The European Investigative Journalism Conference

Safer digital investigations – program

Safer digital investigations – program

This online workshop provided by the international NGO Tactical Tech will introduce you to recommended safety practices and tactics and frameworks for choosing tools to support your online or offline work, as well as essential safety awareness and risk mitigation techniques to help protect yourself, the people you work with and your information.

We say “risk is inherited” which means that in any context of your work, the risk of what you do is reliant on those whom you interact with. At the same time, lax security practices can be passed down to create risks for those in vulnerable contexts.

The workshop aims to help participants identify sources of potential risk when working with publicly available information and exploring and interacting with various data traces and sources of information.

To adapt the methods and tools in context, we will work with sources of publicly available information and explore useful digital platforms, databases, case studies and investigation scenarios.

The day will have 4 sessions of presentations, individual&group tasks, quizzes, Q&A, and it will address practical topics such as:

• Fundamental approaches to technology and digital safety – including introduction to security risk assessment and mitigation basics, how the internet works, tool selection criteria, online account security, securing communications;

• Deep digging online – including methods, resources and tips on how to safely find, verify, preserve and handle information on the internet by running advanced searches on various platforms, using online archives, social media, uncovering and retrieving online information, and how to perform this research safely and aware of risks to yourself and

• Exploring and safeguarding metadata traces – including techniques and tools to perform this work safely and aware of risks to yourself and others, digital surveillance risks and creating mitigation plans to address such risks;

Agenda Outline

10:00 – 10:15 CET — Introduction to the workshop and participants

10:15 – 11:20 CET — “The Mindset”: Fundamental approaches to technology and digital safety for investigations (part 1)

It’s all in your mindset! – Why and how the “investigative mindset” needs to incorporate by default safety and privacy awareness, risk assessment and mitigation by following a set of principles and practical approaches. We will discuss and emphasize recommended actions and behaviours to address safety for yourself, your sources, your collaborators and your data in the digital and physical spaces.

11:20 – 11:30 CET — Break

11:30 – 13:00 CET — “The Mindset”: Fundamental approaches to technology and digital safety for investigations (part 2)

It’s still in your mindset! – Practical approaches to digital safety considerations, choosing tech tools that meet your needs when investigating “alone”, in teams, remotely, etc. The session includes an exercise and discussion on “how the internet works”, for a clearer approach to digital safety and privacy in specific contexts.

13:00 – 14:00 CET — Working Break: Lunch + Security Research Exercise

14:00 – 14:30 CET — Discussion based on your “Security Research Exercise”

14:30 – 15:30 CET — Evidence Behind the Data: Exploring Metadata and what it means for safety

What hides behind the visible? – We look at cases, methods, resources and tips on how to identify, verify and use visible and seemingly invisible evidence from photos, videos, documents and websites, how to preserve this data as a valuable source of information in your research, and what safety considerations to care for when using, storing and sharing
it. The session includes tips and advice on how to use metadata safely and aware of risks to yourself and others.

15:30 – 16:00 — Questions and Answers

Session formats:
Sessions include: presentation combined with discussions, questions & answers, group tasks. Expect to participate in: asking questions related to the topic, sharing your experience, answering quizzes, providing feedback to peers and facilitators.


You will be working with Laura Ranca and Wael Eskandar from Tactical Tech’s “Exposing the Invisible” project.

About Tactical Tech and its “Exposing the Invisible” project:

Tactical Tech is a Berlin-based non-profit organization that engages with citizens and civil-society organizations to explore and mitigate the impacts of technology on society. Through our work we aim to research, advocate and create practical solutions that contribute to the wider socio-political debate around digital security, privacy and the ethics of data.

Exposing the Invisible (ETI) is a Tactical Tech project that has been actively experimenting with ways to promote investigation as one of the most important forms of public engagement. Through a series of films, interviews, guides and
resources, ETI looks at different techniques, tools and methods along with the individual practices of those working at the new frontiers of investigation. Currently ETI is producing a free online Kit for investigators , a collaborative resource
that makes investigative techniques and tools used by experienced investigators more accessible to people and communities who feel motivated to start their own investigations, collect and verify information, build evidence and create a better understanding of issues without losing sight of ethical or safety considerations.