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Submitted by amir on Mon, 09/08/2008 - 15:52.
The small size, relatively low cost and constant mobility of mobile phones make them invaluable for advocacy work but also make them more likely to be stolen, temporarily misplaced, lost or confiscated.
The use of mobile devices creates new security risks which NGOs and advocates must recognise in order to protect themselves, their organisations and the people they work with. This section of the toolkit will show you how to minimise these risks.
Mobile phones carry a vast amount of data; not just your contacts but also logs of calls made and received and SMS messages sent and received - see below for more information on the records carried on your phone. By virtue of carrying a list of all your contacts your mobile phone shows exactly who you are working with. If you are working on a sensitive area this can make both you and everyone else in your network vulnerable.
As an organisation providing services you should also be aware of your responsibilities to users of these services. If you are storing people's contact information you should find out what obligations you have under your country's data protection laws to store these details safely and to delete information when requested. You should also be aware that your mobile phone service provider or your bulk SMS service provider may turn over data to the authorities if requested. Activists in New York running a text alert service on a demonstration were recently the subject of legal action to force them to hand over records revealing the content of messages exchanged and identifying people who sent and received messages. You should also be aware that service providers may refuse to transmit messages in support of controversial campaigns - such as the case of the operator Verizon who refused to carry pro-choice messages on behalf of a group in America.