Technology Summit 2015 Agenda & Events

Tech Summit 2015 Welcome Image

We're so excited to welcome attendees to our 3rd Annual Technology Summit next week in San Francisco! If you're joining us, we can't wait to meet you! If you're not joining us, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to see what we're up to. Take a look at the program book to see what's going on.

This year, we have much to discuss in the world of technology, privacy, and survivor safety. 
Earlier this year, in Elonis v. the United States, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the conviction of Anthony Elonis, who posted threats (which he called rap lyrics) against his ex-wife on Facebook. Elonis had been convicted under the standard that a “reasonable person” would have viewed the posts as real threats. However, the Court said that something more is required, without specifying exactly what, so it is unclear how that decision will impact future cases involving online threats.

Despite our disappointment with that decision, the issue of sharing or distributing intimate images without consent (aka “revenge porn”) has seen a lot of movement. In fact, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Google have updated their policies to include banning non-consensual pornography on their sites. Currently, a federal bill addressing this issue is being discussed and debated.

For victim service programs, selecting effective technologies to support their services, using technology to reach survivors, and finding ways to hold offenders accountable for their crimes continue to be core topics. Privacy, security, safety, and survivor empowerment are part and parcel of those issues, making these very complex discussions.

We hope that by the end of the Summit, we will all leave with more tools and ideas as well as more questions and thoughts about what we can do to help survivors find safety and healing while working toward a world where violence against all people no longer exists.

If you're not able to join us, follow along on social media (#techsummit15 and #TS15QA)!

Technology Summit 2015 Overflow Hotel

Hotel rooms at the Hilton San Francisco Financial District is full, and the Overflow Hotel is the Serrano Hotel

The Serrano Hotel is centrally located near Union Square and is a little over a mile from the Hilton. The rate is $219, plus 16.315% tax, and a $22 Urban Fee, which includes coffee in the lobby, newspaper, Wi-Fi, Town Car Service to the Financial District between 7 – 9 am, and local phone calls. 

To reserve a room at the Serrano, click here or call 415-351-7622 and reference “2015 NNEDV Safety Net Technology Summit.” These rates will be available until July 15 or the room block is filled.

Early Bird Registration Extended

We have great news! We are extending the deadline for early registration to Monday, June 29th. Early bird registration is $375 and will go up to the standard rate of $475 on June 30th. Take advantage of this extension and get $100 off your registration!

Register to attend the 2015 Technology Summit

Also, don't forget that if you're an OVW grantee, some OVW grantees have been approved to use their training travel funds to attend the Summit. More information about using your OVW funds to attend is here.

For the most up-to-date information about the Technology Summit, go to this page

We look forward to seeing you in July!
 

10 Steps to a More Secure Password

Today is World Password Day, and a reminder that you should change your password. Passwords are used for almost everything we do these days because, without a password, anyone can get into all your stuff: your phone, email, bank account, social media, etc. 

Here are some tips on how to create a secure password:

  1. Pick a password that will be hard for someone else to guess.
  2. Use different passwords for different accounts.
  3. Best passwords are longer than 8 characters and contain numbers and symbols.
  4. Keep your passwords simple, so you can remember it. 
  5. Share your password with no one. 
  6. Use 2-step verification/authentication (where you use your password as well as a code that's sent to your phone or email). 
  7. Uncheck the “remember me” or “keep me logged in” feature. 
  8. Always remember to log off. 
  9. Change your password often (today, for instance, on World Password Day!).
  10. Be strategic with secret questions and answers.

For more explanation on these tips, check out our handout on Password: Simple Ways to Increase Your Security.  

Great News for Technology Summit 2015!

Approval for OVW Grantees

We just got approval for OVW grantees to use their travel funds to attend Safety Net’s 3rd Annual Technology Summit. OVW’s Campus Consolidated Youth, Abuse Later in Life, LAV, Rural, SASP, State Coalitions, TSAP, Arrest, and SASP Cultural grantees have been conditionally approved to attend this conference. Grantees from OVW’s Justice for Families, Transitional Housing, and STOP programs have been approved to attend this conference and do not have to obtain prior approval (although STOP subgrantees need approval from their STOP State Administrator).

Read more about how you can use your OVW funds to attend the Technology Summit. (Make sure you read it - there are some things you have to do!)

Registration Scholarships

Also, in case you missed it, we are offering registration scholarships. If you would like to attend the Summit but can’t afford the registration fee, apply for a scholarship. Although we have limited funds, we want to make sure that those working with victims are able to attend. If you’re given a registration scholarship, you will still be responsible for your own travel, meals, and lodgings. More information about the scholarship and how to apply is on the Technology Summit page

As always, let us know if you have questions, and we hope to see you all there!!

Technology Summit 2015 Registration Now Open

Registration for the 3rd Annual Technology Summit is now open! Join us for unique 3-day training focusing on the various complex issues and concerns that come from the intersection of technology and intimate partner violence. National experts on these issues will be presenting, sharing their knowledge and expertise. This summit is open to service professionals working with victims of domestic & sexual violence, stalking, and trafficking. 

Dates & Location

The summit will be held in San Francisco, CA near Chinatown from July 27-29, 2015. (On July 30, 2015, we will hold an exclusive day-long meeting, which is open only for NNEDV state coalition members and tech advocates.)

Cost for Attending

The registration fee includes full access to all training sessions, receptions, and related events, as well as breakfast and afternoon snacks (lunch and dinner is not included). Take advantage of the early bird registration fee by registering before June 1, 2015. 

Early Bird Registration: $375

Standard Registration: $475

Registration

Please register to attend by clicking this link

Submit a Proposal

For the first time, we are soliciting workshop proposals. We are looking for sessions that will provide tools and information to respond to technology abuse, enhance services for survivors of abuse, and hold offenders accountable. 

For more information, read more here. You can submit a proposal through this link

A Glimpse From the Field: How Abusers Are Misusing Technology

The Safety Net Project recently surveyed victim service providers on the misuse of technology by abusers. Of the programs surveyed, 97 percent reported that the survivors they are working with experience harassment, monitoring, and threats by abusers through the misuse of technology.

Abusers in intimate partner violence misuse technology in many ways: to stalk and monitor victims, to harass victims through the “anonymity” of the technology, and to impersonate victims through technology, such as creating false social media accounts. The survey found that 79 percent of programs reported that abusers monitor survivors’ social media accounts, 74 percent report that abusers check victims by text messages, and 71 percent report that abusers scrutinize survivors’ computer activities.

Using technology to facilitate harassment of the victim is a major tactic by abusers, according to the reporting programs. Abusers harassing survivors via text messaging was reported by 96 percent of programs, while 86 percent reported that abusers harass victims through social media.

Of the type of technology misused by offenders, social media, text messaging, and email were the top three. It is not unusual that these three technologies should be reported the most abused by offenders. Abusers seek to disrupt and interrupt survivors’ lives. Stalkers gather information and monitor victims’ activities based on where they are and what they are doing. According to Pew Research Internet Project, 74 percent of adults who are online use a social networking site of some kind and 81 percent of adult cell phone owners send and receive text messages.

In fact, nearly all (99%) the responding programs reported that Facebook is the most misused social media platform by abusers. This finding is not shocking. Facebook is a platform in which abusers and survivors both engage in. With over 1.2 billion monthly active users, Facebook is a key place for offenders to access information about victims or harass the victim by directly messaging the victim or the victim’s friends and family. An advocate wrote: “Facebook is the hardest for survivors to shut down or avoid because they use it to keep in contact with other friends and family.”       

Respondents to the survey also stated how difficult it is to “prove” that an abuser is behind the abuse. “Officers and state attorneys are saying that anyone could have posted those comments and pictures on Facebook, so proving in court that the abuser is doing it is very difficult,” noted one advocate.  Advocates and survivors find it frustrating when they are told that it is impossible to trace harassing text messages or emails back to the perpetrator.

”A Glimpse From the Field” was conducted by the National Network to End Domestic Violence and funded under a grant awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

Click here for a copy of the report.

5 Ways to Make the Internet a Safer Place

Tomorrow is Safer Internet Day, an international day aimed at growing public awareness to show that it takes all of us to make the internet great for everybody.

Here are some things we can all do to make the Internet a safer, happier, nicer place to be.

1. Be nice.

Don’t say mean things about other people online.

source: giphy.com

source: giphy.com

2. Get consent first.

Ask permission before you post anything about someone, whether it's a picture of them or you're just mentioning them.

Source: youtube.com

Source: youtube.com

3. Speak up.

If someone’s being mean to another person online, don’t be afraid to say something. There are others out there who are also thinking the same thing and will be more likely to speak up if you do. 

Source: youtube.com

Source: youtube.com

4. Haters gonna hate.

So just shake it off. Be positive - it's infectious, so go ahead and make it viral. 

Source: giphy.com

Source: giphy.com

5. Love the interwebs.

Treat it (and the people who use it) well and it will love you back.

Source: giphy.com

Source: giphy.com

Learn more about Safer Internet Day and how you can get involved here. 

Protect Yourself In a Data-Driven World

geralt/pixabay.com

geralt/pixabay.com

We live in a world of share, share, share. What’s your phone number? What’s your social security number and birth date? Can I get your pic? Can I follow you on Insta, FB, Twitter? Then there’s an entire level of sharing that we don’t even know about. What does the FBI, NSA, or my county government have on me? Is my doctor, pharmacist, or WebMD sharing my health data with anyone? What is Google, Facebook, or Apple collecting about me?

Today is Data Privacy Day, a day aimed at helping consumers understand how to protect their online information and encourage businesses to be more transparent in how they collect and use data. For victims of stalking, domestic violence, and sexual assault, knowing how their personal information is collected and shared is imperative since disclosing their private information can be the difference between safety and danger.

Survivors take great strides in protecting their privacy from abusers who seek to harm them. They disengage from social media; they get new cell phones and laptops; they put additional security on their accounts. Yet, when information about them is shared: such as medical information between health insurance companies; state databases that are connected to allow additional access; or just the postal office sharing changes of addresses with data brokers – survivors’ privacy can be comprised.

Some of this sharing is beyond our control, which is why Data Privacy Day is so important. We need to protect our information by being careful over what and to whom we share our information and advocate for more control over our own personal information when others are sharing it.

What can you do? Here are some practical steps you can take: 

Other tips? Share them in the comments!

Threats on Facebook: LOL, I Didn’t Really Mean It

The Issue

Before the U.S. Supreme Court is a case to decide how courts should determine someone’s online communications: whether it is threatening or is protected First Amendment speech. The specific case is Anthony Douglas Elonis vs. United States. Elonis was convicted of making threats against a variety of people, including his estranged wife on Facebook.

Elonis’ threats of harm against his wife included a rap lyric that said, “Fold up your PFA [protection from abuse order]…is it thick enough to stop a bullet,” as well as a detailed post about how it technically wasn’t illegal for him to say: “the best place to fire a mortar launcher at her house would be from the cornfield behind it because of easy access to a getaway road and you’d have a clear line of sight through the sun room,” accompanied by a diagram. His other threats included wanting to blow up the state police and sheriff departments; threats against an FBI agent; and claims to make a name for himself by “[initiating] the most heinous school shooting ever imagined.”

The issue at hand: should Elonis’ intention of carrying out those threats have to be proven for those threats to be credible? Elonis and his supporters argue that “subjective intent” is the standard to prove threats are real. NNEDV and others argue that “objective intent,” taking into account the content and the context of the statements, is the correct standard to determine the credibility of threats.

Are Online Threats Real?

The perceived anonymity of the internet has allowed many to harass, intimidate, and threaten others, particularly women, in more ways than ever before. In recent years, we have seen a rise in young people committing suicide after online bullying, female bloggers and gamers viciously attacked online, and women being threatened by “anonymous” mobs for daring to speak out on women’s issues.

The reality is that after any kind of threat, victims fear for their safety. They will leave their homes, change their names, change their phone numbers, abandon careers, leave school, and withdraw from online spaces, including major platforms such as Twitter or Facebook. Survivors have gone to great lengths to feel safer. So are online threats real? The consequences to the victims are very real.

Furthermore, in most cases of domestic violence and stalking, online threats aren’t made in isolation. They are often made as part of other abusive behavior, including physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; intimation; harassment; and attempts to control the other person. Nor are victims' fears unfounded. Each day, an average of three women are killed by a former or current intimate partner in the United States. Context is important. If a victim is so terrified of her abuser, and a judge agrees and gives her a protection order that forbids the abuser from even going near the victim—that context matters. So when he goes home and writes a “lyric” about how a protection order will not stop a bullet and posts it online so everyone can see—that is terrifying. This isn’t a Taylor Swift breakup song. This is a threat.

Freedom of Speech

Those in defense of Elonis argue that the intent matters for a variety of reason. The central argument is that if threats are assessed by the victim’s perception of the threat rather than the person’s intent when making the threat, it could chill freedom of speech. In ACLU’s brief, not taking into account the speaker’s intent could result in “self-censorship [so as] to avoid the potentially serious consequences of misjudging how his words will be received.” Moreover, the arguments claim that it is difficult to assess how speech is perceived when made over the internet because the audience’s reaction to online threats could be interpreted in so many different ways.

The Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project claims that requiring proof of intent is necessary because Elonis’ statements were artistic rap lyrics. The inflammatory and violent statements, while distasteful, were artistic self expression. Those who are unfamiliar with the rap genre, the argument in the brief asserts, could hold negative stereotypes and “falsely and incorrectly interpret them as a threat of violence of unlawful conduct.”

Online Threats and Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Violence Against Women

Their arguments only work if you lived in a world where outlandish speech is only made in the name of art or political speech. In the real world, online threats, particularly against women or intimate partners, are not artistic or political speech. It is violent speech that terrorizes victims. Regardless of whether the abuser or stalker intends to blow up the victim’s home with a mortar or cut her up until she’s soaked in blood and dying (another of Elonis’ online posts), he is accomplishing one of his goals, which is to terrify the victim.

Threats against women cannot be minimized because they happen online. Or because the abuser hasn’t yet carried out the crime. Or because we’re worried that enforcing consequences for these threats will cause people to feel less free to speak their minds and hinder freedom of speech. In the context of domestic violence and stalking, threatening language is threatening. Needing to show subjective intent would make it more difficult to hold abusers and stalkers accountable for terrifying victims and would imply that it’s okay to make such threats, as long as, you know, you didn’t really mean it.

Read our brief for the Elonis v. United States case here

Read our official press release statement here.