January 25 2024 GM

From TCU Wiki
Glitter Meetups

Digital Safety in Libya: A Helpdesk Overview

We will talk about the "Libya Digital Safety Helpdesk" by the Annir Initiative, which is a pioneering project focused on protecting activists, journalists, and civil society members in Libya from escalating digital threats. By actively monitoring social media spaces and facilitating report submissions, the initiative aims to empower individuals and fortify the digital resilience of Libya's civic space in the midst of evolving challenges.

Featured guest bio: Feras Bezanti is a Digital Rights Officer and Software Engineer with expertise in telecom and banking sectors. Specialized in incident response, advanced troubleshooting, and implementing security measures. Committed to promoting digital safety through technical proficiency and effective communication.

What is Glitter Meetup?

Glitter Meetup is the weekly town hall of the Internet Freedom community at the IF Square on the TCU Mattermost, at 9am EST / 2pm UTC. It is a text-based chat where digital rights defenders can share regional and projects updates, expertise, ask questions, and connect with others from all over the world! Do you need an invite? Learn how to get one here.


Can you give us a bit of a background on Annir's digital safety helpdesk? That is why it was created, what inspired it or the need for it in Libya?
  • Annir is a name in the Tamazight language that means lamp
  • The Libya Digital Safety Helpdesk was established as a result of the escalating threats to the country's digital civic space due to recent shifts in the political and security landscape. Changing dynamics, especially driven by de facto forces, have significantly changed the threat paradigm for activists, human rights defenders, journalists, and individuals involved in civil and social movements. Intense efforts by legislative, executive, and armed forces have led to increased targeted harassment and defamation campaigns and hacking attempts on the accounts and digital devices of journalists, members of civil society, and participants in social movements.
  • In recent years, there has been a worrying trend of pushback and harassment campaigns against these groups, with many individuals associated with civil society movements facing arrest. Their mobile devices have been confiscated and thoroughly searched, exacerbating the risks they face in the digital sphere. So the mean purpose from the helpdesk is to help the CSOs members to address these issue and safe their life.
What are the main things people outside of Libya should know?
  • In recent days, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior in the other government spoke about launching arrest campaigns against anyone who might talk about any political figure on social media. There is an agency called Internal Security that conducts arrest campaigns against a group of activists on charges of treason and apostasy.
  • They arrest a lot of people last months. Also now the youth under 18 can't play pubg till they get the approval from the internal security. If you are in Libya and open the game, you can't do so unless you obtain approval.
  • The image mentions the main purpose of doing this to avoid the problem of harassment and blackmail that occurs in the game
What does the approval process look like, do they block the game and only enable it for people with approval? What does all this entail? And why this game specifically?
  • The internal security has a connection with pubg company, so if you under 18 you should go to the IS and fill the form to enable you to use the game
Is there a place/org tracking the arrests and providing legal support?
  • No, not really.
How does the digital safety desk work? That is how do people submit cases, how do you follow up on the cases, then subsequently provide safety support for people who need it?
  • People can submit reports by contacting us via the designated help number via WhatsApp or Signal as well as via the Telegram bot and via email help@annir.ly
  • When we receive reports, we deal with them through the CDR Link ticket system and track the steps of the problem and its causes
  • After these steps we escalate the issues with our partners based on the priority
  • We have handled around 500 cases till now
  • But sometimes, we search for the issues instead of receiving them. We didn't have a culture of reporting cases due to the fear of exacerbating the problem, and this made us search for problems with individual effort
How do you search for issues and what type of cases do you look for?
  • Violent Content
  • Online Abuse
  • Suspension
  • Censorship
  • Hacked Accounts
  • Sexual Harassment

Also, we divide the issue type based on the exact violence and like below:

  • Bullying and Harassment
  • Digital Safety Advices
  • Fraud Content
  • Hacked account
  • Hate Speech
  • Misinformation and Disinformation
  • Multiple Violation
  • Privacy Violation
  • Prohibited Goods
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Bullying and Harassment

And based on these cases we're trying to make a case study about libyan digital space.

And when you do so how does your team address all of this with the capacity you have?
  • The project team now consists of four full-time people, and their primary task revolves around receiving issues, solving them, and searching for other cases
What are the 3 key things you will share with people who are interested in creating a helpdesk, are already working on similar and looking to extend their work in space with similar issues, challenges and threats?
  • First, through good partnerships with social media and with organizations and entities working on this work
  • Implement a proper tracking method for resolved issues so they do not occur again
  • Spreading awareness among community members to avoid or reduce issues
How can people in the community further connect with you in the case they are interested in learning more?
  • always available and this is my email: f.bezanti@annir.ly
  • or via Signal +218923710554