Targeted surveillance, overpolicing and technology for resistance

On the upgrades of centuries-old systems of oppression and present-day tools to fight back

Yemeni women during a rally commemorating the fifth anniversary of the 2011 Arab Spring uprising. Taez, February 2016. AFP / Ahmad Al-Basha.

Globally, law enforcement agencies are adopting increasingly sophisticated surveillance technologies to employ predictive policing and monitor already overpoliced communities and demographics. Prevalent grounds for discriminatory conduct are race, class, citizenship, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation.

We hear from the news about phone interceptions, seized devices, hacked accounts. But most often, the civil society is provided with small to no information about how far these monitoring activities go.

How is technology employed to control targeted groups? And how can technology support who’s controlled to reclaim and protect their rights?

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Real Rad Care – co-creating a podcast on intersectional self-care at #AMC2015

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The Allied Media Conference is about to start (June 18-21, get ready)!
It’s my first one, I’m very excited about it, and I’m also honoured to join as both participant and session facilitator.

One of the sessions I’ll host (a sneak peek of the other one can be found here) is called Real Rad Care: a podcast on intersectional self-care. The name already says a lot!

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Digital civil disobedience: tactics, tools and future threads

Protests, uprising and unrest are key elements of freedom of expression, contributing to the shape of society and public debate through history.
Over the centuries, individuals and groups have adopted countless tactics to reclaim rights and fight for justice – changing over time, transforming strategically according to different historical and political contexts.

What’s the current state of the art? Which are the tools adopted by protesters to raise awareness, unrest and mobilise?
Technology has entered the the world of activism, and we can recognise forms of protests which combine offline and online elements, as well as expressions of dissent which exclusively operate in the digital space.
This article aims to provide an overview of how digital civil disobedience looks like today, observe which tactics are in use and consider a possible path to develop the future tools which will help global citizens reclaim their rights.


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An intersectional take on technology, rights and justice

There’s a word – which is an entire multi-faceted concept in itself – which comes to my mind very often, whether I’m reading the news, working, talking with loved ones or following someone’s train of thoughts online.

Intersectionality.

The concept it expresses has always been at the core of my perspective of the world and of my work, exploring how technology can most effectively serve justice and rights.

So I decided to write about it, as it might turn out to be useful for others as well – next time you’re scraping data to investigate the patterns behind an issue, supporting a group in building their advocacy strategy, or making up your own mind before going to the polls.

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On data storytelling – and how to make it responsibly

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetPicture from the Responsible Data Storytelling session, by Beatrice Martini (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Thanks to Nasma Ahmed, Renee Black and Sarah Moncelle for collaborating on editing this blogpost.

Stories are a key element of knowledge, and as such fuel evidence and empowerment. They can help communicate problems and challenges we might not have experienced personally, but that are key to be aware of in order to inform our understanding and agency as active members of our societies.

A compelling way to tell stories is through data. Presented as numbers, percentages and visualisations, data can transmit a message directly and sharply, often also helping going beyond misunderstandings caused by language or tone unclarity in our communication.

But are all data good (as in “not harmful”)? Is “the more the merrier” the most helpful way to work with them? Spoiler alert: no, and no.

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Notes from the 2014 Nonprofit Software Development Summit

photoPicture by Beatrice Martini (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Last November I had the great opportunity to join the Nonprofit Software Development Summit.

Organised by Aspiration, the gathering convened a widely diverse crowd, more than 100 people between activists, developers, students, campaigners, nonprofit staff members passionate about creating technology for nonprofit and social justice efforts. I had first heard about it from Misty Avila (Aspiration) and since reading Dirk Slater’s write-up about his 2013 summit experience I had it saved in my check-this-out wish list!

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