Best In Beta: Security First

Which startup is going to be the next big thing? Investors, bloggers, job seekers, and inspiring entrepreneurs everywhere are dying to know. Hundreds of startups enter private beta each month, and that’s far too many for any one person to keep up with. Fret not! Each week, I share one of the hottest new startups in this column, Best In Beta. Let’s discover the next big thing together!



Technology used to expand freedom excites me the most. Freedom not just as in a few minutes of extra time in my day or unburdening mental clutter, or making a relatively cush life even easier, but freedom as in helping others rid our world of scoundrels.




Technology (so long as we keep it free and open) already equips average people around the world with the ability to communicate, to organize, and to record heinous acts better than ever before. The bastards have been put on notice – their behavior can no longer escape mass attention. Yet, there is much work to be done. The people on the front lines of the battles to build free and equal societies the world over need all the help they can get.


Defending the Defenders of Human Rights

Security First (, not to be confused with other companies with similar names) is creating a “live, open-source tool, allowing human rights defenders to protect not just themselves, but one another.”


mobile app


Along with collecting open source content related to hazards of the trade – things like kidnap prevention and response, counter-surveillance measures – Security First is building the mobile app Umbrella to assist in the field. Here’s a brief list of some of the issues Umbrella covers:


  • conduct risk assessment
  • make secure calls/ emails
  • securely access internet
  • encrypt data
  • plan secure travel
  • protect their office/home
  • plan counter-surveillance
  • measure insider threats
  • use a safe house
  • deal with kidnapping
  • arrest or evacuation


It’s hard to imagine the realities aid workers, human rights defenders, and journalists face in their day’s work. Such brave souls deserve tools to keep them safe and allow them to accomplish their heroic work. All the bad ass props thinkable for Security First trying to cover their backs.


Security First is hard at work with the tech community and NGOs to offer human rights defenders custom security and training packages. Umbrella provides checklists of recommended actions to assist individuals in hostile situations. They can use these lists to gain their bearings and then figure out more comprehensive plans.



 Security First Founder Rory Byrne


Rory Byrne is the CEO and founder of Security First. He has an extensive background in human rights and security work. A Certified Ethical Hacker (what a great job title!), he previously established the human rights organization Videre, concerned with authenticating and distributing covert camera footage. A good man to have on your side.


The internet and mobile devices have united us as average citizens of the world. It still takes selfless people to push for change and greater freedom. As pressure mounts, isolation and intimidation provide dwindling recourse for tyrants looking to hold onto their control. Let’s take that away from them, too. Visit to learn about all the ways that you can contribute.


Photo Credits

Security First