Go Forth, Do Good Deeds

I launched my mission to improve people’s privacy and security almost ten years ago now. It’s been quite a journey and I’ve learned a lot in that time. One thing I’ve realized is that there’s only so much I can do on my own. And so I’ve encouraged the more technically savvy members of my audience to help others where they can. While this is surely a kind and altruistic endeavor, it’s also in our collective best interests. Privacy and security aren’t simply “me” things – they’re very much “we” things. Your devices are connected with other people’s devices; your data overlaps other people’s data. Helping others will help us all.

One downside to communicating via book, newsletter and podcast is that I don’t have much insight into the effectiveness of my exhortations. I have no idea how many people are going forth to do good deeds nor what those deeds are. But if I knew about them, I could publicly recognize these achievements – celebrate the good deeds and honor the deed doers.

I actually generated this image using Stable Diffusion.

Sound the Trumpets

A few years back, I created a limited set of dragon challenge coins. The traditional notion of a challenge coin is to recognize achievements by others. I’ve given these coins to people who have made direct contributions to the cause of privacy and security. But I know there are others out there doing great work, and I’d like the opportunity to learn about what they’re doing and recognize their efforts.

Starting today, I will be accepting direct nominations for challenge coin awards. You can’t nominate yourself, but if you’ve helped someone else improve their security or privacy, I encourage you to ask them to nominate you. To submit a nomination, fill out the form by clicking the button below. (I know… it’s a Google Form. I apologize for that, but I just haven’t been able to find an affordable online form service with decent features.)

I will call out some of these good deeds from time to time on my podcast and/or social media. And once per calendar quarter (or so), I will review the submissions and reward the most significant achievements by sending the good-deed-doer one of my new v2.0 dragon challenge coins. (You can see an example coin below, but go here for more information.) I will maintain a list of these coin recipients on my website (when I have the link, I’ll post it here), to publicly recognize their efforts for all to see.

Dragon Challenge Coin: gold color, front (left) & back (right)

Finding Your Quest

The idea here is to help others improve their privacy and protect their digital devices. This could take many forms and I don’t want to restrict your creativity. You can help someone to change computer or smartphone settings, remove bad apps or install good ones, set up and use a password manager, teach an informal class or seminar… the options are endless.

My book is chock full of ideas, of course. You can download the free workbook to get some ideas, without buying the book. But I’ve also created an extensive set of nifty coupons that cover the most important tips. You can use the coupons just to get ideas or you can actually hand them out to the person you’re helping. (Note: I’ll be adding more coupons from time to time, so check back for updates.) I encourage you to read my initial post on this topic: Give the Gift of Security & Privacy.

Of course, you can also request help from someone or on behalf of someone else. Again, have a look at the coupons or my workbook for ideas.

Final Notes

The goal of this campaign is to identify people who are going above and beyond their normal duties to improve the lives of others. I want to recognize good deeds that make the world a more secure and private place. I want to encourage efforts that raise the status quo, that incrementally improve our world. There are many people out there who do this on a daily basis – and thank goodness for them! However, for the purposes of this campaign, I will favor recognizing efforts that go above and beyond someone’s normal duties.

On a practical level, while I would love to send these coins anywhere on the planet, I probably will not be able to ship these coins outside the United States. The customs forms and costs are both prohibitive. There may be limited exceptions (like Canada or Mexico), but I can’t promise. Regardless, I will set the dragon coin aside and if there comes a time when I can send it, I will.

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