Feminist Hackerhive meetups

We’ve had a few more anarchafeminist hackerhive meetups over the last month and each one has been different, with a different group of people showing up and wanting to talk about their ideas and projects. Mostly, we just hang out in a mellow way and sometimes people bring cupcakes or other food to share. There is a fair amount of discussion of Misogynist Shit that Happens on the net or in various geek communities along with strategies for dealing with them and what I would call general feminist consciousness raising. We are all getting to know each other. People like the stickers!

This is also happening in Noisebridge mostly in a very public setting so nothing super private, secret, or anonymous is happening during these meetings. It is not particularly a “safe space”. Far from it since we have people occasionally intrude, we don’t have any standards for behavior or speech internally in the “group”, and also, I warn people not to use the open wifi at Noisebridge without a VPN. But about the meetings, I figure that people can get to know each other here and if anyone wants to do something with more secrecy they have that opportunity to do so in an autonomous working group.

Here’s a few of the subjects we’ve talked about over the last few weeks, as short notes since I am so far behind in blogging about the meetups.

Resisting gender binaries in software/web tool development. Wikipedia and the Teahouse project. The Ada Initiative. I reported on stuff that happened at GeekGirlCon and we talked a bunch about the skepchick and feminist frequency clusters of activity. Linux installfests. IRC cloaking. Using Bitlbee. Livestreaming technology for use at Occupy. Tracing identities from IP numbers and other information. Gradual ongoing skillsharing amongst the Hive. Grassroots skillsharing and activism. Our own histories of going into programming, web dev, computer science, and involvement with open source stuff, some of us not programmers but are “very sophisticated end users” who are often in a role of being the most technical person in the room.

Awareness of gender and misogyny is important in predicting the attack surface/threat model for an action online. Who is it going to piss off?

Local safety alerts (discussion of that email from SFWAR last year about someone killing women in the Mission; its veracity; what kinds of alert are useful or not). Divides within Occupy movements in SF and Oakland; people on mailing lists, with smart phones, were not the people on the street suffering the violence, or without much of an intersection. Description of a women’s urgent action committee who ran public vigils for years every time a woman was killed by her partner. What happens in activist groups leading up to everyone from anti-oppression groups quitting or from marginalized people quitting the group, with examples of racism and sexism.

Creating something like an activist tools package and hosting system. Cloud-based servers, important in organizing to figure out who has the passwords, tools that can handle different accounts/logins, set that up from the beginning. Everyone can post vs. gated/moderated vs. individually owned.

My app idea in response to Circle of Six: how about an app called Wingmen Don’t Rape or something like that, distributed on college campuses, for men so that they can monitor each other to make sure they’re still not raping anyone. It would have a few simple buttons where you remind your buddies not to have sex with anyone who is unconscious or too drunk to consent or if they’re too drunk themselves to have good judgement. They could send each other anti-raping tips and then report periodically throughout the evening “Still haven’t raped anyone yet!” It would be great to raise awareness! Well, seriously it would just attract outrage, but it would be funny as hell and would make a point. I get so pissed off at all the “don’t get raped” apps people make! Why not a few “don’t rape anyone” social pressure educational apps?

Some of us don’t usually identify as feminist, have problems with that framework, and yet kind of see the point of feminist actions or want to work with other women or are just sick of facing sexist behavior alone.

Feminist hacker ethics should consider access issues to tech tools and the number of voices being heard within a movement. It needs to consider the dynamic where the assets, computers/accounts/hosting/servers are owned by men, while the work is being done day to day by women who don’t step up to take the credit for the work for many reasons.

Class differences seen in activism where just showing people they can SMS to Twitter on their own phones is powerful, or showing them how to post to wordpress.org or blogger.com for the first time. Someone who uses email may not have the framing to get how to talk “on the Internet”. This is important for women having a public voice.

Someone brought a game boy controlled sewing machine and donated it to Noisebridge. Interest all around! Someone else let us know that conductive velcro exists. Some frilly pink fabric was also passed around and greeted with terror, horror, anti-pink feelings, and from some, enthusiastic glee. Devolution into discussion of My Little Pony and the whole brony thing.

Phone access codes to Noisebridge.

Pystar, Railsbridge projects discussed with enthusiasm!

Yelp for doctor reviews. Situations trans people face where collecting that information attracts trolls, attacks, is difficult to maintain and keep as well as to host. Needs to be distributed/federated, with really good revision history and author info while preserving anonymity. admins shouldn’t have too much power. LIke an open source review engine that preserves accountability. Syncing between different instances will be important. What about using github as the back end. Crawl existing lists to pre-populate. New entry creation should be treated differently than reviews of existing care providers.

Feminist Hackers github group. We can contribute these project ideas. Just mkae the readme describing the project and check it in. Maybe we can help each other and recruit contributors for the ideas we’ve been discussing.

Namethatrapist.com gets a little discussion at each meeting. Everyone has a different idea of what it would be, and how to do it, and what the risks would be.

General love for markdown. Writing a guide to hardening one’s security.

Service for storing/sharing block lists, for use by individual bloggers/social media users/feminist group blogs etc, with an API. Exporting block lists. Agitating for data liberation from various companies to be able to export those lists.

Talkbackbot discussed again. Poortego (a Maltego imitation on github). Maker Pipeline project to match people’s skills and projects. Desire to have a 3js and D3 library workshop. Teaching (white hat) hacking to kids. Complaints and lulz over things made for women that are pink or flowered. Flowered crap at REI. Bic For Her pen reviews were very funny.

Automated hate mail doxxer tool. What about using spamassassin for hate speech? Individually customizable/trainable over time. Hateassassin! Crowdsourcing the job of looking at your blog comments/moderating (for people with an urgent situation who ahve just been slashdotted or something) Countergriefer project: tool to use panopticlick… and then republish their shit with that information for a block list or doxxing.

Persona management software.

Shit Reddit Says, Tumblr activism going on.

Discussion of name change laws in California and other states. IN some states you must register the name change in public which forever and googleably associates your old name with your new name. Not good when you are trying to evade stalkers.

Matt Honan’s situation with his amazon & apple accounts socially engineered and then his ipad, phone, and computer info deleted remotely. Very interesting story.

Description of the stuff Anita and Jonathan told me and Kellie from EFF about what it is like to face a long term ongoing series of attacks and raids on herself and her accounts everywhere and her family and friends. What help could a larger hackerhive provide? This would be the emergency response team. What resources exist to help people in this situation?

Funny ideas about challenge coins and medals for the (entirely hypothetical) Feminist Emergency Response Team (FERT) and the Feminist Cyberdefense Strike Force.

More ideas for crypto parties.

We hope that people elsewhere will declare themselves feminist hackers and will meet up and post their ideas.

Also, say hi on freenode; some of us are there hanging out on #geekfeminism and on #feminism as well. This geekfeminism channel *isn’t* the moderated one run by the gf bloggers and friends though there is some intersection.

If you want to join the mailing list, you can do it here, but it is a private list so if you don’t already know me please email me separately to let me know a bit about yourself and why you would like to join. We would like for now to keep it to people who have at some point identified as significantly non-male.

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