Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Why attacking Predator Alert Tools backfire on attackers

What appears at first to be a somewhat understandable request by a woman named Anna Dawn Brecht to be removed from the Predator Alert Tool for FetLife database turns into a desire to shut the system down for everyone, regardless of its benefits for others. With the help of her “Dominant,” a long-time FetLife user who goes by the name CarolyneTiler, but whose legal name is Caroline Tyler and, according to her LinkedIn profile, works as a technologist for medical software company EMIS, the pair launch a denial of service attack against PAT-FetLife, which ultimately results in the further distribution of information they want buried.

In the end, Anna Brecht (aka “MarmiteGirl” or “CarolynesRose” on FetLife) and her cohort of attackers succeed only in proving that trying to take down what is still the only warning tool for rape survivors on FetLife isn’t merely a shitty way for supposed advocates of a “Safe, Sane, and Consensual” so-called “lifestyle” to behave, it also offers an exceptionally reliable indicator—undeniable, even—that those attackers should be included in the Predator Alert Tool’s database itself.

If someone violates your consent, you can report it. Likewise, if someone writes hateful reports about you (like “this person is a whiny drama queen”), and you can guess who did it, report that too. If you see spam reports (like “violated my consent by being hot as hell”) in the database and you think you know who’s doing it, report that too. The more someone tries to misuse Predator Alert Tool, the more information about their misuse is available. In other words, Predator Alert Tool is antifragile; damage and chaos don’t break the system, they help it grow.

This post explains why and how attacking Predator Alert Tools backfire on attackers. It also details this week’s denial-of-service attack against Predator Alert Tool for FetLife, provides a profile of the attackers in question, some information about mitigation strategies, and asks for input from you, the survivor support community, about how to best respond to such attacks in the future.

Read the full post.

Remember all those FetLife privacy problems? They’re still problems.

Anaiis Flox has a new feature over on the Slantist today titled, “You Can Browse FetLife Profiles Without Logging In.” I’ll suggest an alternate title: “Everything maymay said about FetLife years ago is still true.” The article also has a brief summary of some history only long-time readers of mine are likely to remember: This […]

Revisiting why “no moderation” is a feature, not a bug, in Predator Alert Tool

Among the most common criticisms of the Predator Alert Tool project, which is a suite of browser apps and social network add-ins aiming to “build sexual violence prevention mechanisms into every social network on the Internet,” is the claim that, since the tools are unmoderated, they “put you in a worse position” than you were […]

Turning discussions about anti-violence tools into discussions about their toolmaker is harmful. Please stop.

The other day, LifeHacker featured Predator Alert Tool for OkCupid on its homepage. Today, I received an email from the post’s author, stating that “the Predator Alert Tool post [is] doing well, but as you warned, some people have descended on it with comments and accusations about you specifically.” The email then detailed several accusations, […]

Announcing: Predator Alert Tool for ChristianMingle

The Predator Alert Tool for ChristianMingle, or PAT-ChristianMingle, is a tool that alerts you of profiles on Spark Networks’ ChristianMingle dating site belonging to people who have reportedly violated others’ consent, such as through sexual assault or rape. This tool is based on the popular Predator Alert Tool for FetLife, a dating website for the […]

Subject: Predator Alert Tool for Tumblr?

Here’s an email I got a few weeks ago that I finally had a moment and the energy to respond to: From: [REDACTED] Date: May 24, 2014 8:54:53 PM PDT To: may may Subject: Predator Alert Tool for Tumblr? Hi maymay, I think a Predator Alert Tool for Tumblr (PAT-Tumblr) should be built. Unfortunately, I […]

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