Can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?

I'm an activist and I organize workshops about digital security for grassroots organizations in Mexico City.

I studied computer science for some years. I've always been interested in computers and Free Software in particular.

I participate in events organized by the Free Software community in Mexico City, but my activism is on other topics, student events and human rights in particular.

How did you discover Tails and what do you use it for?

I discovered Tails some years ago in a digital self-defense guide from Tactical Tech.

I use Tails to organize events with my collective. We use Inkscape in Tails to create the graphics and flyers, also to publish the activity on blogs or over email.

We decided to use Tails to avoid leaving traces of these activities on our computers. We generate the documents from Tails and export them after erasing the metadata. We also rely on Tails to hide our location when we publish on blogs.

We don't think that such a high level of security is necessary for the kind of events that we organize, but we're interested in having a better security culture in general. For example, when we organize a workshop about PGP, even if the workshop is public, we organize it from Tails.

It's a policy of the entire collective to do this effort. I use Tails about once a month.

What do you like the most in Tails?

The fact that it is Free Software distribution that is live. It's very convenient to use on any computer and not necessarily on a dedicated or very recent one.

The integration of the Metadata Anonmization Tool makes it easy to clean metadata from images and other files.

What do you think needs to be improved in Tails?

We sometimes had problems using the data persistence. It's been hard to configure for some new users. The learning curve is longer.

For example, people think that they configured the data persistence already and can use it, but then realize that they didn't, and have to configure it again. It was not clear enough for them whether the data persistence was already activated or not.

Sometimes automatic upgrades are not available on some USB sticks that are very outdated. But we can solve this easily with a manual installation of the last version.

Other than that, it's good that each upgrade explains the changes and why. The frequency of upgrades is good. Downloading is easy.

For me, these are the 2 main pitfalls, but they are easy to solve.

What do you think is the biggest problem to Tails being adopted by more activists?

In terms of interest in the tool, many people don't think that using Tails is necessary in their context. Maybe because they think that it's too complicated, sometimes before they even try it. Tails could explain better why it's important to limit the traces on your computer.

In terms of technicalities, how to start Tails once it's installed on a USB stick. On some computers, how to select to boot from USB is more difficult than on others. Especially on Windows, which gets started very quickly and there is no time to enter the BIOS or the Boot Menu.

I teach people how to either enter the Boot Menu when starting or configure the laptop to always boot from the USB stick. I know the UEFI options screen of Windows and use to troubleshoot computers, but I'm more familiar with the Boot Menu key.

Who do you know who really needs Tails but is not using it yet?

A collective of lawyers and some journalists.

They know that they are spied upon and surveilled in the Mexican context. Still, sometimes they think that they have nothing to hide and are not interested in using such tools for their work.

To change this, workshops are a good opportunity to raise awareness. The Tails website explains well who can benefit from Tails and these people could identify with these use cases. Maybe Tails needs more outreach as well.

What if these people didn't have to restart the computer to use Tails?

It would make the starting process easier, and more people would use it. But other users might find it more suspicious since they would still be inside the other operating system and didn't restart on Tails.

I'm also not sure how easy it would be for users to start Tails in a virtual machine.