose to adopt this practice, and adapting it for the purpose of building local detection practices and incident response teams focused on defending people from attacks by the particular adversaries they are up against. This is not a global action agenda, each campaign has a local agenda and most importantly, local people maintain control over the campaign.