Sex Workers Versus Surveillance
08-17, 22:15–23:00 (Europe/Berlin), Digitalcourage
Language: English

Sex workers have always been at the vanguard of technology—in ways that protect and restrict their rights. Laws and policies that impact sex workers never stop at this population so it is imperative that these case studies reach general audiences concerned with human rights as a whole. This talk will include a history of surveillance mechanisms directed against sex workers and will focus on the ways and means that digital surveillance has been impacting sex worker rights of mobility and free expression in recent years. New laws enforcing the censorship of pornography and the collateral damages they levy on reproductive health and LGBTQ+ community building will be discussed as well as border crossing and payment processing. Information about how AI and facial recognition software target sex workers will be detailed as well as the tools, advocacy, social engineering strategies sex workers can use to fight back.

This talk is not limited to sex workers and their allies. It will include a primer on why sex worker rights include all human rights and show evidence that these laws are not limited to sex workers at all. LGBTQI+ people and reproductive health activists will be immediately impacted as well as all people who believe in the freedom of information.

Content Notes

This talk will not be pornographic in nature but will speak about pornography and reproductive health in the abstract. LGBTQI+ rights, abortion, prostitution, sex trafficking, and abuse (as well as the prevention thereof) will be discussed. The speaker is adamantly opposed to human trafficking and abuse—this talk will address the failings of policies and the way they inhibit justice.

Maggie Mayhem is a former sex worker, full spectrum birth worker, and death worker. She is an advisor with the Distributed Denial of Secrets board whose work as an activist has been profiled by The Atlantic and Huffington Post. She has spoken at the UN Digital Rights Forum, DefCon, HOPE, SxSW, Center For Democracy and Technology, and universities around the world. Her website is MaggieMayhem.Com