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In the loop

In the Loop is our monthly newsletter, sharing our own news as well as some of the stories we've tweeted in the last month.

Tactical Tech news and events

Tactical Tech releases, events, and press

Releases (4)

  • The influence industry: the global business of using your data in elections - new releases

    We're excited to announce five new releases as part of our ongoing investigation into how and why data is used in political processes, all around the world.
    Mexico's Changing Democracy: How Data Influenced Mexico's 2018 Election - in partnership with Articulo 12, this country study was released just days before the Mexican election, the largest election in the country's history.
    Personal Data and Political Influence in Malaysia - in partnership with Boo Su-Lyn we released the second country study on Malaysia, a country whose ruling party – Barisan Nasional (BN), a race-based coalition dominated by Umno, a Malay nationalist party – had not lost a single general election since the country achieved its independence from Britain in 1957.
    Personal Data and Political Influence in Italy - in partnership with Fabio Chiusi and Claudio Agosti we investigated the use of data in political campaigns in the run-up to the 2018 elections in Italy that saw the forming of a populist, anti-establishment coalition government.
    What's Up with Whatsapp: The Widespread Use of WhatsApp in Political Campaigning in the Global South - based on the findings that came from our initial country studies, we wrote a piece about how WhatsApp has become a powerful political tool in the Global South.
    Smart TV: Your Viewing Habits as Political Assets - another piece investigating the methods used, this article looks at the rise of smart TV as a new gateway for political campaigning.

  • Recent releases on xyz

    Last month we launched a brand new online platform, a space for practical tools to navigate digital security and privacy from a gender perspective. Since then we've been publishing articles by actors working in this field to start a debate around gender and technology:
    Victim Blaming Meets Technological Objectivity: Anti-rape Technology and its Design - Kate J. Sim examines how the prevailing cultural notion of sexual assault survivors as liars, and the widely held belief of technological objectivity, converge to instruct the design of anti-rape technologies.
    Sex and African Feminisms - Utilising the Power of Digital Technologies - Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah tells us why she and co founder Malaka Grant started 'The Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women', a safe online space where African women can dialogue with each other about sex and sexualities.
    More Than Words: The Complexities of Platforms Responding to Online Harassment - Jillian York takes an in depth look at and critiques platform solutionism in response to gendered online harassment while acknowledging online harassment as a complex issue and a form of silencing, that often leads to self-censorship.

  • Tactical tech annual report 2017

    Across the different areas of our work, privacy, digital security and information activism, we achieved a lot throughout the year, working with our partners, hosting events, and contributing to the global conversation about technology and how it impacts our lives. You can see for yourself here.

  • You can still sign up to host your own pop-up exhibition on data and privacy

    Our Glass Room Experience Internet of Things edition is touring the world this year from Poland to Brazil and we're still looking for individuals, events and organisations to host their own. If you'd like to find out more go to our website.

Events (2)

  • Tactical tech residency: making the citizen investigation toolkit

    Later this month we'll be leading a group of artists, investigators and journalists through a 10-day residency where, together, we'll start building the first ever Citizen Investigation toolkit. The kit will be the first in a series dedicated to making investigations in digital and analogue environments accessible to everyone.

  • Where we've been

    Image: Caroline Kent at GIZ, photo: Daisy Kidd

    Shaping a Digital Future for All: Our Voice, Our Data, Our Privacy, GIZ, Berlin This conference bought together human rights defenders, development experts, policy-makers and tech managers to debate the future of digital technologies. Tactical Tech's Deputy Executive Director, Caroline Kent, delivered an interactive talk on the Data Detox Kit and we set up a Glass Room Experience.

    Weaponised Design at Die Zeit Online, Berlin As part of Hacks/Hackers Berlin, a space to talk about the intersection between technology and journalism, Tactical Tech's Cade Diehm gave a talk on Weaponised Design. Speaking alongside him were Anita Say Chan, who delivered a talk on building inclusive spaces in tech, and Hauke Gierow, who spoke about how to survive reporting about IT-security.

    Transatlantic Digital Debates Fellowship, Berlin, Munich In June, Tactical Tech's data scientist Varoon Bashyakarla participated in the Transatlantic Digital Debates fellowship. The program fosters dialogue on the challenges posed by digitization among young professionals in Germany and the United States with the goal of building a lasting transatlantic cooperation.

    Radical Open Access Conference, Coventry, UK Co-foudner Marek Tuszynski participated in a conference, organised by Coventry University’s postdigital arts and humanities research studio, The Post Office, a project of the Centre Of Post Digital Cultures. A workshop led by Guerrilla Open Access, 'Safe Havens for Datasets / Technologies and Political Interventions' looked into how we can think of technological infrastructures, institutional support and strategies of collectivising responsibility for conserving and making information accessible, legally or not. There was a fantastic programme covering a spectrum of related issues, challenges and solutions.

Press and media (1)

  • Tactical tech in the press

    Our report Mexico's Changing Democracy: How Data Influenced Mexico's 2018 Election was reported across a few Mexican news sites: Red de Rendición de Cuentas, El Economista and Homozapping (parts 1 and 2).

    Spanish newspaper El Pais spoke with Alistair Alexander at Barcelona's tech festival Sonar + D on the importance of reading the terms and conditions, the data detox kit and our travelling exhibition on data and privacy, The Glass Room Experience. (El Pais, in Spanish)

Stuff we're reading

Stories we've found interesting in the past month

Activism (6)

  • Tech thursdays - kcrw radio berlin

    It's always a pleasure to be guests on KCRW Radio's Tech Thursdays show. This month we spoke about how GDPR might create cultural shifts and about Google's potential $11 billion fine in relation to EU's anti-trust law.

  • Protecting the digital beneficiary

    Privacy International's director and Tactical Tech board member, Gus Hosein, writes about the problem that data collection creates for the humanitarian sector and the protection of beneficiaries. (ICRC)

  • Report: reorienting rules for rights

    What are the problems emerging from online content regulation? All explained in the illustrated summary of from the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion & expression. (APC)

  • Debunking the 6 biggest myths about technology addiction

    How concerned should people be about the psychological effects of screen time? Balancing technology use with other aspects of daily life seems reasonable, but there is a lot of conflicting advice about where that balance should be. (The Conversation)

  • Safersisters: feminist digital security hints in gifs!

    Coding Rights launches a collection of gifs for women and non-binary people to nail tech apps, gadgets and habits. (Coding Rights)

  • Bias detectives: the researchers striving to make algorithms fair

    As machine learning infiltrates society, scientists are trying to help ward off injustice. (Nature)

Provocation (6)

  • German police raid homes of tor-linked group's board members

    One board member described the police's justification for the raids as a "tenuous" link between the privacy group, a blog, and its email address.

  • Surveillance, bias and control in the age of facial recognition software

    What is the future of our photos in an age when images – and the machine-readable data they contain – no longer belong to us? (Freize)

  • Friend and foe: the platform press at the heart of journalism

    This report is part of an ongoing, multiyear study by the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School into the relationship between large-scale technology companies and journalism. (Colombia Journalism Review)

  • Thermostats, locks and lights: digital tools of domestic abuse

    In more than 30 interviews with The New York Times, domestic abuse victims, their lawyers, shelter workers and emergency responders described how the technology was becoming an alarming new tool. (The New York Times)

  • Google's material design is a political choice

    When we make use of Material Design as an aesthetic for our interface designs, we are not just making a cosmetic choice. It's also a political choice. We are representing Google, whatever that might mean. (Imaginary Cloud) Along the same lines, you can read our article about Weaponised Design.

  • New dark age: technology and the end of the future

    In his forthcoming book, James Bridle, artist, writer and thinker, argues that we're living in a new dark age, where it’s not so much the lack of information as too much information that’s the issue. (Kottke) You can also read a review on The Guardian, and a opinion piece by the author.

Illumination (4)

  • What is code?

    An oldie but a goodie. This 2015 article from Bloomsberg creatively explains how code works, as a language and as a tool. (Bloomberg)

  • That merkel photo is more like a meme than a renaissance painting

    The viral image from the G7 summit is powerful, but it also resembles something mundane: Yanny vs. Laurel. (The Atlantic)

  • Enter a digitalized collection of 38,000 pamphlets & periodicals from the french revolution

    This outline sketches the barest context for the resentment that fueled the violence of the French Revolution and the thousands of executions eventually carried out by the Revolutionary Tribunal. (Open Culture)

  • Comparative lengths of terms and conditions

    Student Dima Yarovinsky printed the terms and conditions on paper for major social apps — WhatsApp, Google, Tinder, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, respectively. This reminds us of our Data-Day poster, a day in the life of the data you give away, downloadable for free from our website.