Tor/Transition House – Project Update #1

Tue Feb. 25
Blog Post Draft
Today we discussed what surveillance means in domestic violence and what are the problems we can address on. We found that the subjects of surveillance are not limited to government or big firms: ordinary people – such as one’s close partner or an online stalker – can also be the subject of surveillance and do harm to the victims being surveilled.
Abuse leads to control. Control leads to surveillance. In many cases, people are living with their communication channels (e.g. Facebook accounts, mailbox passwords, cellphones) controlled by their partners or someone else. Victims in these cases are not facing death threats or under direct violence (forcing them seeking help from Transition House), but their abuse condition may last longer and be hard to escape from.
So the group of people we are serving is **the ones who are susceptible to “domestic surveillance”**. It is still hard to determine the size of this group. Some people claim that they are being surveilled and their devices are infected, but it may be a real security threat or just their own illusion.
The potential co-design projects forked from this domain are:
1. Build tools to help people find out whether their devices are infected, and whether their social network activities make them vulnerable of being stalked. The solution may be an extension of fuerza (, a set of security diagnosing questionnaires. The challenge is how to gain trust from clients using these tools, and what’s the next steps after diagnosis (how to detect the source of attacks, how to de-infect the device etc.).
2. Build dataset to understand to what extent our privacy and security are being compromised in terms of infected devices and other types of digital surveillance. Works may include interviewing local police departments or building tools to collect data.
3. Raise awareness among people about security risks within their mobile devices. (Perhaps we can make some educational tools?)
What are we going to do on the Discotech?
– a fast security check of cellphone?
– a mini game or some storytelling forms?
– hacking on codebase or content?