domestic violence

NNEDV Tech Summit 2013 Report

I was invited to talk for 90 minutes at NNEDV's TechSummit 13 about privacy, helping victims, and Tor. My presentation covered a quick overview of Tor, why I'm here talking about domestic violence and intimate partner abuse, and what we're doing to help. I also included four case studies of which highlight the role of technology in stalking and abuse. Videos of my talk may make their way online at some point. At the request of the audience, I walked through my World Bank Hackathon presentation to show how easy it is to infect a mobile phone and what an abuser will get out of such an action.

The conference was held at the great Hayes Mansion which allowed for lots of informal conversations in a more relaxed atmosphere. The attendees are a mix of advocates from around the world, law enforcement, commercial companies (such as Apple, Facebook, Google, Verizon, Mozilla, etc), and a number of lawyers from public and private organizations.

I could only stay for one of the three-day conference, but once again, it was great to engage in conversations with people of all backgrounds. Many organizations are now more aware of Tor and interested in talking to us about using our technology and experience to help. Hopefully our continuing commitment to helping and past experience in this area are beginning to make a difference.

Overall, it was great to be invited and worth the trip.

A weekend at New England Give Camp

Trip Report for New England Give Camp 2013

I spent the entire weekend with New England Give Camp at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, MA. I was one of the non-profits, representing ipv tech, Tor, and offering myself as a technical volunteer to help out other non-profits. Over the 48 hours, here's what I helped out doing:

  • Transition House
    • Help evaluate their IT systems
    • Look at, reverse engineer, and fix their Alice database system
  • Emerge
    • Update their wordpress installation
    • Help fix the rotating images on the site
  • ipv tech
    • Hack on fuerza app
    • Get fuerza into a git repo, now here at gitorious
    • rewrite the app to be markdown and static files to work offline
  • Children's Charter
    • Help resurrect their hacked WordPress installation and build them a new site.

I also did a 30 minute talk about technology and intimate partner violence. Over the past few years, I've seen every possible technology used to stalk, harass, and abuse people--and those that help them. I'm helping the victims and advocates use the same technologies to empower the victims and turn the tables on the abusers in most cases. The ability to be anonymous and be free from surveillance for once, even for an hour, is cherished by the victims and affected advocates.

Our team was great. Kevin, Paul, John, Bob, Carmine, Adam, and Sarah did a great job at keeping motivated, making progress, and joking along the way. Microsoft, Whole Foods, and a slew of sponsors offered endless food, sugary drinks, beautiful views, and encouragement throughout the weekend.

Cambridge Community Television interviewed me at the very end of the event. There's also a Flickr group full of pictures.

Overall it was a great experience. I encourage you to volunteer next year.

Trip Report: White House Forum to Combat Human Trafficking

Trip Report White House Forum to Combat Human Trafficking, 09 April 2013

I was invited to attend the White House Forum to Combat Human Trafficking. I've been part of a task force to look at the role of technology in human trafficking. Secretary of State John Kerry sent a video since he was in another country at the time. A local Tor volunteer from Cambridge, Massachusetts has White House Press credentials and was able to cover the event. This article is a better writeup and interview, with video, than anything else I've seen covering the event. Interestingly, no other press showed up to cover the event. It seems CCTV Cambridge was the only press covering this White House initiative.

The room was full of a mix of people from law enforcement, human rights organizations, legal firms, and commercial companies. Eric Holder, Attorney General of US, Janet Napolitano, Secretary of DHS, and Cecilia Munoz, Director of Domestic Policy Council, all gave speeches about what their respective organizations are doing to fight trafficking. The US Dept of Health and Human Services is the main organization behind all of this. Their end trafficking site is a fine starting point.

As far as my role, it's been to think about how technology is being used by traffickers and how victims could get help in their situations. Thorn, FAIR Girls, and Polaris are all working on solutions and gathering raw data to support decisions.

I then spent some time talking to various organizations in DC and helping to explain Tor to more law enforcement.

Overall, it was a good day trip to DC.

Trip Report: World Bank and Second Muse Domestic Violence Hackathon

Over the weekend, I attended the Hacking against Domestic Violence event in Washington DC, sponsored by the World Bank and Second Muse. I was there to help define problem statements, think about security and privacy risks of the solutions, and to help judge the solutions crafted by the attendees. A total of 10 teams congealed over the weekend. Everyone had creative solutions to the problem statements. Generally the sheer quality of output and enthusiasm was the first thing I noticed about all of the teams and their apps. Everyone in DC focused on mobile phone compatibility, even if their solution worked on the general web itself. There are plenty of photos available from the 7 involved countries.

I ended up spending most of my time with the team working to develop protocols to protect survivors from surveillance. We called ourselves Team Fuerza. The full presentation is available. A volunteer recorded a video of the presentation as well. Related images and videos are uploaded to my Tor people site.

Because I was involved with a team, I volunteered to give up my voting rights on the judges panel to avoid any issues. I then ended up presenting for the team for the status update and final presentation.

Overall, it was a great two days and the team made a lot of progress in a short amount of time. A big thanks to the team (Sarah, Az, Cid, Adriana, Andrew, and Justin), SecondMuse, the World Bank, and all of the attendees for their efforts in holding a hackathon in 7 countries simultaneously.

The World Bank and Second Muse should have their final press release and announcement of the results soon.

UPDATE 2013-02-08: World Bank accounces their press release about the hackathon. Team Fuerza, won the USA hackathon!

Hacking Against Domestic Violence

This January the Tor Project is supporting the Central America Domestic Violence Hackathon. The goal of this effort is to address the challenge of domestic violence by building technology solutions to assist agencies that work to support victims and advance efforts to bring perpetrators to justice.

This is being done by supporting communities on the ground in six Central America countries and Washington, DC. Already some of the organizations involved, including SecondMuse and the World Bank, have worked with these communities to define problems with potential for technical solutions. Next, these problems will be refined and then hacked on at a series of coordinated hackathons on January 26th and 27th, 2013.

We want to invite the Tor community to join us in this process. How can you help? There are two ways:

  1. Join the collaboration around defining strong problems. You can do this by reading the problem definitions and adding your comments, questions, and ideas. These problems have been generated primarily by non-technical organizations and your insight from a technical perspective can be invaluable. This includes feasibility, use cases, privacy and security concerns, existing solutions, and more.
  2. Join us on January 26th and 27th in one of the seven locations: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, or Washington, DC.

We believe we can make a difference on domestic violence, and we need you.

Finally, if you'd like to get involved on a deeper level by organizing a problem refinement event, meeting with organizations in these locations, helping organize a hackathon, or more - contact the team running this project at vdhackathon@secondmuse.com.

Employers Against Domestic Violence and Technology Panel

I was invited by Employers Against Domestic Violence to give a talk about technology and stalking as part of a larger panel.

On Friday the 16th, I presented Tor and our work with victims of abuse and stalking to around 50 people. Most of my full presentation covered the basics of Tor, a demo of Tails Live System, and then some user stories. Most of the people in the audience were already DV advocates and aware of the way technology is used to harm or manipulate others. The user stories have come from a number of places, between phone calls, email support, and actually being out in the world talking to survivors or advocates who want to help.

I co-presented with Sarah from Abine and Valenda from Greater Boston Legal Services. All three of our presentations can be found on Tor's people server.

Afterwards, a number of people came up to me to ask about getting Tails or Tor Browser, or to simply introduce themselves. I met a cyber-stalking survivor I've only helped via email and phone over the past year or so. I look forward to doing more of these types of events locally.

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