Online Activities Policy

Issued April 22, 2020 EV

93, all,

The COVID-19 quarantine has resulted in many of our local bodies moving activities online. This is an admirable and effective adaptation to our present circumstances, and I strongly encourage everyone to continue using this strategy.

However, the transition from physical to online interactions carries with it a different set of security considerations. I ask all local body leaders to understand these, and to take them into account when planning and executing an online strategy.

  1. Activities and forums requiring confidentiality (e.g., a meeting between the officers of a local body at which the discussion might include degree-sensitive topics or the names of individual members) must be held using a tool which requires users to log in to use the tool, and which allows participation to be limited to a specific set of users whose identity has been verified by other means. Such limitation must always be in force. Participants should be reminded to exercise due caution in maintaining privacy from family members and housemates.

  2. Activities and forums which are not constrained as described in (1) cannot be assumed to be confidential, and thus must be treated as if they are open to the general public. Thus, no degree-sensitive or otherwise confidential information should be discussed. Participants should be warned that their status as OTO members, or association with OTO, could easily "leak".

  3. While I understand that it is especially easy to use and hence very popular, Zoom is an extraordinarily insecure meeting platform. It may not be used for confidential OTO meetings under any circumstances, and is strongly discouraged even for non-confidential use. There are many alternatives with better security; Discord in particular is being successfully used by the USGL government and a growing number of local bodies. In addition, the Electoral College is in the pilot-launch phase of an effort to make the resources of Google [Workspace], including Meet conferencing, available to all local bodies. If for whatever reason you decide to use Zoom despite the large risks involved, please stay up to date on best practices to avoid its most significant flaws. This article is a good starting point.

Guarding our Camps, Oases, and Lodges is an ongoing and evolving duty that we all share. I trust that each of you will continue to carry out this duty in our current circumstances. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or concerns about online security or any other aspect of OTO online activity.

93 93/93,

Catherine Berry

Internet Secretary

United States Grand Lodge

Ordo Templi Orientis