Inspiration

eQualit.ie at the Internet Freedom Festival

The Internet Freedom Festival (IFF), the Global Unconference of the Internet Freedom Communities, will take place in Valencia, Spain, from the 1st to the 6th March 2017. With over 1000 participants from more than 100 countries, and with 40% of women registered in the event, the IFF focuses on inclusivity and skill sharing and will host more than 200 sessions and self-organized events.

This year eQualit.ie is among the official supporters of the Internet Freedom Festival, and our staff will host 3 sessions and a night event, the Tools & Tech Showcase.

Our first session will focus on community-driven DDoS self-defence and will take place on Tuesday, March 7th, at 12.15. Another session scheduled on Tuesday, March 9th, at 17.00pm will be dedicated to our brand-new multiparty chat encryption protocol (n+1)sec and will consist of a workshop with software developers, security experts, designers, usability specialists, and communications systems engineers on how to make an encrypted multi-party chat protocol as usable as possible. On Thursday, March 9th, at 12.30, our outreach coordinator Floriana will be co-leading a session presenting a training prototype for partitioning one’s social domains as an introduction to Qubes OS.

eQualit.ie will also host the Tools & Tech Showcase on Tuesday 7th March starting from 19.30. Come and explore all the awesome tools and services that are helping the Internet freedom community join forces to fight censorship and surveillance.

See you soon in Valencia!
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Distributed Denial of Women – a general strike

It’s a well-known problem: the tech industry, be it proprietary or open source, hasn’t managed to tackle inequality in its ranks despite several proactive efforts and millions of dollars invested to diversify their staff. There are many explanations and critiques of these approaches, but in the end what counts is that technology is still developed and maintained by a homogeneous population of mainly English-speaking cisgender white men.
That’s why on the 23rd February 2017 women and non-binary people in tech are called to join a general strike, the Distributed Denial of Women.

 

We are calling on all women and non-binary people to stand in solidarity and pledge to stay offline, organize or join public gatherings, or stay home in protest of being constantly overlooked, undervalued, underpaid, and downright attacked for daring to demand basic dignity and respect.

 

The organizers of the Distributed Denial of Women acknowledge that not all women and non-binary people have the privilege to participate in this strike, and offer several ways of joining the protest, also through social media. As women working at eQualit.ie, we have decided to join the strike in solidarity with women and non-binary people in tech who regularly face exclusion, microaggressions or abuse. We will participate in the protest with a proactive attitude, so that the Distributed Denial of Women is not a one-off event but a step in a wider process aiming at inclusion and at creating a safer space within our working place, even though it is a virtual and geographicallydistributed one.
For example, in the coming weeks we have committed, as a team, to set aside dedicated time to tackle (or continue developing) our hiring and recruitment processes (with a focus on actively pursuing diversity and standardising assessments); reviewing material we publish for exclusionary language; and opening dialogues within the team about adopting a code of conduct that reflects the kind of balanced environment we want to work in.
We realize that gender gaps exist across all sectors. In Canada, where eQualit.ie was founded, women earn on average 66.7 cents for every dollar men earn, according to the most recent national statistics. The field of tech particularly exemplifies this disparity, with qualified female candidates often passed over in favour of male candidates, and women earning less money and being hired more often than men in non-technical roles. This is in addition to the harassment regularly directed at women in the workplace.
In showing that we actively stand against discrimination we believe, as a first step, that the DDoW campaign being organised on February 23rd is a positive way to bring attention to these important issues. Furthermore, eQualit.ie pledges to develop and keep defining standards of fairness and diversity as we move forward, to keep taking necessary steps to show that despite statistics and biased industry standards, we are committed to living up to our name and doing our work in an inclusive environment.
Are you or your organisation taking part in the Distributed Denial of Women campaign? Let us know!
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Internet Freedom Festival: Tool showcase

The Internet Freedom Festival, which will take place in Valencia, Spain, from the 1st to the 6th March 2016, is a common space where diverse communities working against and affected by censorship and surveillance can come together to teach, plan and act.

Internet Freedom Festival logo

The rich schedule of the festival includes sessions on 8 different tracks and also night events. For the night events, eQualit.ie will host a tool showcase and award ceremony on Thursday 3rd March, starting from 7 pm.

THE TOOL SHOWCASE

During the showcase, 13 tools will be introduced with a short presentation to the entire room and then be assigned to their own tables for a continuing discussion with the audience. You can learn and get to see demos for Android apps carrying security advice and instructions for activists; routers and servers that enhance connection security; censorship circumvention systems; tools for encrypted communication; IMSI-catcher detectors and much more: there will be solutions for every taste and need. Here’s the complete list of the tools that will be presented at the showcase:

 

At the end of the event, the public will be invited to pick their favorite tool for the following unofficial IFF categories:

  • You did whaaaat?
  • Wish I’d thought of that!
  • You get a biscuit.

No one will leave empty handed! There are prizes for winners, drinks for participants and eQualit.ie will interview and blog about each of the contestant’s tools. And if we still have time, a vodka tasting workshop may follow!

 

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DDoS mitigation on a network of principles and openness

Yesterday saw the public launch of Project Galileo, a CloudFlare initiative that partners with reputable international advocacy and civil society organizations to offer free DDoS mitigation services to human rights and independent media groups. As with our support for Google’s Project Shield last year, we welcome all attempts to bring DDoS mitigation to a wider audience of at-risk users around the world and would like to take this opportunity to encourage serious consideration of the ethical and operational standards as followed by eQualitie and our peers. There are both moral and technical obligations that we feel bound by in this industry, from combating hate speech to respecting our client’s privacy.

To this end, eQualit.ie is today putting forward a set of principles which we hope will receive the support of commercial and non-profit providers alike, as well as any partner organizations endorsing these services. Websites signing on for Internet hosting and content distribution services should have a sound understanding of how their providers operate and what motivates each of us to do this work. We strongly agree with CloudFlare’s stated aims:

…to build a better Internet. Fundamental to that is ensuring that bullies cannot use attacks to censor content simply because they disagree with it. We knew we needed to do something to stop this troubling trend.

However, we would add that to engage in activism you have to take a stand and you have to pick sides. By standing firmly against censorship, we cannot also protect groups which would misuse our network for political censorship or as a launchpad for the very same attacks we are trying to stop. Equally, we cannot accept websites which propagate hate speech and advocate for the disenfranchisement or even outright destruction of their adversaries. Such malicious actors are welcome to find a solution elsewhere but it is not accepted practice within our corner of the digital security field to defend rights defenders and rights deniers at the same time. There is no way for us to reconcile protecting both an LGBT site and an anti-LGBT site on our network without, at the very least, disrespecting the values of the former and enabling the latter.

For this reason we ask every organization entering this field to consider the harm done in protecting all sides which operate within a given conflict. To make no choice at all about who your customers are serves only to perpetuate each conflict, breed mistrust among activists and journalists involved and undermine our common aims.

That CloudFlare has chosen to join the fight against censorship-by-DDoS is a huge benefit to groups on the frontline who struggle every day to keep their voices heard. We see our partners face enormous financial, legal, political and personal risks by speaking out for what they believe is right and we understand it is our shared responsibility as protectors of their websites to perform our small part in their work without any ambiguity of operation and purpose.

Signed

The Deflect team

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