This article made it's way on my social media and yea it's scared the pants off me. I want to talk about it but i'm afraid it'll just make me turn off my computer and disconnect from the interwebs. It's also why i've been careful about my online presence. I don't know why but even back at the beginning of my surfing in the internets in the 90's i was always careful to use an internet nom de guerre. I also google my name and bug those data gathering places to get it off their servers and stuff. So articles like this just reinforce my paranoia, especially given my background. Also massive trigger warnings for those who need them.
Here's a fluffy picture to act as a buffer
Anyways here's the selected bits for those who aren't in a place to read the whole thing.
1. Obligatory but reluctantly: Get your security locked down in advance. Follow the advice on the feminist and security blogs. Just a warning though that actually you can put 100s of hours into your life (hours you don't have) into trying to lock down your shit, but you can only mitigate the threat. It costs tens of thousands of dollars or more to actually lock down every aspect of your life from hacking, invasion, exploitation, revelation, social engineering and stealing, and frankly even if you do all that, it doesn't work that well anyway. All it takes is that one little narrow window in the web of interlocking and poorly functioning mechanisms that is your digital body. You will do everything you can and you will think you have it together but they WILl find your home address, your phone number, your relationship history, every social media profile you ever had, and that of your entire family. This will happen EVEN IF YOU FOLLOW EVERY "SECURITY" GUIDELINE available on the internet. The more you lock yourself down, personally, the more anyone who has ever been associated with you becomes a target and provides an attack vector.
5. The fact is that we don't have, as a community, an organized way of getting people to a safe place or providing any remote guarantee of their security, and when this happens, victims are almost always left alone without safe, confidential and trustworthy infrastructure support. This is catastrophic. Work to improve the tech and gaming industries literally cannot continue when we are unable to keep creators, critiques, publishers, writers, whistle-blowers, artists and activists safe from people who are actually trying to kill them.
11. The cops do not give a shit. Cops are also not necessarily safe people to call. You can try to call them and talk to them and maybe you should, but most of them don't know about internet hate mobs, they don't know about SWATing, and they don't give a shit about violence against women. Also they're going to think you're crazy because you're like PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET ARE TRYING TO KILL ME and you can literally barely speak through the panic and maybe you are actually mentally ill, its showing hard now, and no one finds mentally ill people to deserve protection. Women in fear and danger have throughout centuries been called crazy and psychotic for speaking up about the threats against them, threats which are made inevitabilities by the blanket refusal to treat them as more than the banshee wailings of damned and disposable women.
13. Internet hate groups are more organized than literally any mainstream feminist organization, any social media watchdog, any free speech group, any digital platform, and any grassroots organization in existence. You are unlike to receive any help whatsoever from any of these groups. Frankly, if you are lucky you will receive no help and outright silence, which may be better than having them dispense more and more heaps of violence on you as they enact truly depraved forms of "creating awareness" around your story, with no fucks given as to your actual desires, consent, safety and day-to-day needs.
19. "Everyone" knows that online violence against women is an issue. When it happens to you, though, no one will believe you. No specific instance is ever believed. In the whole media-funded and endorsed industry forming around harassment of women, no one will correctly identify an actual instance of online terrorism against women or intervene as it occurs. Online harassment of women is accepted as abstract theory but in specific incidents every possible force in the world comes forth to deny its existence. The ground actually rises to deny specific instances of terrorism against women. It exists, we agree, but it also never happens, we insist. Meanwhile women are disappearing from the public internet by the thousands.
21. Everyone is pretending like these attacks are a few isolated incidents; "concerning" and pointing to "culture problems"… aka spawn for think pieces by media organizations that do not give a fuck. Many people in the tech and gaming communities right now think they are safe because they think they don't stick out enough as a target. Actually, these attacks have been going on for years and they are massively increasing in the level of organization, the scope of the attacks, the number of targets, the malevolence of the techniques used, the lack of accountability, the level of financial support available to terrorists, and the apathy exhibited by literally every community, company and industry capable of mounting a real response to this. These hate groups have been evolving exponentially and have been literally practicing their techniques while we have averted our gaze and abandoned their victims.
We are in no way prepared for this, and this is just the beginning.