Gender and Technology Institute, Uruguay
From Gender and Tech Resources
|Title||Gender and Technology Institute, Uruguay|
|Category||Privacy Advocacy Digital Security Gender and Tech|
|Scale||World level for international activities|
|Organisation|| Tactical Technology Collective
Mama cash FRIDA The Young Feminist Fund
|Target audience||Women and trans land defenders|
|Number of participants||70|
|Context and motivations|| This one was the fifth “Gender and Technology Institute” and it was organized in collaboration with FRIDA and Mama Cash. They attended the preparatory gathering on February 2018 in Mexico DF and brought logistic support doing outreach and giving support in the selection of participants, as well as covering the costs of 10 of the 49 participants selected. They also brought a small fun to economically support follow up actions and trainings by the participants and facilitators to the GTI, between July and December 2018. On the other hand, Amnesty International economically supported two participants and one person from Fondo de Acción Urgente LAC covered her costs to attend this GTI.
This GTI was held during five days and had several objectives: Bring new skills and knowledge to its participants for them to be able to improve their strategies of mitigation as well as update their security protocols; Be able to train their own networks, organizations and communities about the topics learned once they are back home; Improve the synergy and collaboration between the different collectives and organizations attending the gathering.
During two previous events specific curricula and methodologies were created for this specific GTI: A preparatory gathering in February 2018 with 20 participants that represented several organizations related to land rights defenders and/or with digital and holistic security with gender perspective. A gathering for the development of curricula content in April 2018 with 20 participants with the focus in developing of workshops and activities based on past GTIs. We are going to publish this repository of curricula in Spanish and english.
The GTI brought 70 people including 50 participants and a team of 20 facilitators and organizers (3 from Tactical Tech, 1 representative from Mama Cash, 1 representative from the local organization Cotidiano Mujer, 1 person supporting logistics, 1 translator, 12 external facilitators). Among the participants were 40 women right land defenders and allies and 10 participants who were involved in feminist activism. The countries represented were Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Ecuador, El Salvador and Venezuela. However, it should be noted that for many participants this identification does not make sense. For those who represent their territory and community claiming an identity dissociated from the borders imposed by the nation states. The states maintain direct conflicts with women land rights defenders, criminalizing and actively pursuing them.
About the roles of the participants in their own communities and organizations, we had the following profiles: - In charge of the management of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for their organization or collective (responsible for communication, campaigns, data collection and collective memory, others). - Activist who collectively manages ICTs (feminist activism, intense use of social networks, etc.) - Project and/or funding coordinator (director, programs, spokesperson, etc) - Profiles with sophisticated use or development of technologies (free software/hardware, geodata, system administrators) - Legal Defenders/Lawyers And about the audience that their communities, organizations and collectives work with we found the following distribution represented by a word cloud.
Among the women that are object of gender based violence and hate speech online and offline, the women land rights defenders, indigenous communities leaders, environmental activists are specially under risk. During the preparatory event we spent some time to put on the same page several studies, analysis and reports related to the risks that they have. Other example of this is the big response we got to the convocation to the GTI. Although it was only open during 3 weeks and we didn’t distribute the call for applications further from the networks and organizations that were mapped during the preparatory event, we received more than 220 applications and most of the ones coming from land rights defenders showed people under hight risk. When analyzing the applications, we gave priority to the participantes that were exposed to the higher levels of risk as explained here:
Attacks, hate speech through social networks (RRSS) Dealing with sensitive data, Manejo de datos sensibles, intervention risks Identity and account theft Computer theft Tracking of communication and cellphones Campaigns of discredit and fake news and defaming Attacks to their web pages Monitoring and surveillance Lack of security protocols in the organization Blackmail and criminalization Legal pitfalls Police visits to house, work place, etc Raids of offices and personal houses Threats to close family members Non-consensual dissemination of intimate content (“Revenge porn”) Sexual violence Discrimination Harassment Disappearances Murders
Related to their motivations to attend the GTI, we can see that the participants want to improve their skills and get methodologies and tools to defend the rights of the communities they work in. On one side they want to be able to improve their visibility and advocacy, know how to manage and care about the data they generate, as well as to reduce the risks of attacks and violence. On other side, they want to acquire concepts and tools to be able to improve their levels of security and skills when creating mitigation strategies. Those motivations get combined with their goals of being able to share this knowledge with their own organizations, communities and networks.
The gathering allowed many of the participants to meet face to face and create new networks based on trust that can only be obtained in presential gatherings. Many of them brought to our attention that being able to be a whole week with other comrades learning about their experiences and realities, questioning and learning about technical topics that usually are not easy to access, brought them a lot of strength and empowerment. They were able to gather in a safe space where they could relax, eat, laugh, cry and dance and that allowed them to center in themselves and that is in itself an act of political rebellion. And finally the institute brought them the opportunity to better understand how to defend the territory in other contexts and how to navigate their own specific context to fight against criminalization, to organize campaigns, document proofs, create collective memories, develop cartographic processes, etc
You can read about the follow up activities organised by GTI participants in the follwoing reports:
Report of follow up activities organised by participants of the GTI oriented at land defenders December 2018 - “Caring for life on earth: Holistic, digital and self care security”
Informe de las actividades de seguimiento organizadas por las participantes del IGT orientado a defensoras de la tierra Febrero 2019 - “Cuidando de la vida en la tierra: Seguridad holística, digital y autocuidado”
|Topics||defending territories, security, holistic, self care; ancestral technologies|
|Agenda|| Through the event, the participants attended different sessions distributed in the following big topics: digital security, security in mobiles, privacy, data politics, gender and technology, replication and training. They were developed across the following sessions:
- Digital security: basic concepts about security, how to take control of the browser, malware’s attacks, server’s attacks, web hosting, anonymity, encryption, TOR, TAILS and deep web. - Mobile security: Understand infrastructure and mobiles, security and privacy settings for mobiles, telephony alternatives with VOIP. - Data politics: Metadata, create and protect databases, free mapping processes, technology sovereignty, collective memory. - Campaigns: Creative uses of social media, planning of campaign considering privacy and security, search engine optimization, push profiles of land right defenders under risk, hate speech and feminist counter-speech. - Holistic security: Technology in demonstrations, documenting violence, preparing an event or training in an unknown context, emotions and addictions using social media.
And at the end of the day there were two labs that people could attend: the feminist hackerspace and the self-care lab. We noticed that many of the participants went to the hackerspace, even when that activity was not required for the institute. It shows us that digital security, privacy and self-learning are activities that they understand are relevant for their own work. Some of them didn’t have any previous experience with free software and privacy tools, but they were looking to learn about this options and use them as soon as they could. In the self-care lab, one facilitator was providing methodologies to deal with stress and anxiety as well as to learn to relax and ground in front of fear and trauma. She provided a space to share methods of collective and individual care.
About the schedule, the first day we worked with all the participants to clarify the goals of the GTI, the shared agreements, media protocols and documentation, as well as all important logistic information. There was also a symbolic action to begin the institute and connect between all of us. In the afternoon the participants shared in small groups about knowledge that comes from their ancestors and their first memories of technology as well as how their relationship with technology has been influenced by their gender as well as other intersectional dimensions like geographic origin, social class, access to education, opportunities to education and so on. Based on those conversations we moved on into a first collective session about what integral security means, detailing many areas that can be protected as well as strategies of mitigation that exist. The participants shared some of their security strategies linking the relationship between physical integrity, digital security and psychosocial well-being.
The last session allowed us all to visibilize the diversity of knowledge and security practices that the participants and their networks already have. It also let us see that the participants were already applying security practices that we also use in digital environments, strategies known like “fortification”, “reduction”, “obfuscation” and "compartmentalization".
That first day allowed the participants to understand that technologies are diverse and broad and that ancestral technologies are valuable technical knowledge that we need to reclaim, showing how all of them have an expert relationship with many technical knowledges. It also allowed us to all of us to start from a shared vocabulary as well as to have a better understanding of the diversity of contexts, challenges and strategies.
About the schedule during the GTI, it usually was 3 different sessions in parallel that allowed the participants to find the session that better accommodate their interests. All the sessions were facilitated by 2 or 3 facilitators and one additional person was taking notes. Finally, all the facilitators were meeting at the end of the day to evaluate how everything went, what was the evaluation of their sessions by the participants and which changes they needed to implement the next day.
The last day was designed for the participants to have strategical conversations about topics they needed to go deep in. And at the end we had a closing session where we discussed next steps after the GTI, which activities, trainings, or facilitations they were planning, how they wanted to keep in touch and how to manage the documentation of the sessions.
The next steps will be to create a mailing list for participants, share reviewed documentation, update the curricula as well as to create this document. We will also do a follow up of each participant to understand which are the trainings and awareness raising activities they are planning in their own networks and communities, and see what is the best way that we can support their efforts.