June 2 2022 GM

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Glitter Meetups

Glitter Meetup is the weekly town hall of the Internet Freedom community at the IFF Square on the IFF Mattermost, at 9am EST / 1pm UTC. Do you need an invite? Learn how to get one here.

Date: Thursday, June 2nd

Time: 9am EDT / 1pm UTC

Who: Garnett Achieng

Moderator: Mardiya

Where: On IFF Mattermost Square Channel.

Inclusion: Not Just an Add On

We will be speaking to Garnett Achieng, who will be presenting her work on "Inclusion: Not Just An Add on"

Inclusion, Not Just an Add On is a session on inclusive tech design. It is for anyone interested in developing and deploying non discriminatory technologies — technology that works for everyone! We will go through inclusive tech design frameworks like privacy by design, gender by design and safety by design, and discuss how to use them in your design processes.

Garnett Achieng is a researcher and writer. She is a Data & Digital Rights Researcher at Pollicy. She is obsessed with internet cultures and conducts research in content moderation, online harms, the feminist internet, and platform governance. Garnett has a Global Challenges degree from the African Leadership University. She was a Tech & Public Policy fellow at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change where she focused on how African governments can create programs and policies to curb online Gender Based Violence (OGBV).

Notes

It is a session on inclusive tech design. It is for anyone interested in developing and deploying non discriminatory technologies — technology that works for everyone! We will go through inclusive tech design frameworks like privacy by design, gender by design and safety by design, and discuss how to use them in your design processes.

Garnet, @garnettachieng on Mattermost, is a researcher and writer who is obsessed with internet cultures and conducts research in content moderation, online harms, the feminist internet, and platform governance.

Garnett can you share an overview of the project Inclusion, Not Just An Add On?

  • Inclusion Not Just an Add On is a guide to inclusive tech design that Neema Iyer and I wrote. The project was commissioned by Meta, as they wanted their employees in policy to be trained on inclusion in technology. So they also paid for it. The guide is really a call to technologists everywhere to be mindful of who gets to use their products to the max, and who gets excluded, even by simple existence or lack of features. We include some frameworks that can be useful in this, it's not exhaustive of the kind of exclusion(s) possible.

What inspired the research and compilation of the Inclusion not just an Add On Guide? And what were your key insights while working on this guide?

  • definitely the need to highlight how technology excludes people, but more so marginalised people experience this exclusion more
  • I think my favorite example is from Design Justice, how Sascha Constanza Schock talks about how travelling makes trans people anxious, because once you go through TSA scanners as someone whose gender is different from what they present, the person is set aside for a pat down. so then they have to explain that they are trans, and that's why the machine flags something wrong. then there's the issue of whether to be patted down by a male or female security guard. but if something as simple as a body scanner is not designed to understand that people do not necessarily present as their gender, and that over the years, these systems are not designed differently, then there's a problem

Are there any findings you had around the broader tool community - e.g. how the tool developers engage with user communities (or not) - are the issue / feedback mechanisms welcoming, are codes of conduct for tools/communities useful in sending a signal that inclusion is part of the tool's mission?

  • yes. My favorite example is Grindr's community guidelines on nipples

Can you share more on what their guidelines are on Nipples? and why is it particularly important to note?

  • because for so long, women's nipples were automatically censored on tech platforms like Instagram and were banned. but at the end of the day any nipple that is not on a cis het male body is censored.
  • For instance, if someone presenting posts a topless picture it is taken down, but what happens when they then say i'm not a woman, rather i'm a trans man? does it still get taken down because technically that person is a man.
  • So ultimately, there is always some form of exclusion with this policy. Grindr defined their policy of not taking down any nipples because most takedowns are exclusionary (of course this works because they are an adult platform). but their community guidelines stance on this issue was a good point to promote awareness on this.
  • So yes, community guidelines are a good way to signal that all people are welcome. platforms like TikTok banning deadnaming and wrong pronoun use as a means of harassment, signals that trans people should be welcome on the platform. i use should because having community guidelines does not necessarily mean that people will feel included

This makes me wonder if it is possible to design a technology that works for ALL people?

  • I can not answer with absolute certainty. But I can say that designing for the most marginalized benefits everyone at the end of the day.
  • For instance, with the metaverse and web 3. 0. The origin of that world is designed around the whims and interests of white men with lots of disposable income. That's why there is no sort of regulation around this space because most people are just spending spare money.
  • Now take the case of the dips that have been happening, making people lose their money. A lot of people in countries like Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Argentina bought stable coins because their currencies are very volatile. Some of these people have lost their entire savings with the current dip. if it crypto was designed with them in mind, then there would be mechanisms to protect people's money when such dips happen, and everyone would benefit
  • Because crypto was sold to people in the most marginalized parts of the world as a dream, but there were no safeguards in place to protect them, it was just used to exploit them
  • And yes, all of the internet is designed around the whims and needs of white men. facebook was for white men to see who was hot. tesla is for white men, etc etc. And that's why in inclusion not an add on, we talk about inclusion measures like safeguards being added on as a last measure when they run into problems
  • Even when Elon says that content moderation on the internet is penalizing the right wing, yet algorithms favor and amplify right wing content the most. content moderation came as an afterthought when too many marginalized people complained. and right now there's just an onslaught on any measures that were added to protect marginalized people

How can we center safety and insurance for people who invest in crypto?

  • I definitely have no answer to this, I'm not familiar with a lot about crypto.

How do you see the entire conversation and hype around metaverses web 3.0 embedded in dis/misinformation? What will a safety by design framework suggest regarding this? Eg. Erims Aunt

  • Principles of Safety by design would be useful
  1. service provider accountability- crypto companies like binance would be accountable for fraud issues, including a lot of the misinfo about what crypto can or can not do
  2. user friendliness and awareness- they would be more proactive on education campaigns, especially on safety- like binance is really hard to use, all you see if charts and graphs and binance lite doesn't make it easier, it would be their job to make it easier to understand the platform
  3. transparency and accountability- how transparent are crypto platforms with their users on what they stand to make or lose, are they only selling dreams?
  • But to be fair, SBD is more about user safety, i have not seen it being applied to financial issues

Can you share the report here for everyone to reference?