I am happy to announce that I have just released an update to the Predator Alert Tool for OkCupid, bringing it up to version 0.5.3. This version fixes a few bugs in its auto-update functionality and, importantly, adds new red-flag questions to the default questionnaire in order to help users better protect themselves against predatory […]
Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category
This post is a brief update in Q&A form to address the most common questions I’m getting about the Predator Alert Tool for FetLife service disruption. Why can’t I share information about a sexual assault that a FetLife user committed? Due to a deliberate and sustained denial-of-service attack by a FetLife user, the PAT-FetLife reporting […]
19 Jul 2014 at 22:29
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.