Martus Basics

Martus allows anyone to securely collect, share and store data and information. It is open source, free and can be customized to collect data according to the needs of users. Information is often the most powerful asset available to individuals and groups who protect human rights and civil liberties. Martus was created to empower these activists to be stronger in their fight against injustice and abuse. How does it work?

Anyone who needs a secure system to collect and manage information can use Martus. Our users include lawyers, researchers, journalists, and human rights advocates. In addition to large nonprofits and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), our users include independent activists, local coalitions, members of small NGOs and many others. Some examples:

  • ND-Burma is a network of human rights groups who collect and share information about human rights abuses in Burma. They have been using Martus for more than 10 years, and the documentation they have secured there has helped them to produce numerous reports and inform various public information and advocacy campaigns promoting justice and accountability.
  • A Tibetan group has been using Martus on Tails since 2014. This model allows them to collect and share their human rights data in a standardized, strategic and secure way, while also providing protection against targeted malware attacks, a tactic that has been repeatedly used in attempts to compromise Tibetan human rights groups in the past.
  • A number of groups in Southern and Eastern Africa have deployed Martus to collect, store and share information related to human rights abuses against members of the LGBTI communities in their respective countries, as well as human rights issues related to healthcare, especially HIV and AIDS.

Martus Security

The people who give you information about human rights abuses are concerned about security and privacy - and you need to be just as concerned in order to protect them and yourself.

Martus prioritizes security. Martus keeps your information safe through always-on end-to-end encryption and by enabling backup to secure servers. This means only you and those you designate have access to the records you've created and no one else is able to modify the data you submit, or to create false or inaccurate records using your account. Even if your device is lost, seized, or stolen, Martus ensures your data cannot be read by those without permission to access it but, since it is backed up, you can recover it from another device. See the technical description of the encryption used in Martus here. Because Martus is an open source application, you don't have to take our word for it. Any organization can have the code independently verified to see that it does what we say it will do.

Since security involves people, and people are human, Martus security has limitations. Also important to note, if you forget your password or lose your Martus key, we cannot help you to recover your account. This is why it is very important to back up your key!

Martus's end-to-end encryption means that only you and the people who you choose can access your data. Even Benetech (or anyone with system administrator access) cannot read any information that you collect or store.

We have periodic security audits so that security experts can verify that there aren't any unanticipated vulnerabilities in our software and its implementation.

Martus Support

Yes, Martus is free to download and use. Benetech is a non-profit organization that funds the development and support for Martus through grants from a variety of sources (governments, foundations and individuals). This allows us to ensure the software stays up to date on security developments and continues to be available for years to come.

I want to work in a language other than English

Martus is available in 13 languages. Check our Language Packs to see if an updated translation is available in your language.

I want to use my own form

Martus data entry format templates are customizable, so you can shape your form to match the data you are collecting and any interview/intake forms you are already using.

My computer is old

Yes, probably. Lots of our users have older computers. The requirements for each operating system can be found on the downloads page.

I use my phone to collect data

There are a few options for collecting data on a mobile phone or tablet. You can download Mobile Martus for Android from the app store. We are working on other mobile options.

I don't have internet access

Many Martus users do the majority of their work offline, occasionally backing up and receiving records when they have a secure internet connection. Martus can also be operated entirely offline and back up secured on external drives. We recommend backing up regularly and off-site.

Benetech provides training and support to current and potential Martus users. We are happy to help you evaluate if Martus is the right tool for your work. The Benetech Human Rights Program regularly conducts both remote and in-country training and extends support to local human rights groups including:

  • needs and capacity assessments
  • training on Martus use and implementation
  • consultation on customizing Martus
  • digital safety training
  • human rights documentation best practices

We also provide remote follow-up support for groups we have trained, as needed. We have tried to provide helpful documentation and training materials for users on our webpage.

For questions or more information, please contact

Getting Started

Martus takes from 15-45 minutes to download and set up depending on your connection speed and level of comfort with software. Click here to get started.