Archive for the ‘activism’ Category

The rise of tech-worker activism

March 1st, 2019

Video by Chris Schodt, production by Justin Wolfson. (video link)

In this episode of Ars Technica Live, we spoke with Leigh Honeywell, a security engineer who has worked at several large tech companies as well as the ACLU. She's been at the forefront of worker organizing in the tech industry, organizing protests against data-driven profiling and founding Hackerspaces in both Canada and the United States. Recently, she founded the company Tall Poppy to protect tech workers from abuse online.

We began by talking about how she created the Never Again pledge, signed by hundreds of tech workers, which was a direct response to President Trump's openness to tracking Muslims in the US using big data. She said it was a turning point when tech workers realized that the systems they built weren't just helping people. These systems could also be weaponized and used for surveillance and racial profiling. People signing the pledge promised to quit their jobs before designing a database for tracking Muslims or any other vulnerable group.

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Bay Area: Join us 2/13 to discuss a new hope for tech activism

February 11th, 2019
Leigh Honeywell is the founder of Tall Poppy and an activist. She has worked on security and privacy with major tech companies as well as the ACLU.

Enlarge / Leigh Honeywell is the founder of Tall Poppy and an activist. She has worked on security and privacy with major tech companies as well as the ACLU. (credit: Leigh Honeywell)

Over the past couple of years, we've seen a huge upsurge in activism within the technology community. From the walkouts at Google to labor organizing at Amazon, tech workers are starting to see a connection between their work and social issues. Engineer and entrepreneur Leigh Honeywell has been at the forefront of tech activism for many years, and at this month's Ars Technica Live on Wednesday, February 13, we'll be talking to her about activism in today's world and the politics of a life lived online.

Honeywell founded two hackerspaces (HackLabTO in Toronto, and the Seattle Attic Community Workshop in Seattle), created the widely circulated Never Again pledge, and now heads Tall Poppy, where she helps companies protect their employees from online harassment. The thread that runs throughout her work is the use of technology to create greater privacy and safety for people online. She'll discuss the growing resistance to the practices of corporations that profile users or sell their users' data, along with the rise of services that protect people from digital harassment.

Honeywell was previously a Technology Fellow at the ACLU’s Project on Speech, Privacy, and Technology and also worked at Slack, Salesforce, Microsoft, and Symantec. Leigh has a Bachelors of Science from the University of Toronto where she majored in Computer Science and Equity Studies.

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