In September 2020, Internews launched a global consortium that aims to strengthen Internet freedom in 50 countries. The Consortium, which is funded by the US Agency for International Development, is a three-year initiative that aims to enhance digital safety of civil society actors, promote increased knowledge of Internet freedom issues, and advance human rights in the digital space.
As digital space becomes an ever-more integral element of contemporary modern society, critical societal infrastructure, governmental services, the security sector, and citizens at large are increasingly dependent on interconnectivity and the global online network. Civil society organizations (hereinafter CSOs) constitute no exception in this regard. As CSOs rely increasingly on new digital tools to conduct their daily operations, their digital footprint grows and with it grows the digital risk they are prone to face. The main cyberthreats affecting CSOs, including digital hacks aimed at causing operational disruptions, stealing data or disseminating disinformation, not only hinder daily organizational operations and target staff members, but also endanger CSOs relationship with the communities they are involved in.
With the aim of identifying core cyber-related needs of CSOs in Kosovo, strengthening their capacities to counter emerging digital threats and raising awareness about cyber-related threats, in the framework of the Greater Internet Freedom project KCSS will implement three main activities. These include i) conducting a baseline analysis which maps out and reviews key digital threats and digital capacity-building needs of CSOs in Kosovo; ii) Putting together a Digital Security Handbook for CSOs to prepare for, respond to and build resilience from digital attacks; and iii) Organizing one expert training with up to 20 local CSO representatives on digital safety. The latter will target CSOs that work with marginalized individuals and communities in Kosovo, given the higher sensitivity of the data they hold, and subsequently the increased risk from unwarranted disclosure. Some of the marginalized groups to be targeted include women and girls, children, torture and trauma victims/survivors, people with dissabilities, members of the LGBTIQ+ community, ethnic minorities and individuals with mental health issues, among others. KCSS also aims at selecting CSOs that are located outside of the capital city, including CSOs that operate in Serbian-majority municipalities such as Gracanica and North Mitrovica.