An internet that is safe for sex workers is an internet that is safer for everyone. Though the effects of stigmatization and criminalization run deep, the sex worker community exemplifies how technology can help people reduce harm, share support, and offer experienced analysis to protect each other. But a 2018 federal law purportedly aimed at stopping sex trafficking, FOSTA-SESTA, led to shutdowns of online spaces where sex workers could talk, putting at increased risk some of the very people it was supposed to protect.

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Public interest technology lawyer Kendra Albert and sex worker, activist, and researcher Danielle Blunt have been fighting for sex workers’ online rights for years. They say that this marginalized group’s experience can be a valuable model for protecting all of our free speech rights, and that holding online platforms legally responsible for user speech can lead to censorship that hurts us all. 

Albert and Blunt join EFF’s Cindy Cohn and Jason Kelley to talk about the failures of FOSTA-SESTA, the need for encryption to create a safe internet, and how to create cross-movement relationships with other activists for bodily autonomy so that all internet users can continue to build online communities that keep them safe and free. 

In this episode, you’ll learn about: 

  • How criminalization sometimes harms those whom it is meant to protect. 
  • How end-to-end encryption goes hand-in-hand with shared community wisdom to protect speech about things that are—or might ever be—criminalized. 
  • Viewing community building, mutual aid, and organizing as a kind of technology. 
  • The importance of centering those likely to be impacted in conversations about policy solutions. 

Kendra Albert is a public interest technology lawyer with a special interest in computer security law and freedom of expression. They serve as a clinical instructor at the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard Law School, where they teach students to practice law by working with pro bono clients; they also founded and direct the Initiative for a Representative First Amendment. They serve on the boards of the ACLU of Massachusetts and the Tor Project, and provide support as a legal advisor for Hacking//Hustling. They earned a B.H.A. in History and Lighting Design from Carnegie Mellon University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, cum laude. 

Danielle Blunt is a sex worker, community organizer, public health researcher and co-founder of Hacking//Hustling, a collective of sex workers and accomplices working at the intersection of tech and social justice to interrupt state surveillance and violence facilitated by technology. Blunt leads community-based participatory research on sex work and equitable access to technology from a public health perspective. She is on the advisory board of the Initiative for a Representative First Amendment; is a Senior Civic Media Fellow at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Innovation Lab; and was a 2020 recipient of the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award


An internet that is safe for sex workers is an internet that is safer for everyone. And that's something that I keep coming back to in my organizing of how do we create that and how do we create conversations with communities and with technologists where that the future is more interested in the survival of communities rather than developing the next emergent technology that will fix everything that everyone will use.

That’s Danielle Blunt. She is an activist, a community organizer and a sex worker– and in recent years a lot of her time has been spent responding to the aftermath of a new federal law called FOSTA-SESTA. The law was enacted in 2018, and ever since it passed, EFF has been suing on behalf of some of the many people it effectively silenced online. Those acronyms stand for “Allowing States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” and the “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act.”

As the names indicate, FOSTA-SESTA was promoted as stopping sex trafficking – a horrible problem that society both online and offline has difficulty combatting. FOSTA-SESTA, though, doesn’t actually increase the resources for prosecuting sex traffickers or supporting those victimized by it. Instead, it creates civil liability for the apps and website platforms that host advertisements and other information. And the language of the statute is very broad – it has resulted in both closing down places online where sex workers share critical safety information and also shutting down advertisements by non-sexual body workers and massage therapists.

But the law has also always reached much more broadly than sex trafficking to explicitly criminalize promoting sex work. So, predictably, FOSTA/SESTA has put some of the very people it was supposed to protect at increased physical risk.

Now we’re going to talk about sex work in this episode, and I know this is a sensitive topic for many. But one thing we’ve seen at EFF over the past 30 years is that these folks are often on the front line of digital repression. And getting it right for them is really key to getting it right for so many other marginalized groups, but also for the rest of us.

So we agree with Danielle that an Internet that is safer for sex workers is an internet that’s safer for everyone. So let’s talk about how to make it better.

I’m Cindy Cohn, the Executive Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

And I’m Jason Kelley, EFF’s Associate Director of Digital Strategy. This is our podcast series: How to Fix the Internet.

Our guests today are Danielle Blunt and Kendra Albert. As we mentioned, Blunt is a sex worker, an activist and the co-founder of the Hacking/Hustling collective.

Kendra is a technology lawyer and an instructor at the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard Law School – and, we’re proud to say, a former EFF intern.

We started our conversation with them at a point of optimism. What does it look like if we’ve finally created a digital world that is welcoming and supportive of sex workers?

In some ways this is a really hard question because the effects of, like, stigmatization and criminalization run so deep that it's honestly kind of hard to imagine like what the world would look like without some of the forms of exploitation that sex workers and, like, folks who trade sex deal with every day. What I often think about is just the joy and acceptance and, like, love that I've found in sex worker community where folks are sharing, like, advice on how to keep each other safe, where folks are bringing their analysis and their thoughts and theirs experiences like to every single problem and question the encounter, whether it has to do with sex worker or not, and how like a world where sex work is decriminalized and destigmatized and, frankly, you know, the police are abolished, is a world where, you know, folks don't have to think twice about who they're interacting with or the circumstances in which they're sharing in order to draw on those forms of community and expertise.

Oh, I love the pivot towards the community and what does it look like if this community is empowered as opposed to beleaguered. I think that's a lovely place to start. Blunt, do you have any thoughts?

I think it's really difficult to think about the future at times when things can feel so bleak, but I think it's a really important practice and a really important muscle to exercise to continue to think about what is the future that we're fighting for. And I think a lot about community as a technology and a technology that we can build, that we can foster, that we can nourish. And it is a technology that is repressed by capitalism, and it is the technology that is, I think, the most deeply threatening to the threat of fascism.

That was fabulous.

Kendra, we started this episode with a short explanation of FOSTA-SESTA but for any of our listeners who aren't as familiar with this law as those of us who've lived with it now for a while, can you explain a little bit about what it was and talk a little bit about the intent behind it, because I know you've commented a few times that the “unintended consequences” framing of what has happened in the wake of FOSTA is probably not true.

Yeah, “commented” is a kind way to put it. Screamed into the void might be more accurate. So, yeah, the way I kind of have come to talk about and think about FOSTA-SESTA is sort of as this kind of one two punch, right? There's these two components of the law and they often get, people talk about one or the other, or they confuse the two of them and it, it can get really complicated. I'm gonna use the section numbers and you can cut this if you want.

Oh we can go that deep, trust us.

Uh, section 242-1-A, which is the criminal provisions, which were sort of included, and specifically target sex work. So we're not talking about trafficking, they're talking about prostitution in particular.


Now of course it's kind of funny and by funny I mean horrible because prostitution is actually not a term with an agreed upon definition. What counts as prostitution varies across states within the United States. So there's a section called 242-1-A , which is the one that has been the primary subject of litigation and creates criminal liability for promotion or facilitation of prostitution. And then there are the changes to section 230, which I think is one of the primary things that gets attention. And those actually do have to do primarily with anti-trafficking.

So when people talk about like the unintended consequences of FOSTA, part of the reason I like scream into the void a lot is because even if you just look at the law and like, I will not claim it's easy to understand – some colleagues and I once sat down to write a five page explainer and came out two years later with a 75-page law review article. So, like, I'm not under the illusion that it's easy to just get it across. But even on the text of the law, there are provisions that clearly target prostitution, you know, that are clearly aimed at consensual adult sex work, in addition to the parts that are sort of theoretically more framed in terms of trafficking.

Now, of course, those parts have had consequences for sex working community as well, right? It's not, you know, it's not only if you say the word sex work or prostitution, there are potential consequences. But it's just wrong on the face of the law to claim that sex workers were an unintended target.

My memory is, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, is that this was a bill that was originally kind of written aimed at trafficking, and then once it got into the sausage making of Congress, suddenly it got prostitution added to it. And so it's one of those things that, that went in looking arguably one way, but came out looking very much another way, and that, that kind of gets missed by a lot of people.

So when I talk about FOSTA/SESTA, why I describe it as a one two punch is I think the 230 changes make it much more difficult or, uh, gave large websites that don't have any particular connection to sex work or trafficking a reason to cut adult content off the site because they perceive it as having a higher likelihood of getting them sued for trafficking. Um, and then the second component, the criminal component actually makes it much more difficult for even sites that are engaged in anti-trafficking measures, but where, you know, they may want to support sex worker speech or sex worker advocacy, to do that, uh, in a way that doesn't run really significant risk of criminal liability.

So Blunt, let's, maybe you can help us bring this down to the kind of, the reality of sex workers. How has this law impacted, um, people who are really engaged in this behavior? Because at least at EFF in our, you know, we have a case, we're challenging this law. The case is called Woodhole, and we brought a few representative, kind of, groups that were impacted by it together to, to, to be in our plaintiffs. But I think you have an even broader perspective of how the law is impacting the community.

I think a really important thing when we're talking about FOSTA-SESTA is to talk about how the things that keep sex workers safer also keep folks who are vulnerable to labor exploitation and the sex trade, and those who are experiencing circumstances of trafficking safer as well.

And what FOSTA/SESTA did was make access to community, to harm reduction resources to the spaces where we make money to the spaces where we organize less accessible and some of them completely disappeared from the web. And all that that does is make our exposure to violence more significant. It makes making money more difficult, which also increases our exposure to violence.
It makes connecting with community more difficult also, which makes our exposure to violence increased. And in this situation, those who are in circumstances of labor exploitation and those who might be working with more agency or desire in the sex trades, it impacts all of us the same by increasing our exposure to violence.

And so I think when we talk about FOSTA-SESTA, it's really important to talk about how this bill did not do, it both did not do what it was stated that it would do to reduce sex trafficking, but it also made that those, that it purported to protect more vulnerable to the very circumstances that it was saying that it would help eradicate.

Yeah. Can you give us a couple of specific examples? I think you're totally right and I'd love to ground this a little bit in, in, you know, what kinds of communities did you see getting impacted, online especially.

When FOSTA-SESTA passed, we saw the free and the niche websites go down first so that folks who didn't have access to money to pay for an ad were the ones who were impacted first. So you're seeing people who have less access to income being the first to have their incomes hit. We saw people unable to pay rent.

People who were then put into more precarious situations where they had less agency over the choices that they were making. Because they needed to make rent. They needed to be able to feed themselves and their children. They needed to be able to pay for rent.

And I think what FOSTA/SESTA largely did was disrupt community, disrupt community organizing and make access to resources more difficult. And so many people trade sex for a variety of reasons. For some folks, it's more accessible than other types of labor due to disability, caregiving status, inability to find employment in other spaces. I myself am a disabled sex worker and have never been able to hold down a nine to five and during the pandemic, I turned largely to online work, which became increasingly difficult with all these different bills, with the Visa/MasterCard decision, with the spaces that I had been selling content on for years going down.

I just want to jump in for a second to explain the Visa/Mastercard decision that Blunt just mentioned – in 2020, the two credit card companies announced that they were cutting ties with the website PornHub, effectively de-platforming a large group of sex workers – like Blunt – who made their living selling their content through that website.

OK, back to Blunt.

I think it's also, when we talk about FOSTA-SESTA, I think it's also important to ground it in this larger whorephobic ecosystem. And this is something that Kendra and I talk about a lot. With the removal of Backpage is something that deeply impacted sex worker community.

Backpage is a space where sex workers could advertise their services, which went down, I think it was like a week before FOSTA-SESTA was signed into law, despite lawmakers saying that the law was necessary to take it down and proceeding Backpage being raided by the, the FBI and being taken down were so many other websites that have been taken down without FOSTA-SESTA being necessary.


And so there is so much, like, mythmaking around FOSTA-SESTA. I think that FOSTA-SESTA also becomes like this cornerstone of like all anyone wants to talk about, all anyone wants to fund, when it is, it is taking place in this larger system where we are being wiped off of the internet as well as a way to create censorship, increased platform liability, and do all of these other things. And pushing sex workers as the scapegoat, as the community that this is being signed almost unanimously into law.

There was a government accountability report that came out that kind of, I think, clarifies exactly what you're saying. That what you were saying earlier about the number of sites that came down due to other laws and continue to come down due to other laws, and the government accountability office report essentially said that this law, FOSTA-SESTA, isn't necessary. So I think it's helpful just to frame it for our listeners that not only did it not really give new tools that were needed to the government, it also specifically targets different communities. Like it allows the police and other groups to target these separate communities that you're discussing.

But Blunt, I wanted to ask one specific concrete question about who's been affected? Am I right that sort of safe, or unsafe, client lists have had to come down because of FOSTA-SESTA?

So one of the things that we've seen in the aftermath of FOSTA-SESTA was the removal of a lot of bad date lists where sex workers would search client names, emails to see if other sex workers had bad experiences with this. And so I very much see like FOSTA-SESTA as one of these things that kind of, like, tore apart community and our ability to keep each other safe and share information with each other. And it increased the liability of the platforms that were hosting this information in a way where they just made the decision to remove it. And not having access to bad date lists and things like that.

And even just like spaces to talk about our experiences as sex workers, it can be really isolating to be a sex worker, especially if you don't have in-person community or if you're in an ongoing global pandemic. Being able to have these conversations and find community online is incredibly necessary to our survival.

And so losing a bunch of harm reduction information, including bad date lists, was devastating to the community.

I think anybody engaged in labor needs to be able to have a conversation with the other people engaged in that same labor, uh, about how to keep each other safe. And I think that, honestly, I think that about coal miners, I think that about, um, long haul truckers, I think that about so many different communities where the individual work might feel a little isolating and where there is danger and risk that stopping people from talking to each other about that risk and mitigating that risk strikes me as one of the things that the First Amendment ought to come in very strongly to support. I mean, people sharing information with each other that might be relevant to their own safety, seems to me to be something that ought to be core.

I think one thing that Blunt touched on, but I wanna just put a point on, is I think the way in which there are like real distributional effects of this material not being available in the same way after FOSTA. So like it's not that bad date lists don't still exist, right? Like people still keep bad date lists, but there are now additional risks in sharing them and it's much more difficult for folks who don't already have access to community to get ahold of them or to get connected to them.

And the other thing that's, I think, worth noting on the sort of what the effects were front is that because of like the sort of websites going down, people using access to resources, you know, it becomes a much more precarious circumstance where even on a sort of like online platform level, uh, workers have to sort of be willing to put up with behavior that folks should not have to in order to work. Things like biometric surveillance from, you know, uh, platforms that host adult content or porn or camming videos, right? Stuff like, you know, I think Eros moved overseas after FOSTA-SESTA. And so there, you know, there's now questions about where people, like people's data, including like their identification because you often have to provide identification in order to post an ad, you know, is being stored and who has access to it.

And that's something where if you're not gonna make rent, you don't necessarily have time to worry about ‘do I wanna give my, uh, information via this biometric scan?’ Like where is my passport going to go? And so, you know, , it's both true sort of as a matter of like labor exploitation just more generally, but also especially in the very specific relationships between folks engaged in different forms of sex work and platforms where you just have less leverage and you're less able to actually like be able to make choices about where your information is going.

Yeah. I think that you've identified here kind of the one-two punch of the way that we need to protect this community. The first side, of course, is more on the FOSTA-SESTA side which is we need places for these people to speak and be able to talk to each other and create community-informed community. And the other side is privacy and surveillance.

This community is disproportionately targeted by, um, privacy invasive measures and, and, and overall surveillance. And so from the civil liberties perspective at EFF right, it's, it is the same here as it is with other marginalized communities that both sides, the can you speak and do you have privacy sides, get impacted by the way society addresses, um, these communities and, um, it's, it's no wonder that these communities end up feeling like, you know, um, there is no space for policing that isn't invasive, that isn't, um, you know, uh, horrific and problematic, right? Because that ends up being the sharp end of both of these societal problems impacting the community.

Let’s take a quick moment to say thank you to our sponsor. “How to Fix the Internet” is supported by The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology. Enriching people’s lives through a keener appreciation of our increasingly technological world and portraying the complex humanity of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians. So a tip of the hat to them for their assistance.

Now back to our conversation with Kendra and Blunt.

One important community that works to keep people safe is one that Blunt built herself – Hacking/Hustling. We asked her how that collective came together.

So Hacking/Hustling started in response to tech’s silence around FOSTA-SESTA. I was at a community organizing meeting following the FBI seizure of Backpage, sitting with Melissa Jira Grant and talking about how silent the large majority of tech was about FOSTA-SESTA when we knew that this bill was going to impact so many more people beyond the sex working community. And not only the silence, but the support from a lot, a lot of tech for this, for these. Package of bills. Um, and so this conversation led to one of our first events at Data in Society. Erasing the Internet by Erasing Sex Workers was the presentation that Melissa Jira Grant and I put on and after that presentation, we realized how necessary this conversation was to have in more tech and academic spaces where it just wasn't being talked about. And so we put on a two day conference of panels of sex workers at inviting the sec, both the sex worker community and like the larger tech community to come and listen to sex workers was a really important thing before our next day trainings that were just for the sex working community. We had Daly Barnett from EFF uh, who was with T for Tech give our digital security trainings. And it felt really important to have community driven trainings for folks to, um, strengthen their digital security posture as well as like, give folks something tangible that they could do as well as help unpack both the like nitty gritty of this new law and ways to keep each other safe, as well as a way to build community and have folks able to meet each other in person so that they could develop those relationships offline when everything online was so threatened.

You also do a lot of community-based research about the impacts of FOSTA-SESTA. What did you find?

We very quickly put together a survey and did a research project on the impact of FOSTA-SESTA in the removal of Backpage. It's really impossible to tell what was the impact of what, when they happened so close together. So we kind of combined that. We've done a report on the impact of shadow banning on sex worker communities and activists.

One of our primary findings was that folks who did both sex work and community organizing faced about twice the amount of platform punishment or suppression of speech on online platforms. And so I think that was one of also the major findings of our research on both FOSTA and shadowbanning was that it significantly chilled folks' speech and people felt really uncomfortable talking about certain things, changed the way that they spoke online and found it even more difficult to find information. Not only because of websites disappearing, but because if you didn't know how people were shifting their language to talk about sex work, that information became more difficult to parse, more difficult to search, and more difficult to find.

And right now the work that I'm doing with Hacking/Hustling is building cross movement relationships with the abortion access movement, and other movements for bodily autonomy of how we can share the expertise of organizing and living in criminalized spaces and how we still build community, how we organize, how we stay safe, how we keep each other safe with folks who are maybe newer to having their bodies, their identities, their care, their organizing being criminalized. And I think that this is a really important moment for cross movement organizing and to build those relationships and to lean into the expertise of folks who have been living under criminalization and in heavily police bodies and communities for so long.

I think that's wonderful in that really dark way. You know, welcome to being marginalized. Here's all the things we've learned for years is, um, is, uh, it's incredibly important and useful and exactly headed the wrong direction, right, in terms of how we want society to go.

One of the things I hear in terms of our better world, um, is trying to make sure that the kind of information these communities have and will always have, um, isn't such a secret, right? That one of the promises of the internet was that you didn't have to be local to a community physically in terms of your location or in, you know, with the community already in order to get the information that you might need to be safe or to join that community.

And one of the things that I think would happen in our better world is that, you know, information that you need in order to be safe as a member of a community or somebody joining a community would be readily available rather than something you need to join a secret society and, um, and, and learn on the, on the down low.

And I think that's true about, you know, bad date lists as it is for sex workers as it is for bad date lists for people who aren't sex workers. You know, a long time ago EFF helped a website called Don't Date Him Girl. Um, that was where people were sharing, uh, bad date information, um, kind of much more broadly or, um, the Shitty Media Men list.

The list that, uh, uh, people in the journalistic community, um, shared for a long time about, uh, people in that community who were dangerous that, that information, you shouldn't, you shouldn't need a secret handshake or a, you know, a special key ring in order to get that information. And that's one of the things that the promise of digital technology is that, that that could be our world. And I think that's part of what we might be aiming for in a world that’s better.

Yeah, I would love to see a world where that feels safe, but it feels really important to talk about how criminalization makes something that could be incredibly dangerous. Like when we share information with Hacking/Hustling, something we spend a lot of a lot of time about is what information can be public and what information needs to be private. Because when we share the ways that we stay safe, those ways could be threatened by increased criminalization or by policing the very methods that we share to stay safe. As, like, we push for more cross-movement conversations of how we are all impacted by increased surveillance, I think it's really important to talk about the community standards that would be necessary to keep this information safe. And it's not about safeguarding them from other people in community because it is like this, this trade off that you have to make of making this information accessible, but sharing it with the right people. And I think like, building at the speed of trust is something that's really important, but we're facing really in,tense threats and increased threats with, I feel like, each new bill that's coming out increases our need for a stronger security posture. And I think that part of that is really knowing what you can talk about, how you can talk about it and where.

I think you're right. And I take your point that as much as we want a world where people can be open and more transparent and open about this, we also gotta get the privacy and surveillance side right. Otherwise we're not making things better, right? That we have to be able to raise both of these things together in order to get to that place.

One of the technologies that is frequently attacked in a lot of the bills that I think you're talking about is encryption, right? And everything Cindy's saying and everything you're saying about the kind of knowing where to use certain technologies, how to share information, what information you can share, how to do it safely is super important.

But I wonder if you could talk a little bit about how beneficial to the community and why we need to protect it beyond just where it is today, but also grow its use and sort of how pervasive it is.

I think encryption is really important for sex working communities, but also just sort of more generally for anyone who is potentially engaged in behavior that either is or might be at some point criminalized. You know, I think for some folks, the model of being afraid of the police or having the police as sort of an adversarial relationship to your life is a theoretical one, right? To say like, oh, if the police get access to it, that's something that people think of as kind of like, oh my gosh, wouldn't that be, you know, strange.

But, you know, for folks who are engaged in criminalized behavior, that's, A, something to think about every day. Encryption in particular helps protect kind of that, or eliminate or reduce the chances that that is a threat that folks are facing.

And I think helps people speak more freely and be more honest. Um, if you're sort of less worried about something coming back to haunt you.

But I also think to Blunt's point about the sort of social like realities of these technologies. Encryption is not gonna teach you who to trust. And it won't necessarily keep someone from, you know, taking screenshots depending on which tool you use, um, or sort of sharing your information. And so part of, and often I think the more valuable thing to learn from communities where folks have faced really significant adversaries, whether, you know, those are criminalized or whether they're folks who are just under a really continuous threat.

The technology can help with that, but it's also a skillset that's built by being in conversation with folks who have spent a lot of time and energy thinking about how this stuff works.

Fair point.

Yeah. And I, I think one of, one of the other things that she said on that panel was like, encryption doesn't help you if you're talking to a cop. And I think it really comes back to these like social dynamics, right? Like, or if your phone is seized by the police and you don't have a password, or if you know, if you don't have disappearing messages on, I think, I think encryption is such an important tool, but it, I think there's so much more that could be done about how to strengthen the way, both socially and technically, that we use encryption as just a tool that is in our toolkit, rather than some sort of cure all.

Yeah, I think that's a really important point. And it's, it's an old one in terms of, you know, nothing about us without us, right? That in the design of technologies, but also in the use of technologies and in how we're teaching people about them. We have to. Listen to the affected communities and actually, you know, prioritize in a way that is consistent with what, what they need in terms of this.

That doesn't mean encryption goes away, but just because it's tech and just because you know we're a technical focused people doesn't mean that the technical thing is the most important thing in the story.

And I think too, like in this conversation, I'm thinking a lot about how important it is to have this broader understanding of technology because right, not everyone has access to digital technologies, to cell phones or to stable access to the internet.

And a lot of us have different experiences of surveillance from whether it be like the biometrics that. Being forced into if we want to upload content to a website or the racist and transphobic use of street policing, like all of our experiences with technology are so different and something that is really important to hacking, hustling, and having these conversations about technology and about encryption is about having a broader understanding of what technology is and understanding policing and criminalization as a technology, just like we understand community building, mutual aid and community organizing as a technology as well. And I think that those are the technologies that I want to invest in. And if there are digital technologies to support those or ways that we can increase our safety using digital technologies, I think you really need to make sure that it's integrated and enmeshed with the desire to build community and for the safety of those that you are in community with and around.

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I think that was the first conversation I was able to have on the podcast with a former EFF Pioneer Award winner, so that was really fun for me. I remember when Blunt accepted the award and gave a really good speech and I think about it all the time as one of my favorite EFF award moments. I took a couple of things away from that conversation, but the first was this idea of community as technology. And it’s something I have to sort of wrap my brain around what that means and what it means and what it looks like. But it’s helpful because I think we spend a lot of time thinking about how technology facilitates community building, and discussion, and combining of people and how they come together to learn and educate themselves and each other. But it gives me a new question, which is sort of the reverse: how does community facilitate the use and growth of technology. And what this makes me think about is how communities and technology work together, and how laws and policies have to facilitate that rather than hindering it–regardless of whether the community is one you’re a part of or not.

Yeah, I love that idea too. I also think that FOSTA-SESTA is such a clear example of how the concern about something we all agree is horrible – sex trafficking – can be marshaled to push through laws that further marginalize and make the very people that they claim to help actually worse off. This is a piece of something we’re going to need to fix if we’re going to get to a better place around technology policy.

I also really appreciated how this community needs both the ability to speak, especially speaking to each other in order to share safety information, but also needs privacy and security against surveillance. We often think of these as two separate things but when you talk to people like Blunt and Kendra you really see that they are two sides of the same coin.

And so – no surprise those of us at EFF – our fixed Internet has to include both.

Well that’s it for this episode of How to Fix the Internet.

Thank you so much for listening. If you want to get in touch about the show, you can write to us at or check out the EFF website to become a member, donate, or see what’s happening digital rights-wise this week and every week.

This podcast is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, and includes music licensed Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported by their creators. You can find their names and links to their music in our episode notes, or on our website at

Our theme music is by Nat Keefe of BeatMower with Reed Mathis

How to Fix the Internet is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's program in public understanding of science and technology.

See you next time.

I’m Jason Kelley…

And I’m Cindy Cohn.

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