A world FIRST: Access Now Digital Security Helpline brings civil society focus to leading global incident response network

The Helpline is the first member of FIRST to focus on defending civil society actors from digital threats

Access Now’s Digital Security Helpline is proud to announce that it has been accepted as a full member of the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST). Our Helpline is the first member of FIRST that is focused on defending civil society actors from digital threats.

This is the culmination of a multi-year project to develop, improve, and prepare our team at the technical, human, and procedural levels. Now, after a six-month process that caps this preparation, including an office visit and a review of our operating procedures by member teams, we are officially part of the leading global incident response network.

FIRST enables incident response teams to more effectively respond to security incidents by providing access to best practices, tools, and trusted communication with member teams. FIRST members use their combined knowledge, skills, and experience to promote a safer and more secure global electronic environment. As of June 6, 2019, the FIRST network integrates 484 teams across 92 countries, coming mostly from government, academia, and the private sector.

In joining FIRST, we are keen to learn from this long-standing community of practice, and most importantly, to raise awareness of the threats civil society faces to ensure nimble support for the most vulnerable groups across the globe.

Collaboration is essential to the work of the Helpline. We are founding members of CiviCERT, a coordinating network of help desks for civil society whose goal is to improve the incident response capabilities of its members and share information on threats that affect NGOs, journalists, and other human rights defenders around the world. We also support emerging regional and community-based help desk efforts to further close the gap between those in need and mechanisms of support. It is thanks to our partnerships, within civil society and beyond, that the Digital Security Helpline is able to provide immediate assistance in countless emergency situations, as well as capacity-building over the long term.

If you are joining us at RightsCon next week, you can learn more about CiviCERT in this Lightning Talk on Friday afternoon. Also be sure to stop by the Digital Security Clinic in the Access Now Lounge to meet our Helpline team for a consultation, or just to say hello.