Security Culture

As an activist, irregardless of your level of involvement or participation in any illegal activities: assume that your phone, car, house and computer are monitored. Never say anything in those locations or by those means of communication that you wouldn’t tell the FBI. Communicating over encrypted e-mail gives you a fair amount of security, but discussing illegal activities should still never take place over the internet (even if it is encrypted).

What not to say
To begin with, there are certain things that are inappropriate to discuss. These things include:
• your own or someone else's involvement with an underground group
• someone else's desire to get involved with such a group
• asking others if they are a member of an underground group
• your own or someone else's participation in any action that was illegal
• someone else's advocacy for such actions
• your plans or someone else's plans for a future action

Please note: this is not to say that it is incorrect to speak about direct action in general terms - just be sure that you don't link individual activists to specific actions or groups. It is perfectly legal, secure and desirable that people speak out in support of all forms of resistance (though if you're involved with illegal activity, it is probably best that you don't openly advocate for breaking the law as that alone can raise state interest in your life).

Three exceptions
The first situation would be if you were planning an action with other members of your small group (your "cell" or "affinity group"). These discussions should never take place over the Internet (e-mail), phone line, through the mail, or in an activist's home or car, as these places and forms of communication are frequently monitored. The only people who should hear this discussion would include those who are actively participating in the action. Anyone who is not involved does not need to know and, therefore, should not know.
The second exception occurs after an activist has been arrested and brought to trial. If s/he is found guilty, this activist can freely speak of the actions for which s/he was convicted. However, s/he must never give information that would help the authorities determine who else participated in illegal activities.
The third exception is for anonymous letters and interviews with the media. This must be done carefully and without compromising security. Advice on secure communication techniques can be found at Remember, IP addresses are traceable, authorities will comb over such documents for any identifiable information and finally, using computer/fax machines were key cards or log-ins are required is a bad idea...

Bottom Line Security
If you are engaged in activity that is considered illegal, it is best to take a lesson from veteran activists of the direct action movements and only allow a select few to know about your activity. Those few people should consist of only the individuals who you are doing work and actions with AND NO ONE ELSE!