Civic Participation, Digital Rights

Safa Ghnaim

Associate Program Director

Associate Program Director


Safa Ghnaim is leading global projects for digital rights defense and democratizing resources to preserve the right of privacy for all.

Safa Ghnaim is leading the Data Detox Kit project at Tactical Tech, an international NGO that engages with citizens and civil society organizations to explore the impacts of technology on society.

The Data Detox Kit's friendly, non-technical and non-judgemental tone and flexible approach gives people the space to choose their own journey through controlling their data privacy and digital security, enhancing their digital wellbeing, and combating misinformation. 

The project received an opportunity to expand and become more inclusive, reaching wider audiences with the support of SIDA (the Swedish International Development Agency). In 2020, the Data Detox Kit was featured as a resource as part of The Social Dilemma documentary on Netflix, and was even recognized for the Tech Spotlight at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center as a model of technology that seeks a more inclusive, fair, and safer future. 

As of today, the Data Detox Kit ( is available in 35 languages, thanks to the hard work, dedication, and support of its global network of partners.

Safa’s story in her own words…

In 2018, I joined Tactical Tech to support their existing and successful Data Detox Kit project (I credit my colleagues for building such a meaningful and solid project to begin with). In 2020, I expanded my support of Tactical Tech projects to conceptualize and co-write the Digital Enquirer Kit (an e-learning to train investigators and journalists, supported by the GIZ [German Corporation for International Cooperation]) and in 2021, I began leading the Digital You initiative (to support partners who adapt our resources and develop new programs across Sub-Saharan Africa, alongside Goethe-Institut Kinshasa). In late 2021, I was promoted to Associate Program Director at Tactical Tech, and this was a significant professional stepping stone for me.

Since I joined Tactical Tech, I've had the opportunity to build partnerships with people all over the world who are at the forefront of digital education and training in their countries and communities, and to develop and facilitate workshops and train-the-trainer sessions which have been adapted by trainers, librarians, and educators from Myanmar to Paraguay to Kenya and beyond.

The key for me has been listening and learning from international partners and contacts to understand their needs and how to best support their activities. 

Before joining Tactical Tech, I worked as an educator and editor, most notably editing and formatting my sister's book Tatreez & Tea: Embroidery and Storytelling in the Palestinian Diaspora, which tells the story of my family.

A Short Interview with Safa

What brought you to work in the field of digital transformation? 

Since a young age I have been interested in digitalization and technology: building basic HTML pages and websites, and using digital tools to capture and create visual information. But I think the big turning point was when I was a teenager and I trained my mom to turn on and use a laptop and check her email (approximately 2003 or so).

I realized with just a little patience, repetition, and creativity with how I explained technological concepts, I could positively impact her life. With the ability to use technology on her own, she was suddenly able to better keep in touch with family who lived far away and new opportunities opened up to her, by virtue of being able to receive and respond to emails. I remember really cherishing that experience and since then I was on the path I am still on now.

What is your motivation for doing the work/studies/research you do?

I am of the firm belief that digital rights are human rights. Perhaps in the early days of tech, there was more of a clear separation between our online and offline lives, but nowadays, we are always connected—whether we realize it or not. For example, I might be taking every precaution to be more private and secure online, but if my bank gets a data breach and my password or identification number are released, that has very real repercussions on my offline life. I'm not even talking about master hackers... the 2017 Equifax breach happened because this huge international powerhouse had a master password that was simply "admin"! Furthermore, everyday when I read a new article or report about how facial recognition is used to oppress or discriminate against an innocent person, or how predictive policing technologies disproportionately affect People of Color, or how forms of corporate and government surveillance are launched without public knowledge and without the necessary expert discussions about ethical implications, my motivation is renewed—this work becomes more important everyday.

What is one way in which your work creates impact?

Maybe I can't change everything, but if I can help just one individual to better understand what is happening on the smartphone in their pocket (how they are being tracked, monitored, or exploited, for example), then that is a small success I can feel good about.