Bea is from North America but lives in Latin America where she does political work as a volunteer in a grassroots organization.

Her organization is very diverse and includes peasants associations, student's groups, women's groups, human-rights defenders, environmental struggles, struggles against the mining industry, etc. During their national gathering, tens of thousands of people come together and, during other national events like general strikes, they mobilize hundreds of thousands of people in the streets.

In the organization, she is part of a small group in charge of international relations: answering emails from people outside the country who want to know about the organization and communicating with other grassroots organizations around the world.

Her small group really got started with Tails after reading a digital security guide by a European activist group. Their started using portable systems as a simple way of protecting themselves from all kinds of digital threats.

Before using Tails they also used another custom live system built by some friends of them and also based on Debian. As of today, many people in her organization are still using this custom system. They are pushing them to migrate to Tails because the kind of community behind Tails makes it look safer to them.

Bea uses Tails for 2 main reasons:

  • For the sake of learning and being able to teach others.

    By using tools like Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian, or Tails herself, she knows better how they work and she can analyze digital threats better. People are often scared of many things but she feels the need to analyze what are the real threats and the data they manipulate.

  • For personal use.

    She uses her computer for her work within the organization, to handle the web and the social media of the organization as well as of another NGO in North America that struggles against the mining industry.

    Even though her laptop is running Mint, is encrypted, and has Tor, Bitmask, GPG, and everything, she knows that her activism, her computer, and her online life is monitored, for example by companies from the mining industry.

    So she sometimes turns to Tails to have an extra "window of privacy" and do more personal stuff that she doesn't want to be linked to her political life, like access a secure personal email account, or use the Internet without leaving traces and risking to get spyware or malware on her computer.

Only a few people were using Tails in her organization until now because the website was not translated into Spanish. This year, they started to give workshops on Tails within the organization. As people from the international relations group all speak several languages, "hacking" on digital security tools was more accessible to them and they ended up being the ones giving workshops and teaching others.

Bea are her group are recommending Tails mostly to 2 kind of people:

  • People who don't have a computer and always use shared computers.

    Sometimes the people reporting human-rights violations in their community work on a shared computer, that runs Windows and is the same as the ones that the kids use to play online or watch movies, it's full of viruses, a real catastrophe.

    They try to convince them to use Tails with a persistent memory to manipulate the data on human-rights violations and keep it out of their Windows. Even though these people might still use GMail...

    Using GMail from Tails is a bit more complicated but it's possible. You only get more security checks. So it's important to have another email account as a backup in case they block your account.

  • People who want to have more secure communications.

    They teach them Thunder, GPG, and how to replace their GMail with a secure email. For example, when the human-rights reporter from a community communicates with the regional and national reporters, to avoid sending the reports and the names of the victims to GMail.

But until now maybe around 10 people are really working like this because people are not so aware of digital threats and how to mitigate them. Apart from digital-rights defenders, it's most popular amongst young people in bigger cities. Feminist groups are also working on digital security.

What she likes

  • She's really excited about the upcoming support for VeraCrypt.

    Many people here are using VeraCrypt and it was a big limitation when trying to convince them to use Tails.

    Human-rights defenders, lawyers, and journalists are using VeraCrypt a lot to protect information that can be sensitive for them or for their testimonies.

  • She really likes cloning. If you have a USB stick, I can make you a Tails!

  • She likes the persistent memory and finds it easy to use.

What she dislikes

  • She misses Bitmask.

    Bitmask is sometimes faster than Tor and you don't get that many "Prove that you're not a robot" that drive you crazy.

    With Bitmask I can decide to always appear as coming from North America whereas with Tor I always appear as coming from a different country. Some websites, like Google, don't like that.

  • She misses the ability to install additional software:

    • Bitmask.

    • Some people are used to their Windows applications and using it with Wine.

    • Some specific audio and video applications.

  • In recent versions, she had troubles cloning when running in Spanish.

  • In recent versions, she had troubles using Enigmail with Thunder and had to import her GPG keys manually every time.