When we re-launched Surveillance Self-Defense (SSD) last year to tackle the growing threat of online spying, we knew our greatest challenge was reaching everyone who urgently needed its advice. Technical knowledge about what to do, and what not to do, to protect your privacy online, is only truly useful if it can be understood by those who need that information the most.
We're delighted to note a few important steps in increasing the reach of SSD. Six months ago we launched the site in English, Spanish, and Arabic. Now our amazing network of translators have expanded SSD's coverage to include French, Thai, Vietnamese, and Urdu.
Adding around 230 million native speakers to our potential audience is great news. It's even better when someone takes our suggestions and turns it into a form that makes it easier for anyone to understand.
Al Jazeera Plus is a digital news service with a track record of taking complex topics and transforming them into short informative animated explainers. Today, they've launched four great animations based on SSD's advice, that cover creating and managing strong passwords, how mass surveillance works (and can be defeated) online, and how to keep your computer safer from spyware.
It's often a challenge to make these topics approachable, but we've found in our informal studies that it helps if the explanation includes a bow-tied octopus with a mustache.
Tips to Avoid Online Surveillance: how mass surveillance got so cheap, and how to make it more expensive.
How to Make a Super-Secure Password: using dice to select a strong password.
Using Password Managers To Stay Safe Online: don't re-use passwords!
Don't get 0wned: what malware is, how it's used, and some simple steps to protect yourself.
Each of the videos works as a standalone guide to privacy protection, so feel free to share them with your friends (they're CC-BY licensed, and we'll be putting up downloadable versions on the SSD main site soon). You might want to watch them yourself, too— there's some nuggets buried in these three minute videos that we think even experts will appreciate.