TA3M Seattle, November 2015


Techno Activism 3rd Mondays is an international, monthly meetup designed to connect people interested in modern anti-censorship and anti-surveillance issues. TA3M Seattle is Seattle Privacy Coalition’s “sister organization” because of our shared goals in advocating for personal privacy, and we are happy to be announcing November’s TA3M!

We are meeting this month!

When: Monday, November 16, 2015, 6:30 – 9:00 PM
Where: University of Washington Computer Science & Engineering building (CSE) room 303 [directions]

* Free pizza! *

Talk one (7PM):

Virtualization for Security: An Introduction

This talk will explore virtualization and it’s utility within security and maintaining privacy. Learn about what virtualization is, the attack surface and threat model for virtualization software, the impact of recent vulnerabilities such as VENOM, and what the future of virtualization looks like. Finally, find out how you can use virtualization to limit compromise and compartmentalize everyday activity with the open source operating system Qubes OS. Note: despite the technical nature of this topic, effort will be made to ensure that this material is valuable to end users.

Andrew Sorensen is a security engineer at Twitter and former security consultant at Leviathan Security Group. In his spare time, Andrew enjoys researching virtualization security issues and building secure implementations of typically challenged software use cases (including home automation / internet of things).

Talk two (8PM):

Informational Privacy and Social Privilege: Discriminatory Data Practices in the Information Society

The well-off have historically sought to separate themselves from everyone else, employing privilege to maintain affluence and exclusivity. Gated communities, private schools, shell corporations, complex financial instruments — the tendency by elites to seek special advantages and insulation from others and to obscure themselves within walled gardens is well-established. Ghettos, glass ceilings, housing and employment discrimination and other elements of institutionalized oppression are obstacles that have historically prevented the unprivileged from gaining access to the educational and economic opportunities necessary to escape cycles of poverty and achieve the “good life.” As both the positive and negative inclinations of the material world find expression in the digital world, a move to separate and segment society is finding its way there as well, leading to new forms of oppression and social sorting.

These effects are not arbitrary, but reflect the biases inherent in our society and within the culture of information technology production and use. Information systems are truly socio-technical systems and, as such, have the capacity to amplify preexisting inequalities through practice and use, including pervasive data collection by major data controllers and an increasing inability to engage in socially-beneficial “forgetting.” So, we are left to cope with the fallout of the status quo as if this were all inevitable. Given the demographic makeup of the designers, producers and early adopters of information systems, it should not be surprising what inclinations these systems reflect and which groups find themselves dispossessed within the information society.

Mike Katell is a PhD student at the University of Washington Information School.

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