2. Your adversaries

Who am I concerned about?

_USING A FILM TO TELL A STORY that would otherwise go untold can draw unwanted attention. People involved in your story and those with a vested interest in how you frame it may take interest in your work. In the digital security field, these actors are referred to as adversaries — individuals or forces that aim to compromise your assets.

Some adversaries are immediately obvious: a border agent, or a disgruntled collaborator. Others may be less obvious, hidden from view or behind a screen a continent away: a financial scammer, or a state actor appearing in your inbox as a phishing email.


Write down a list of your potential adversaries. Think of the network of contacts you’ll be interacting with during your project. Extend that thinking to the entities who might have a vested interest in compromising you or the people connected to you.


Arrange these adversaries into clear categories — nation state actors, corporations, powerful individuals, and so on.


Take a look at your groups of adversaries. Which entities are most likely to be interested in the possible consequences of your work? These are the first actors you’ll want to defend against.

Yance Ford, on identifying potential adversaries to a project

“I assumed that because my film was about a local police department and a local story, that it wouldn’t necessarily attract any attention. My biggest concern was, you know, what if the person who I’ve never met somehow figures out who I am? And I made an effort digitally to make sure that my family safeguarded their identities online, [...] but beyond that, I never thought about if my film had broader implications.”

more ways to understand your risk:
Risk Assessment

1. Your assets

What do I have to protect?

Footage, transcripts, messages, contacts - all of these pieces of data make up the vast collection of your digital assets.

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Risk Assessment

3. Your adversaries’ capabilities

What are likely threats I might face over the course of this project?

The more information you’re able to gather about your adversary early on, the better you’ll be at anticipating their capabilities, and practically protecting your assets based on what you know.

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Risk Assessment

4. Your capabilities

What can I do now to limit the negative impact of these threats?

At this point, you know who you’re concerned with, and have an idea of what these actors are capable of. In light of your concerns, how far can you go to protect the data you value?

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