Published on Dec 29, 2012
Hackers As A High-Risk Population
Harm Reduction Methodology
Hackers are a high-risk population. This talk will provide hackers with tools to reduce the risk to themselves and their communities using harm reduction methodology.
Hacktivism, social networks, hacking's learning opportunities, grey area use of communication tools by revolutionaries and countermovements, information transparency opportunities, privacy and security abuse and user risk situations all share one central tension: resolving ethical decisions around potentially harmful behavior. At the same time, those who confuse information with advocacy perceive much of what we do -- and discuss -- as dangerous. This talk will provide hackers with tools to reduce the risk to themselves and their communities. We'll examine the similarities between extreme risk populations and the risk / harm situations hackers find themselves in -- especially those with exceptional access, power or talent. Importantly, I'll explain how the controversial -- yet effective -- harm reduction model can be used specifically as a tool for at-risk hackers, and those faced with decisions that may result in perceived or actual harm. The talk begins with an overview of harm reduction and its roots in reducing risk in European drug culture. We'll also look at how it is currently used hands-on in the US by urban activists/educators/crisis volunteers such as myself to effectively educate and reduce risk in high-risk, typically underserved, populations. Threaded throughout the talk is the idea that informed consent practices and the acceptance that harmful behavior is immutable can be effective tools to solve ethical decisions. Used on a wider scale, harm reduction in this light can be used to change the cultural conversation when black vs. white solutions ("just say no," jailing those who publish information or "real names" policies) are unsuccessfully applied to complex problems (drug abuse, abusive use of information, using pseudonyms for harm). We'll examine instances in which harm reduction would minimize damage (including the "gentleman's agreement" between hackers), and failures when harm reduction could have mitigated failure or worse. We will specifically look at harm reduction as applied to hacktivism, social networks, hacking's learning opportunities, grey area use of communication tools by revolutionaries and countermovements, information transparency opportunities, privacy and security abuse, and user risk events. For over a decade I have taught harm reduction methodology and practice in San Francisco, California to global health students, nurses, doctors, outreach and clinic workers, counselors and therapists. The primary organization I do this with is a twice-yearly training for healthcare professionals so they are able to treat populations on the fringes and who live in danger. Additionally, I have instructed and applied harm reduction methods to volunteer work I've done to bridge homeless and at-risk youth with neighborhood residents to foster safer quality of life. The third arena in which I instruct and apply harm reduction is a twice-yearly live-action, on-site refugee crisis simulation lead in conjunction with UCSF's Global Heath Program in which volunteers for [NGO] organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and Red Cross are intensely prepared for emergency refugee relief events. It is with all this work that I see the lens with which the HR methods can seriously benefit the edge-case and high-risk scenarios hackers often find themselves in.
Speaker: Violet Blue
Event: 29th Chaos Communication Congress [29c3] by the Chaos Computer Club [CCC]
Location: Congress Centrum Hamburg (CCH); Am Dammtor; Marseiller Straße; 20355 Hamburg; Germany
Begin: 12/28/2012 20:30:00 +01:00