Verifying Information in Challenging Environments for Citizen Monitors

For more on protecting yourself and your work online, see Nabz Iran’s course on digital security, which provides practical steps you can take to secure against cyber-attacks and addresses online threats, securing your computer and securing your communications.

Similar to when you are authenticating the source to confirm their identity, you can directly engage with the source to verify the content of the information. This step however requires serious consideration as the risks involved with contacting a source, either online or offline, can be very high.

If you are going to contact the source online, do so privately. For example, send them a direct message through Twitter or send a private message directly to their Facebook account. You should also consider if contacting the source online puts them in danger as well.

If you are going to contact a source offline, you can go through a local trusted contact on the ground. However, asking your contact to connect with a source could place your contact and the source in a compromising or even dangerous situation. Take careful security and privacy considerations before using this strategy.

As a substitute, ask your trusted contact on the ground to confirm the accuracy of the information. Your trusted contact may not be able to do verify the information, but they could gather firsthand witness reports based on their personal network.