Gender and Technology Institute, Berlin
From Gender and Tech Resources
|Title||The Gender and technology Institute|
|Geolocalization||52° 28' 43", 13° 23' 8"|
|Organisation||Tactical Technology Collective with the support of APC|
|Target audience|| Women Huma Rights Defenders, Women Net activists
In September 2014 the open call for applications to the Gender and Technology Institute1 (GTI) was launched and distributed among our networks. In less than six weeks over 350 applications were received. Applicants lived in many areas of the world and represented different socio-demographic and political backgrounds. However their personal stories in relation to privacy and digital security threats faced by themselves, or their communities, were disturbingly alike.
|Number of participants||48|
|Context and motivations|| Online threats and gender based violence trap too many women into a contradictory situation in which on one hand the use of the internet is crucial for their work and/or activism, in order to coordinate actions, enable a wider reach out, display new identities, and on the other hand they are also increasingly exposed to surveillance, harassment and punitive actions. All these factors have led to a situation in which the internet is not a safe space and in which it is common to see women's work and voices being deleted, (self)-censored, and actively prevented from being seen, heard or read.
Answers to our call for applications echoed this situation and while many applicants reflected on the stereotypes and prejudices they had face when engaging with tech, there was also a general acknowledgement of a lack of security (either digital, physical or well-being) of women when accessing, using and developing technologies. Besides, the use of tech to undermine privacy and create new forms of surveillance and control over women bodies and opinions was also remarked. Among women targeted, the WHRD and LGTBQI activists working on gender social justice issues or sensitive topics, such as health, reproductive and sexual rights were felt as particularly at risk. Moreover, vocal women, such as bloggers and journalists engaged in politics or feminist issues were also cruelly under attack.
The aims of the institute were to train participants in order to learn tools and techniques for increasing their understanding and practice in digital security and privacy and in order to become digital security trainers and privacy advocates within their own organisations and communities. The Institute was also intended to better understand what could be new approaches to privacy and digital security including a gender and cultural diversity approach. Contents addressed encompassed theoretical elements dealing with gender and technology, privacy and surveillance, training skills and practical tips and methodologies to become an outstanding privacy advocate or digital security trainer. Other dimensions, such as holistic security, self care, risk analysis, tackling online violence, develop feminist principles of the internet were also discussed along the encounter.
|Topics||privacy advocacy, digital security, gender and tech, holistic security|
|Agenda|| Morning Tracks
Starting on Wednesday, you will have the option to choose between two tracks which you will continue with for the rest of the week “Training Skills” and “Privacy Advocacy”.
1. Privacy Advocacy
This track has been designed to develop our understanding of digital privacy from a practical perspective. The aim is to strengthen our work as digital privacy advocates who can talk practically about the issues, what can be done and what this means in the context of our work. Each day we will combine discussion based learning with practical hands-on sessions and together not only learn from each other but build our confidence and skills as future advocates. Over five days, we will work to create some of the key building blocks that will help us better understand how technology, the infrastructure and the industry works and how to convince others to make better choices.
We will start by looking behind the screens to see where our data goes, how the data industry works and explore our digital shadows. We will then look at surveillance, how it works practically and what this means for freedom of expression and association. Moving from behind the screens to what happens within them, we will look at online harassment and intimidation, particularly in the context of gender, and work together through strategies for handling this; from identity management to social media tactics. Finally, we will work on skills for advocating around privacy, influencing others and breaking down common arguments, such as 'nothing to hide' and 'national security' arguments. On the final morning, participants will be expected to prepare and lead a session on digital privacy and will receive feedback.
Important to note that this track requires continuity through all learning sessions.
2. Training Skills
This track, designed for participants relatively knowledgeable about digital security focuses on practicalities and best-practices of facilitating digital security trainings for human rights defenders and activists. The areas of focus will include: Training as a process, wherein we will explore the role and limitations of training on digital security, and best practices relating to agenda design, logistics, evaluation and more. We will highlight important principles of facilitation in the context of a holistic approach to security which recognises the central importance of well-being and broader best practices relating to security management and planning to a successful digital security training: How does a trainer deal with stress and trauma among participants, and how might these factors impact a participant's ability to learn? What are effective and ineffective ways to promote security in a learning environment, and what does gender justice in a digital security training look like? We will also focus on the different ways adults learn in order to prepare participants for how to deal with different styles and learning types, and design creative and interactive means of teaching sometimes dry and complicated technical concepts.
It is important to note that this track requires continuity through all learning sessions. You can find here more details about the foreseen learning sessions that will compose this track. Afternoon Hands-On Digital Security and Privacy Tools
The track on digital security and privacy tools is oriented towards all participants of the Institute and will split between those who already have basic knowledge and experiences with security tools and strategies and those who are already using them. The sessions here aim to explain complicated concepts (e.g how encryption works), help you understand how these can help you in your work, and teach you the available and trusted tools to do it. This track will also host install party sessions in order to help participants who want to migrate to Gnu/Linux to install a free distribution. Depending on your level of knowledge, the learning outcomes will be determined together with the facilitators and the rest of the group but could include: mobile security, encryption of devices, files and mails, anonymisation and bypassing of censorship, how to use Tails and how to organise a key signing party.
Gender and Technology Basics
These sessions are oriented towards all participants with or without previous knowledge of feminism and/or gender social justice issues. The expected learning outcomes encompass a better understanding about the different feminist movements, which are the feminist and post-feminist theories in relation to technologies and why there is a gender and cultural diversity gap in computer sciences, free software and hacker cultures and which are the strategies to reduce those gaps. This track will also address the different types of on-line threats and on-line gender based violence inasmuch as the tactics and initiatives enabling to overcome and tackle those issues. The different learning sessions will mix different methodologies such as storytelling, focussed group discussion, videos, talks and many other surprises.
You can browse among the bibliographic resources dealing with those topics here and also visit our page listing gender and feminist initiatives online
Computer and Security Basics
These sessions are aimed at people who want to start with the basics, or catch up on what they think have missed in previous trainings or learning on digital security such as how the internet works, history of operating systems, why everyone loves free and open source software, malware and viruses, basics of data storage or hardware security etc.
These sessions will allow participants who have a specific skill or experience relevant to the Institute, which won't be covered in the content tracks, to share with others. These could include topics such as “Strategies to counter online violence”, “How Mesh Networks work”, “Feminist Technology Infrastructure” etc.
|Methodologies|| In order to plan the engagement with communities, training methodologies, curricula, contents and the security measures that should be adopted for the organisation of the GTI, an international kick off meeting was organised in October 2014. It was attended by 21 WHRD, women net activists and digital security trainers, who presented their experiences in relation to gender, security and privacy, and brainstormed about methodologies and session planning to prepare the agenda. The interaction with the selected participants, criteria for selection and how to ensure their safety before, during and after the GTI were also addressed. Finally, creating a safe space and an atmosphere of wellbeing and relaxation during the event was also discussed in-depth.
Our evaluations of applications used a data audit appraisal to check their suitability to the aims of the institute and the ideal-types of participants defined in our call. The data audit was achieved in two rounds, one first step was applied checking for their legibility and enabling us to extract a more reduced pool of motivated and adequate potential candidates. In the second step another set of criteria was applied in order to ensure as much diversity as possible among participants.
Some of the criteria used were: Living and/or working in the global South, acting as a social change agent, being connected to different type of communities, networks and organisations, english fluency, motivation to apply, experience with training, digital security and privacy tools. The originality and uniqueness of the applicant experience, inasmuch as the soundness and consistency of the application were also evaluated. The second set of criteria consisted in achieving as much cultural diversity as possible among geographical areas (MENA, sub Saharan, post-Soviet states, South & South-East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean region), among various gender based identities, among activists and representatives of an organisation and among types of organisations (aims and target audiences). Organisations, informal networks and individuals with a demonstrated grassroots reach were prioritised.
Whenever possible, and dependent on availability of secure communication channels, the GTI preparation included for all invited participants a skills and learning needs assessment. Some of the information gathered dealt with: Basic computer and/or mobile phone habits, technical knowledge, contextual, cultural and social information, perceived threats to digital security, and information about any attacks participants could have been subjected in the past.
We complemented these with peer to peer conversations between facilitators and future participants. This type of personalized attention proved to be especially important in creating trustful relationships with new participants who had never worked with Tactical Tech, or had never joined a training, traveled abroad or felt more shy about spending time with strangers. Even though highly time consuming, it provided important outcomes by helping to remove possible barriers and fears, setting expectations, experimenting directly with new means of communication and overall, by involving as soon as possible the trainee in co-owning her training process.
The methodological framework adopted during the GTI was based on the basic principles of adult learning. Most specifically the ADIDS method that stands for Activity-Discussion-Input-Deepening-Synthesis which is frequently used in awareness-raising workshops on specific social issues. For digital safety training, which mixes both awareness-raising on issues and teaching technical and strategic solutions, the ADIDS methodology is a good fit.
Finally, this approach was complemented with a feminist approach engaging with long time methods, such as shaping safe spaces, understanding ones privileges, putting attention on power and inequitable relationships, creating nurturing and inclusive processes for reflexion, exchanges and learning. More specifically feminists critics and perspectives of technology and how women are already self-including themselves in those fields were transversally addressed during the GTI. Because of that almost all facilitators were women already engaged for a long time in using, developing and training others to technologies.
|Resources||See tutorials sectionː https://gendersec.tacticaltech.org/wiki/index.php/Category:Tutorials|
|Feelings||Read Impact study hereː https://gendersec.tacticaltech.org/wiki/images/d/da/GTI_ImpactStudy.pdf|
|Feedbacks||Read Impact study hereː https://gendersec.tacticaltech.org/wiki/images/d/da/GTI_ImpactStudy.pdf|
|Start||What will you start doing ?|
|Stop||What will you stop doing ?|
|Keep||What will you keep doing ?|