Facets: Issue 31

February 4, 2017

New Vulnerabilities: Women of Color, Privacy, And The False Dualism Of Online and Offline

Nehal El-Hadi
"I have become more and more interested in how the separations and borders I had imagined existed were actually absent. It is a false dualism that separates online and offline lives."

Where exactly do online and offline intersect? It depends, El-Hadi says— marginalised folks have to exercise extreme care as individuals in how they negotiate online spaces, but at the same time, these spaces provide opportunities for connection. They can return control to people of colour: control over their own stories and the spread of information, a control which then manifests in offline spaces as well.

Venturing from Silicon Valley

Leslie Miley
"Silicon Valley is the center for disruption. However, we have to develop an understanding of how the tools, platforms, and services we create impact communities outside our own.”

Our companies and products are a product of the ecosystems they spring from. By making support contingent on entrepreneurs’ relocation Silicon Valley, we end up building technologies which are blind to the needs of the communities most in need of that disruption. Miley’s goal with Venture for America is to take the support which is a given in Silicon Valley and facilitate it in America’s hardest hit cities— bringing disruption and diversity to communities that need them most.

Money in Politics: A Massive Design Problem

Jon Lewis
"As more and more money starts to pour into our country’s political process, the need to follow and understand the flow of funds becomes more and more of a necessity.”

We may have mountains of political data at our disposal, but that isn’t enough— how do we know what that data means? How do we unravel the relationships between paperwork across states, the people who collect it, and the data that results? Applying design thinking to political infrastructures, Jon Lewis says, can close that gap by remembering its ultimate goal: to facilitate understanding, and enable people to make better decisions. Written in March of last year, Lewis’ piece is all the more relevant now.

How did tech respond to the Muslim ban?
What can we do?

Deciding where to start can be overwhelming, and many initiatives have popped up to help us make that decision. Remember, always, to start with self-care.

  • Tech Diversity: 12 Things Allies Can Do: Start at the individual level. TechInclusion offers this list of twelve things you can start doing right now. It places fundamentals at its foundations. First and foremost, "understand how we got here."

  • Tech for Justice is an initiative to create technologies which improve access to justice in human rights, legal aid, and the environment. Their projects are on Github.

  • Tech Forward is a list of organisations and projects working for social progress.

  • Code Against Trump is a Github repo which tracks volunteer-based groups using data and technology to foster societal change.

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