Digital Security Technical Advisor

Freedom House
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Jan 25

Position description

Freedom House promotes the spread of freedom and democracy around the world through research, advocacy, and programs that support frontline activists. We are a leader in identifying threats to freedom through our highly regarded analytic reports, including Freedom in the World, Freedom of the Press, Freedom on the Net, and Nations in Transit. With 13 field offices and two U.S. offices, we support the right of every individual to be free.



The Digital Security Technical Advisor will work as part of Freedom House’s Emergency Assistance Program (EAP), which provides critically needed assistance to human rights defenders (HRDs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) threatened because of their human rights work throughout the world. The Technical Advisor will be responsible for the digital security of all EAP activities. Among other duties, the position will conduct an audit and subsequent analyses of the digital security practices, weaknesses, and needs of EAP staff and local beneficiaries, and design and provide responsive support to ensure that data shared as a part of EAP activities are protected to the maximum extent feasible. Support will take various forms, including developing standards, practices, and protocols relating to digital security, direct training to program staff and beneficiaries, consulting on digital emergencies and communications in high-risk environments with applicants and grantees, conducting organizational security audits/risk assessments of local CSOs, developing new approaches to meet emerging threats, and monitoring the efficacy of digital security interventions.



  • Assess organizational/program security practices and analyze digital security threats and needs.  Conduct an initial digital security audit and routinely analyze digital security practices of EAP staff and of EAP beneficiaries, including the emergency assistance application process, digital communication with potential beneficiaries, data storage, and EAP information systems.
  • Develop and update EAP digital security protocols.  Based upon threats/needs analysis, design and draft digital security protocols/strategies for the EAP team (located at HQ, working remotely, and while traveling), taking into account the variable needs, capacities, and contexts of EAP beneficiaries and other stakeholders. Protocols will reflect both technical and behavioral considerations, with a specific emphasis on providing remote assistance. Continuously monitor technological developments, including emerging threats and new tools and approaches, and rapidly adapt EAP’s digital security response strategy.  
  • Implement EAP digital security protocols and train EAP staff.  Develop a work plan for implementing new protocols and practices and integrating them into EAP’s overall program strategy and previous work with digital security external auditors. Develop and/or adapt training curricula to build the capacity of EAP staff to independently analyze and address digital security threats and needs and provide basic technical support to beneficiaries.
  • Provide direct support to program beneficiaries and partners.  Develop/adapt training modules for at-risk HRDs and program partners from a variety of countries, cultures, and backgrounds and conduct (mostly remote) trainings. Conduct organizational security audits/risk assessments of local CSOs on a limited basis. Network with other local and international digital security experts, providers, and programs to develop a roster of trusted trainers.
  • Monitor effectiveness of protocols and practices.  Working with the EAP M&E Officer, monitor and evaluate the efficacy of EAP digital security support to beneficiaries. Develop and test new approaches and tactics for ensuring secure communication throughout all EAP interventions based on M&E data. Monitor staff compliance with protocols and troubleshoot challenges in adoption.
  • Travel.  Domestic and International travel as required including to event sites and field offices < 20% of work schedule (this is subject to change); manage all travel logistics for self and others as appropriate.
  • Administrative.  Negotiate and write contracts, MOUs, letters of agreement, and other contractual documents for partners and vendors, when necessary, and ensure that the objectives and terms of agreement are met. Ensure all work products comply fully with standards, policies and mission of Freedom House. Other related duties as assigned.




  • Bachelors’ degree in computer science, communications, adult education/adult learning, psychology, human rights, political science, international relations, or related field
  • Master’s degree in related field a plus


  • Three to five years of directly relevant experience including at least 2 years experienced as a privacy or security trainer, additional experience working as a facilitator around issues of data, security, privacy
  • Experience with Java/HTML coding
  • At least two years of experience working with human rights defenders or other civil society actors; demonstrated international field experience strongly desired as well as experience working in high risk or sensitive environments including in politically and/or culturally sensitive context
  • Experience conducting organizational security audits/risk assessments and developing action plans to address needs and weaknesses, including training individuals with a wide range of technical skills using adult learning best practices
  • Experience working with a remote and distributed team, and providing technical advice and troubleshooting remotely


Attributes and Characteristics:

  • Exhibit strong and sustained commitment to the mission of Freedom House
  • Show good stewardship in the use of Freedom House resources
  • Respond promptly to stakeholder needs, and solicit stakeholder feedback to improve service quality
  • Consistently use good judgment when dealing with all contacts and constituents
  • Exhibit high work standards, adherence to procedures, and responsibility for assigned tasks
  • Demonstrate strong desire for excellence, and desire to inspire others to attain professional excellence
  • Assess own strengths and weaknesses; pursue training and development opportunities; strive to continuously build knowledge and skills
  • Work as an effective team member, successfully balance individual and team responsibilities
  • Comply with all policies and procedures



  • Internal:  U.S. and field employees throughout Freedom House
  • External: Partners, funders, donors, consultants, implementers, congressional staffers, government agencies, legislators, human rights and civil society organizations, embassy staff, the press, vendors, Board members, members of the general public, etc. without supervision



General Working Conditions:

  • General working office environment
  • Some long hours including evenings and weekends to complete tasks or attend events
  • Travel to event sites and field offices less than 20% of the time
  • Exposed to outside weather conditions when required to attend event venues or travel
  • May involve work in regions that are remote and lack basic modern infrastructure, and in countries under U.S. travel advisory due to threats of terrorist attacks, civil unrest, kidnappings, disease outbreaks, etc.

Work Environment and Physical Demands: 
Essential functions are typically performed in an office setting. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. 

Disclaimer: This job description is only a summary of the typical functions of the job.  It is not an exhaustive or comprehensive list of all possible job responsibilities, tasks and duties. The responsibilities, tasks, and duties of the jobholder may differ from those outlined in the job description and that other duties, as assigned, may be part of the job. Freedom House may add, change, or remove essential and other duties at any time. 



Skills and Competencies :

  • Strong technical understanding of the internet, digital threats faced by HRDs including surveillance capabilities of international actors, and digital security tools and tactics for frontline activists, including encryption, circumvention, and anonymizing technologies and mobile security
  • Strong communication skills, particularly relating to technical topics to lay audiences and persons from a variety of cultural and educational backgrounds. Ability to apply strong analytical skills to interpret and translate complex terms, concepts, and issues into language easily comprehensible to non-experts, meeting people where they are and creating a kind and comfortable environment to raise questions and concerns
  • Strong ability to communicate effectively in English, both verbally and in writing; fluency in a second language (a plus)
  • Ability to sensitively tailor assistance to the needs of HRDs from a variety of populations and cultural contexts, including LGBTI people, religious communities, marginalized groups, etc.
  • Navigate competing priorities and needs as an effective translator among Freedom House departments (namely EAP, Finance, and IT), demonstrating agility in troubleshooting and creativity in generating agreeable solutions
  • Strong knowledge of international human rights principles and mechanisms
  • Experience with and understanding of traumatized and/or vulnerable populations and unique learning needs of these groups
  • Excellent judgment in problem solving and decision-making on a consistent basis
  • Ability to work on tight deadlines in a stressful environment with limited supervision
  • Strong ability to plan, organize, prioritize work, and multi-task to meet tight deadlines
  • Ability to apply superb attention to detail and consistently produce timely and error-free work
  • Ability to collaborate with others and work as an effective team member for success
  • Strong ability to initiate, foster, interact, and maintain relationships with contacts and stakeholders in a diverse and multicultural environment, with sensitivity and a high degree of courtesy, discretion, tact, and professionalism
  • Ability to maintain the highest degree of confidentiality regarding all aspects of work at all times
  • Ability to represent Freedom House professionally in conduct and personal appearance
  • Ability to travel independently to complete tasks in unfamiliar countries and regions

Application instructions

Qualified and Interested Applicants

Qualified candidates must complete an online application and submit a resume, and a cover letter with desired salary.

Only candidates who have been selected for an interview will be contacted.


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