21st Century COINTELPRO - FBI Surveillance Then and Now: How We Can Protect Ourselves

Hosted by Progressive Technology Project and May First / People Link, December 12, 2016

In the 1960s, the government sponsored a massive surveillance, infiltration and disruption program called COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program). It destroyed movements, relationships, and activists' lives. It destroyed the trust and hopefulness needed to build and sustain a movement. It destroyed the movement for justice in this country.

We haven't seen anything like it since then.

Some of us think we're about to. But this time, we have ways of fending it off and protecting ourselves and we can start with our communications.

We'll talk about what COINTELPRO was, what we're facing now, and what you can do to protect yourself, your data, and your on-line access.


  • Welcome & Introductions - Alice Aguilar, Executive Director, Progressive Technology Project (PTP)
  • Experiences with COINTELPRO - Alfredo Lopez, Founder and Leadership Committee Member, May First / People Link
  • 21st Century Surveillance: What To Expect - Chris Conley, Technology & Civil Liberties Policy Attorney, ACLU - Northern California
  • Defense Tools We Can Use - Jamie McClelland, Technology Director at PTP; Co-founder and Leadership Committee Member, May First / People Link
  • Q & A - moderated by Alice Aguilar

Materials and Resources:

  • Webinar recording link here, or you can download the recording below
  • Jamie McClelland's resources on Defense Tools We Can Use here.
  • Chris Conley suggested resource: Privacy & Free Speech: It's Good for Business - a guide for companies to build privacy and speech protections into products, some relevance for advocacy groups that handle data as well. You can also download the pdf below (does not include updates since publication on web site)
  • Chris Conley suggested resource:Making Smart Decisions About Surveillance. You can also download the pdf below.
  • Chris Conley suggested article on the citation for the UK report on online discrediting of activists by GCHQ's (UK Government Communications Headquarters) previously secret unit, JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group) - How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations, Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept. You can also download the pdf below.
Training Category: