We will boycott any event with known sexual predators in attendance —and encourage others to do the same.

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Open Letter

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To organizers of internet freedom and hacker community events,

We, the internet freedom community—a community of individuals dedicated to promoting human rights and supporting those subject to oppression and abuse—are alarmed, disgusted, frightened, and deeply troubled by the all-too-frequent reports of sexual assault, harassment and other abuse in our community.

We are alarmed by these stories that take place within our communities and at events where we come together openly to share challenges, seek solutions, and strengthen collaboration. Abuse, harassment, violence, and complicity in allowing these malicious acts and actors, prevents us from building the trust and unity needed to defend human rights. As a result, we sometimes avoid these gatherings completely.

We invite you to join us in taking a stand. It is no longer enough to speak out against this sort of violence against women and communities at risk: we must isolate and control for factors that allow this to happen. We will create spaces that exemplify the values and rights we fight for in our work.

We find fault not only with the perpetrators but also with the organizers who knowingly invite these individuals to their events. When known abusers are allowed to attend and take the stage at events, the message it sends to survivors is clear: Their work is more important than our safety.

We refuse to attend any such event that sustains a culture of fear and fails to prioritize the safety of women and high-risk communities. We will boycott any event with known sexual predators in attendance—as speakers, participants or otherwise—and encourage others to do the same.

Additionally, we expect event organizers to provide, publicize, and enforce a code of conduct and commit to making events safe spaces for all attendees. For those who are unsure about what can be done about this, here are additional resources with a complete definition of what constitutes as a safe space, and guide for writing a strong code of conduct.

We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with survivors and will no longer contribute to unsafe environments through complicity. There are too many of us to continue the silence around sexual violence and harassment. This letter is the first public action for the Protect Our Spaces movement to reform organized events and create safe spaces, free of the threat of sexual violence.

Signatories

  • Tara Tarakiyee - Jordan Open Source Association
  • Dragana Kaurin - Executive Director, Localization Lab
  • Keith Hiatt - Vice President, Benetech, Human Rights Program
  • Chinmayi S K - Global Community Coordinator, Random Hacks of Kindness
  • Abir Ghattas - Raseef22
  • Dalia Othman - Independent
  • caroline sinders - Design Researcher, Anti-Harassment Tools Team, Wikimedia Foundation
  • Giovanni Pellerano - CTO, Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights
  • Rahma Sghaier - Outreach Director, Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights
  • Rory Byrne - Co-Founder, Security First
  • Mahsa Alimardani - Programme Officer ARTICLE19, Global Voices Editor, Oxford Internet Institute DPhil
  • Jillian C. York
  • Eva Dingel
  • Oktavía Jónsdóttir - Deputy MP Iceland, Chairperson European Pirate Party
  • Susanna Inkinen - @ajsc_af
  • Karen Reilly
  • Carolyn Anhalt
  • Samir Nassar
  • Nicolas Sera-Leyva - Director of Program Operations, SMEX
  • Renata Aquino Ribeiro - Steering Committee Member, Bestbits
  • Frerieke van Bree - Digital Defenders Partnership
  • Jeff Landale - X-Lab
  • Martin L. Fällman - Protection Officer, Civil Rights Defenders
  • Ernst Spitaler - European Pirate Party Board
  • Lorax B. Horne
  • Peter Micek
  • Nathalie Maréchal - University of Southern California
  • Simone Basso - M-Lab & OONI
  • Matt Mitchell - CryptoHARLEM
  • Marianne Diaz - Derechos Digitales, Global Voices, Acceso Libre
  • Nighat Dad - Digital Rights Foundation
  • Claudio Agosti
  • Rory Allen
  • Nima Fatemi
  • Tom Lowenthal
  • Mayssae Ajzannay
  • Holly Kilroy - Holly Kilroy - CiviCDR
  • gary host
  • Andrew Ford Lyons - Global Tech Hub, Internews
  • Kevin Miston
  • Raquel Renno
  • Thomas Seropian
  • Jon Camfield - Director, Global Technology Programs, Internews
  • spideralex spideralex - donestech.net
  • Pi Tra - hyphen.web.id
  • Naomi Srikandi - PERETAS
  • FX Haraoni - Artist
  • Muhammad Faisal Bustamam - PurpleCode Collective
  • Dhyta Caturani - PurpleCode Collective
  • Dinda Yura
  • Yasmin Purba - Purple Code Collctive
  • Liam Pomfret - Board Member of the Australian Privacy Foundation and Electronic Frontiers Australia
  • Mallory Knodel - Association for Progressive Communications
  • Rangga Purbaya - Ruang Mes 56
  • Thina Lopez
  • Floriana Pagano - Digital security documentation coordinator, Access Now
  • mirla mirla
  • Jennifer Schulte - Research Fellow
  • Michael Carbone
  • Griffin Boyce - Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University
  • Rohini Lakshané - Director (Emerging Research), The Bachchao Project
  • intui intui
  • Matthew Stender - Tech Ethicist
  • Jessamine Pacis
  • Linda Christanty - Journalist
  • Stephanie Seale - Benetech Human Rights Program
  • Jill Dimond - Sassafras Tech Collective
  • Kevin Marks - Indieweb
  • Marty McGuire
  • Tails developers
  • Erin McConnell - Program Manager, Localization Lab
  • Nariman Gharib
  • Dina Solveig Jalkanen - Localization Lab
  • Matthew Chen - Signal
  • Georgia Bullen - Director of Technology Projects, New America's Open Technology Institute
  • Charlie Smith - GreatFire.org
  • Sanjana Hattotuwa - Groundviews.org
  • Nathan Freitas - Director, Guardian Project
  • Tom King - Director, Aviso
  • Saul Tannenbaum
  • Hadrien Péan
  • Terence Eden - @edent
  • Brittany Piovesan - Internews
  • Nadim Kamel
  • Ovais Quraishi - Techie
  • Nicholas Weaver - Researcher, ICSI & Lecturer, UC Berkeley
  • Ben Kerry - The Unwanted Witness Uganda
  • Sarah Aoun - Ford-Mozilla Open Web
  • Jade Ahking - Starcat
  • Trinh Nguyen - Chief Information Officer, Rhize & Viet Tan
  • Afef Abrougui - MENA Advox Editor, Global Voices
  • Tanya Lockwood
  • Fundación Acceso
  • Moritz Tenthoff
  • Friedhelm Weinberg
  • Ian Schuler - CEO, Development Seed
  • Turkey Blocks team
  • Eva Galperin - Director of Cybersecurity, Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Krista Bennett
  • Rogelio López
  • Collin Sullivan - Human Rights Program Associate, Benetech
  • Roya Pakzad
  • Pablo Di Noto
  • Kevin Bankston - Director, New America’s Open Technology Institute
  • Chido Musodza
  • Donna Wentworth
  • Camille Fischer - Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Nathan Sheard
  • Chris Ritzo - Senior Technologist, Open Technology Institute / M-Lab
  • Sergio Araiza - Socialtic
  • Tom Trewinnard - Meedan
  • Rachel Bernstein - Benetech Human Rights Program
  • Ali Sibai - Internet Freedom Programme Manager, Institute for War & Peace Reporting
  • Leigh Honeywell
  • Tanya Lokot - Researcher, Dublin City University
  • Sherif Elsayed-Ali
  • Adam Fisk - President, Brave New Software Project Inc.
  • Starchy Grant - Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Amira Khalil
  • Laura Cunningham
  • Wafa Ben Hassine - Policy Counsel, MENA, Access Now
  • Sara Brody - Executive Director, Simply Secure
  • Mohamed ElGohary - Global Voices Lingua Director
  • Valerie Aurora
  • Natasha Msonza - Digital Society of Zimbabwe
  • Don Le - Viet Tan
  • Hanna Kreitem - Independent trainer and researcher
  • Irène Nam
  • Carole Caple - Educator
  • Tim Wilson-Brown - Tor Project Core Contributor
  • Bernadette Baker, RN OCN
  • Yael Grauer
  • Lene Preuss
  • Angelika Tsaros
  • Ars Ivci
  • Maryam Al-Khawaja
  • Henrik Chulu - Co-founder, Bitbureauet
  • Casey Callendrello - Noisebridge
  • Jonas Steinberg
  • Paola Villarreal - Director of Product Engineering, Creative Commons
  • Aral Balkan - Ind.ie
  • Tanya O'Carroll
  • Elisa Marvena - Global Voices
  • Semanur Karaman
  • Cameron Nail
  • Vivian Zúniga
  • Emma van Leeuwen
  • Sid Rao
  • Urvi Nagrani
  • Frerieke van Bree - Digital Defenders Partnership
  • Alexa Koenig - Executive Director, Human Rights Center, UC Berkeley and Director, Human Rights Investigations Lab
  • Chris Walker - Digital Security Advisor, Tactical Tech
  • Veronica Iswinahyu - PurpleCode Collective
  • Tobia Alberti
  • Oxblood Ruffin
  • Diana Krebs
  • Rebecca MacKinnon
  • Bob Mottram - Freedombone project maintainer
  • Nicolas Zart
  • Luka Prinčič
  • MPR Mathias Poujol-Rost - M.P.R, affaireeo
  • Steve Clement
  • Mo Hoseini - Programme Assistant
  • Sina Kouhi
  • amir 3point - ...
  • Liz Steininger - Managing Director, Least Authority
  • Jadi ‌‌‌‌‌
  • Neema Iyer - Founder, Pollicy
  • Fereidoon Bashar
  • Richard King
  • Leva Zand - Project ARTogether
  • Farnaz Moradi - Farnaz
  • Stéphane Guillou - University of Queensland
  • Hamid Hosseini
  • sahar masoudi
  • Jurre van Bergen
  • Kathryn Striffolino
  • Aaron Huslage - Hedy-Anthiel, Inc
  • Geoffrey King
  • Soudeh Rad - Gender Equality Activist
  • Melina Khorshidian
  • Arzu Geybulla - Journalist
  • Katherine Phelps - Dr
  • Nima Ganjfar
  • Ephraim Percy Kenyanito - Independent
  • Kelly Daniel Kigonya - Executive Director, i freedom Uganda Network
  • Hamed Behravan - Executive Director Movements.org, Country Director Democracy Council
  • Ei Myat Noe Khin
  • Nani Jansen Reventlow - Director, Digital Freedom Fund
  • Andreas Reventlow - International Media Support (IMS)
  • Lara Bitar - Editorial Director, SMEX
  • Dlshad Othman - Internews
  • Carmen Alcázar - Editatona, Wikimedia México
  • David Sullivan
  • Shari Steele - Executive Director, The Tor Project, Inc.
  • Ivan Martinez - Wikimedia México
  • Agnes Callamard - Director, Columbia University Global Freedom of Expression
  • Bakhtiyor Avezdjanov - Program Officer, Columbia Global Freedom of Expression
  • Chinmayi Arun - Executive Director, Centre for Communication Governance at National Law University Delhi
  • Nehaa Chaudhari - Public Policy Lead, TRA | Lawyers for Innovation
  • Petrux-EC Ecuador
  • Rosie Williams - Policy Team, Electronic Frontiers Australia
  • Melanio Escobar - Director of RedesAyuda NGO
  • Reza Ghazinouri
  • Ali G. Ravi
  • Irene Poetranto
  • Alex Schlotzer
  • Raham Rafiee - Director, JoopeA Foundation
  • Michael J. Oghia
  • Smita Vanniyar - Second Lead, Digital Projects. Point of View, India.
  • Gabriela Rodriguez
  • Tara Dashti
  • Elham Malekpoor Arashlu - editor and advisor at JoopeA foundation
  • Tom Wills
  • Serene H
  • Mansoor Raeesi
  • Sara Terp
  • Katherine Metzroth - Director, SecondMuse
  • Hamed Behravan - Executive Director Movements.org, Country Director Democracy Council
  • Esth Lim - Attorney
  • Neda Kashani
  • حسین رونقی - فعال حوزه آزادی بیان
  • Mozhgan Azin - M
  • Shahrokh Heidari - Editorial cartoonist,designer
  • Gabriella Coleman - Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy, McGill University
  • Shary B
  • Vasileios Grigoriou - Mr
  • Anna May
  • Kristen Yawitz - HURIDOCS
  • Christina Hartmann
  • Margaret Andem
  • Marco Setiawan
  • Wojtek Bogusz - Digital Protection Coordinator, Front Line Defenders
  • Alexej Kollakowski
  • Erin Wyatt - HR Manager, Tor Project
  • Shubha Kayastha - body & data, Nepal
  • Sarah West

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Updates

Second Call to Protect our Spaces Updates

On Wed 25th of October, we had the second community-wide call.

First Call to Discuss Letter Updates

On Wednesday Oct 18th, we had the first community wide call to discuss this letter.

Mailing List & Code of Conduct

You can join the mailing list here.

We can only create sustainable changes with everyone’s support and participation. The Protect our Spaces mailing list is a space for people involved in the internet freedom, infosec and hackerspaces communities to work on keeping known abusers out of our events and spaces, and sharing information on how to develop practices around creating safe spaces and redress mechanisms for those at a higher risk of sexual harassment. It is a serious, difficult, and often emotional conversation, but it is imperative that we keep having it, therefore it is important to create some ground rules that apply to everyone to minimize unhappiness and harm to those who choose to engage in this conversation and promote a productive, safe and harassment-free environment.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of what you should and shouldn’t do, but rather an evolving set of community guidelines that helps us all reach our common goal. If you believe someone is violating the code of conduct, we ask that you report it by emailing [email protected]  (PGP Fingerprint: 34A8 0DF9 0D4C A9C2 0744 45AC 25A8 D94C 63FA 0271)

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

    • Be considerate. Anti-harassment work is emotionally and psychologically draining. While this is the topic of the mailing list, take care to warn people before sharing content that others might be particularly sensitive to as a matter of courtesy.
    • Be respectful. Not all of us will agree all the time, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behavior and poor manners. We might all experience some frustration now and then, but we cannot allow that frustration to turn into a personal attack.
    • When we disagree, try to understand why. It is important that we resolve disagreements and differing views constructively. Being unable to understand why someone holds a viewpoint doesn’t mean that they’re wrong. However, this is no excuse for behavior that’s intended to derail a conversation, or question and/or gaslight the experiences of others.
  • Emails sent to this list should remain amongst the members of this list. For the privacy and safety of all participants, please do not forward emails from this list to anyone else or attribute any ideas discussed here to a specific individual.

For the purposes of this Code of Conduct, harassment includes:

  • Offensive comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, body size, age, race, or religion.
  • Unwelcome comments regarding a person’s lifestyle choices and practices, including those related to food, health, parenting, drugs, and employment.
  • Deliberate misgendering or use of ‘dead’ or rejected names.
  • Gratuitous or off-topic sexual images or behavior in spaces where they’re not appropriate.
  • Physical contact and simulated physical contact (eg, textual descriptions like “*hug*” or “*backrub*”) without consent or after a request to stop.
  • Threats of violence.
  • Incitement of violence towards any individual, including encouraging a person to commit suicide or to engage in self-harm.
  • Deliberate intimidation.
  • Stalking or following.
  • Harassing photography or recording, including logging online activity for harassment purposes.
  • Sustained disruption of discussion.
  • Unwelcome sexual attention.
  • Pattern of inappropriate social contact, such as requesting/assuming inappropriate levels of intimacy with others
  • Continued one-on-one communication after requests to cease.
  • Deliberate “outing” of any aspect of a person’s identity without their consent except as necessary to protect vulnerable people from intentional abuse.
  • Publication of non-harassing private communication.

Protect Our Spaces prioritizes marginalized people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort. We reserve the right not to act on complaints regarding:

  • ‘Reverse’ -isms, including ‘reverse racism,’ ‘reverse sexism,’ and ‘cisphobia’
  • Reasonable communication of boundaries, such as “leave me alone,” “go away,” or “I’m not discussing this with you.’
  • Communicating in a ‘tone’ you don’t find congenial
  • Criticizing racist, sexist, cissexist, or otherwise oppressive behavior or assumptions

This anti-harassment policy is partially based on the example policy from the Geek Feminism wiki, created by the Geek Feminism community, and the Django Code of Conduct.

Resources and Tips

This is a collection of resources curated by the community. This is a working document, feel free to send your suggestions to [email protected] (PGP Fingerprint: 34A8 0DF9 0D4C A9C2 0744 45AC 25A8 D94C 63FA 0271)

Code of Conduct

Anti Harassment Committee & Advisors

  • Building on having a Code of Conduct, create an independent Anti-Harassment Committee.
  • Announce the names of committee members publicly on your website and event material.
  • Make sure they are physically present and approachable at events.
  • If possible, hire professionals to do this.
  • Ensure representations of diversity within this committee, taking care to make the diversity identifiable to attendees. List the languages they speak.
  • Refer to resources in the Code of Conduct section on how to establish processes to respond to harassment incidents.

Creating Safe Spaces

  • Safe spaces are important because they allow marginalized communities a respite from aggressions they face on a daily basis, and allows them to engage freely in an event without fear. This is a definition of what a safe space is and answers to common arguments against them.
  • In short, the way to establish them is:
    • Clearly state that free expression in a way to suppress the voices of marginalized people is not allowed in these spaces.
    • Prioritize marginalized people’s over privileged people’s opinion or comfort in these spaces.
    • Work with the marginalized communities in question to make a clear list of what is not allowed in these spaces.
    • Hire facilitators from the marginalized community involved for these discussions.
    • Have a strict redress mechanism for violations of the space (refer to Code of Conduct on how to create a welcoming atmosphere for reporting).
    • Further resources, including links and suggested activities, can be found here.

Friendly Spaces at the Conference

  • Safe spaces work really well to prioritize the input and participation of marginalized communities, but at larger conferences, they may not always be practical. Which is why it’s important for the wellness of attendees to have quiet spaces where they can take a breather. It could a space in a corner with cushions and chairs and could be called “Quiet space” to let everyone know of its utility.
  • Another tactic to ensure the wellness and safety of attendees is to have a person act asa a “vibe checker” in discussion groups. The role of the vibe checker is to stop offensive speech in the group, and to sense any discomfort in the discussion and intervene. The vibe checker can volunteer for the role at the beginning of a discussion much like someone would volunteer to take notes, keep time or to facilitate.

Resources for People to Amend Mistakes