Centro de Autonomía Digital (CAD) is a non-profit organization based in Quito, Ecuador. We are a group of people that researches, improves and creates user-friendly tools and techniques that strengthen the digital sovereignty of people. In our work we aim to improve secure communications for everyone by using state-of-the-art academic research.
We started CAD because we wanted to strengthen access to real privacy for everyone. We believe that privacy is a human right that must be respected. Privacy is currently under attack from all sides, more than ever. We are living in a world where privacy is not respected by most organizations and governments. For this reason, we believe that creating technological tools that help preserve privacy is extremely important.
We also believe in free and open source software, which allows anyone to read, change, use or delete it without any charge or condition. In turn, that strengthens the security of any software created by allowing anybody to inspect the code and verify that it has not been changed by unknown parties and that no malicious code has been added. Our work is entirely released in an open source fashion and can be freely accessed and used.
The work of CAD started long before the organization existed, as a small team working on open source software for the global consultancy firm ThoughtWorks. In 2017, the team left ThoughtWorks and created the first CAD, in Brazil. In 2018 we moved to Quito, Ecuador, and we are still almost completely based there.
We have worked on many different projects over the last 6 years. These include everything from supporting existing tools and communities to creating new software and specifications. In 2015 we started the development of what would later become OTRv4, a new encryption protocol for secure communication, and all the implementations necessary for it. CAD and its team worked on OTRv4 up until 2019, when CAD moved on to other projects.
The CAD team is also the creator of CoyIM, a secure chat client that emphasizes privacy and security first. It tries to make it as easy as possible to be secure by default. This implies an engineering process that is quite different from other kinds of development projects.
One of our more recent projects from CAD is called Wahay, and is a conference call application which allows you to create voice conference calls without having a server or any kind of account in an extremely secure way.
We have also worked on many other projects, including Tor, Tails, Enigmail, Let’s Encrypt and many more.
In CAD we think it’s important to be part of the community. No one can solve things on their own, and privacy and security are large problems. Because of this, members of CAD have participated in many conferences and meetings around the world, such as CCC, CryptoRave, PETS and many others.