Something I have always told my children is that you can defeat bullies by just being nice to them. By refusing to return malice, you frustrate them and they often desist. Killing the meanness with kindness.

I used this in a discussion recently with a white woman in tech and she replied effusively “Oh! I say that too! I love it!”. Yet her version of kindness is what is harming so many others. It isn’t a return of love when faced with cruelty. It is instead, a conscious decision to “love and light” through complex issues. …


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Full disclosure: I mocked my brother in law for watching this last year. I despise reality TV. This year however, I was drawn into it a little by a group of women I follow professionally. Their witty and often acerbic comments on the show caused me to fast forward through a few episodes. I have some opinions (ofc I do), because these shows are so representative of society.

Far too many of the participants seem unable to cook or operate basic equipment. I count their own brains as basic equipment here too. It is not endearing to be unable to break an egg or cook it. We live in a pre-apocalyptic world, Uber Eats and Deliveroo won’t be around to save you when the Rapture comes. You don’t need to be Bear Grylls but you do need to be able to operate a stove, use email and mute your microphone on conference calls. …


White Women: The Band Aids of Diversity

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I am writing this because man alive, do we really need to look at how people are reacting to white women vs other URM. We need white women to look at their own intersectionality and do better. (Please do read this article by Kimberlé Crenshaw which explains what was behind her creation of the term intersectionality. ) I have to re read it often to make sure my actions are correct and focused.

I am going to describe a few situations here that might make a few people slightly uncomfortable. I think that this is necessary. As a woman I regularly get given unsolicited advice on how I should be, how I could improve. I am expected to take it, to comply. I think it is time we stopped throwing “improve yourself” advice at URM and looked at ourselves, and made ourselves uncomfortable for a change. I will reiterate this at the end, but as white women we have to see that we are used as lighthouses for others. White men use us as band aids for diversity because we let them. We need to raise women who are NOT white, straight or able as much as we raise ourselves. And this is not an “attack” on men. I am saying here that when we are asked to be catalysts for change, when we are looked to for the answers, we should act responsibly. …


Looking for the best candidates? Convinced there is a shortage of suitably qualified people? Still using resumes and taking referrals from Debbie in Accounts? Look no further, I have the answers for you.

Get rid of them entirely. Recruit using CTF or platforms like interviewing.io or applyable.io or any of the options available that reduce bias. Resumes do not represent the whole candidate and tend to favour certain demographics (spoiler, white, male, went to Harvard, plays lacrosse and drinks raw water, probably.) Resumes are dead. It is all about the network. Which brings me to…

2. Expand YOUR network. …


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Dear White People,

Some of you are my family and friends. Some are total strangers or we are casually acquainted. I need you to stop and listen. You have to stop being so comfortable.

To fully understand my message, I want you to remember a particular time when you have experienced feeling unsafe, scared or excluded. Maybe even a horrible mix of all three. Take some time to remember that and think about how it began and ended and why you are able to remember it. How does it still make you feel? It could have been an hour ago or even twenty years ago or more- but it still matters. …


One of the things that really intrigues me about security people is how much we take people at face value, despite being the ones who should know better. I mean this particularly when it comes to donating money, goods or services. Do we trust but verify?

Infosec has some well paid roles but people are not all billionaires. Many of those who are the most generous in this sector, as in life, are those who have relatively little. Often it is those who have known suffering, poverty, struggle,who step up first.

It irks me when I see kindness or trust being abused. So I am writing this to suggest that before you click a link to donate, or re-post something on social media, or suggest your organisation donates, make sure you check out the deal. …


Before we start, let us look at this lovely tweet from a person seeking to laugh at themselves and also to inspire others not to give up. I am HORRIBLE at math, I love it but I get confused easily, or distracted..anyway, this made me smile:

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My background in teaching young people and adult learners has given me strong opinions on shame and bullying. These two are often interlinked and interspersed with guilt. I want to talk about why I do not think that shame is useful in changing behavior. …


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Before I begin, I would like to mention the work of Anna Lauren Hoffmann on Data Violence. I feel that her work has inspired and influenced how I see privacy and our interactions with technology. She has done really in depth and insightful research into how non dominant groups are constantly erased, micro aggressed, diminished and discriminated against by algorithms, by the way technology works and is programmed. That this bias is a form of violence.

My work with and for targeted groups often reveals new areas or issues that I had not considered before. Increasingly I feel that we need to re-evaluate our attitudes to our own privacy and the rights of others. I meet fairly strong resistance to this idea. …


Here are a few words on networking and “lists of women in..”

My aim here is not to criticize genuine attempts to do good. I do however want people to see how these lists can detract from inclusion, rather like the binders of women we heard about years ago.

Lists of “women in” tend to exclude women of color, trans and non binary women, disabled women. They appeal to our desire to help those in our networks. Very few of us see, or want to see, how biased or limited our networks can be. …


Why Defcon is ok but toxic isn’t just a Britney song.

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I have written so many versions of this. Basically, I went to my first Vegas, first Defcon in 2017 and you know what, it was ok. I had fun. People were respectful and friendly and it was a super useful learning and networking experience. It is a long way from perfect, as are a lot of events. So here are a few things that I feel need to be said. This is not a hate piece on DC so look away if you want rage.

So before I went, I was really taken aback by how people described DC. I honestly expected it to be like the set of the Lost Boys. I was warned about harassment and sleazy behavior. PSA: I spent twelve years in Italy, Switzerland and France, I can tell you, I can deal with sleazy, misogynistic behavior pretty well by now. …

About

Stella

I write about privacy in abusive relationships and also muse about inclusion in infosec. I have opinions but I listen. Views are mine.

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