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Controversy Over Violet Blue's Harm Reduction Talk 562

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the thinking-not-allowed dept.
Weezul writes "The Ada Initiative's Valerie Aurora got Violet Blue's Hackers As A High-Risk Population (29c3 abstract) talk on harm reduction methodology pulled from the Security BSides meeting in San Francisco by claiming it contained rape triggers [ed note: you might not want to visit the main page of the weblog as it contains a few pictures that might be considered NSFW in more conservative places]. It's frankly asinine to object to work around hacker ethics as 'off topic' at such broad hacker conference. Is Appelbaum's 29c3 keynote 'off topic' for asking hackers to work for the 'good guys' rather than military, police, their contractors, Facebook, etc.? Yes, obviously harm reduction is a psychological hack that need not involve a computer, but this holds for 'social engineering' as well. It's simply that hacking isn't nearly as specialized or inaccessible as say theoretical physics. Worse, there is no shortage of terrible technology laws like the CFAA, DMCA, etc. that exist partially because early hackers failed to communicate an ethics that seemed coherent and reasoned to outsiders." The Ada Initiative responds that such talks do more harm than good. It could also be argued that "not working for the bad guys" type talks aren't off-topic, since the hacker community has traditionally cared about things like information freedom.
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Controversy Over Violet Blue's Harm Reduction Talk

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  • What? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @11:58AM (#43024909)

    What is a rape trigger?

  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:00PM (#43024943)

    So, AFAICT from the summary and blogs, this was some hippie slap-fight between a bunch of feminists over "rape triggers" (a term so silly that it could only have meaning in San Fran, Austin, and Portland) in some presentation?

    And isn't the term "rape trigger" ITSELF a rape trigger?

  • by borcharc (56372) * on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:17PM (#43025115)

    In short the Ada folks believe "Simply put, even the world’s most pro-woman, sex-positive, pro-consent talk about sex is likely to have negative effects on women at a technical conference."

    They have a complete lack of understanding of hacker culture, take one or two relatively minor, usually unreported, incidents out of a group of 10k+ people in a weekend and us it to drum up hate and a paycheck for their founder as they push their specific agenda. There concerns are not hacker specific issues that affect women, they are the same women's issues that have been out there for years. Their "initiative" is widely rejected by women who are long term attendees at cons. And that is what defcon and others are, cons, not technical conferences.

    Their choice in venue (cons) has a very low rate of incidents compared to the general population. They have caused far more incidents of things that may be considered sexual harassment as backlash for their bizarre behavior. At Chaos Communications Congress 29 this group handed out "Creeper cards" to men who in their sole judgement did something offensive. The folks at the con responded with their own form of "anti-feminist" cards. Their surprise at this response reiterates that they don't understand our culture.

    If there are incidents where someone is assaulted then call the police. Someone keeps proposition you at a bar? Tell them to go away, then call the bar's security, have you ever been to a bar? With defcon, the move to the more traditional strip hotels from the AP has brought in loads of Vegas trash. Pimps, bro's, etc roam the hotel and proposition every girl there for "shopping for sex" or other pimply schemes. No girl is safe in any Vegas venue from these guys, welcome to Vegas. If Vegas trash keeps hassling you, ask the passing group of hackers for help, they will solve it for you without any expectation in return, that's our culture.

  • Re:What? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jjohnson (62583) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:46PM (#43025539) Homepage

    The Ada Initiative didn't know about the talk until a few hours before it happened, like everyone else. There was no premeditation, and no conspiracy to silence Violet Blue or an interesting talk.

  • Re:What? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdotNO@SPAMhackish.org> on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @01:31PM (#43026173)

    They aren't arguing for any of those things. Merely that technical conferences should not gratuitously include sexual or rape-related references when they aren't on-topic to the actual purpose of the conference. If you've been to any technical conferences, you'd realize this is a pervasive problem in a rather male-dominated, frattish industry, though it's been getting somewhat better lately (perhaps with the exception of game-industry conferences).

    I don't see them arguing against sex education anywhere, or even entire sex-focused conferences.

  • by emil (695) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @01:39PM (#43026253) Homepage

    ...with a man that you don't trust. Some facts:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape [wikipedia.org]

    Drug use, especially alcohol, is frequently involved in rape. A study (only of rape victims that were female and reachable by phone) reported detailed findings related to tactics. In 47% of such rapes, both the victim and the perpetrator had been drinking. In 17%, only the perpetrator had been. 7% of the time, only the victim had been drinking. Rapes where neither the victim nor the perpetrator had been drinking were 29% of all rapes. Contrary to widespread belief, rape outdoors is rare. Over two thirds of all rapes occur in someone's home. 31% occur in the perpetrators' homes, 27% in the victims' homes and 10% in homes shared by the victim and perpetrator. 7% occur at parties, 7% in vehicles, 4% outdoors and 2% in bars.

    One of six U.S. women has experienced an attempted or completed rape. More than a quarter of college age women report having experienced a rape or rape attempt since age 14.

    For one-third to one-half of the victims, ... symptoms continue beyond the first few months and meet the conditions for the diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder. In general, rape and sexual assault are among the most common causes of PTSD in women.

    [motherjones.com]http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/01/rape-and-violence-against-women-crisis [motherjones.com]

    • nearly two thirds of all women killed by guns are killed by their partner or ex-partner
    • Spouses are also the leading cause of death for pregnant women in the US
    • Women worldwide ages 15 through 44 are more likely to die or be maimed because of male violence than because of cancer, malaria, war and traffic accidents combined
  • Re:What? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @01:53PM (#43026403) Homepage Journal

    the fault lies with the person who made the decision to cancel the talk, period the end

    Yeah, too bad that's bullshit. By that line of logic, we can't blame fundamentalist groups for pressuring stores into not selling what they don't like with boycotts, or for getting people fined by harassing the FCC. Don't be such a quisling, Mr. Poo.

    We blame Valerie Aurora for being a censoring anti-feminist hypocrite.
    We blame The Ada Initiative for not immediately firing Valerie Aurora and repudiating her actions.
    And we blame the Security BSides people for being spineless.

  • Re:Rape trigger? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @11:53PM (#43031141)
    So tell me, if men are so well treated, why is that men account for around 80% of all homeless? Why is it they account for more than 90% of workplace deaths, and rising? Why do men account for more than 80% of suicides among most of the adult age spectrum? I'm sorry, I couldn't hear how good men have it over the slamming of all their coffins.

    With regard to your general 'feminism isn't a monolith' argument, watch the videos I linked to, since you obviously haven't. They address the subject far better than I can ad hoc with no sleep.

    (And I don't deny some prejudice sourced in my humanity, but that cuts as equally to you as to me. You might as well disparage somebody for breathing.)

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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