Surviving and Thriving in the Panopticon: Maintaining Privacy in the Workplace as a Chronically Ill Activist

by Cassie Traun | at MinneBar 11 | 11:45 – 12:35 in Challenge | View Schedule

Everyone has certain things about themselves they prefer to keep private. Though many will claim they "have nothing to hide," they are simply wrong, but for some of us maintaining privacy has higher stakes than for others. With employers more frequently requesting vast amounts of data on their employees, including requiring wearing fitness trackers, chronically ill people have even more reason to maintain as much privacy in the workplace as possible about their health and themselves. Activists also have myriad reasons to care about their privacy, but especially if they are working in a corporate environment that has ethics that run counter to their own, as activism is often unpaid labor and activists must get a paycheck from somewhere. This talk will discuss some of the good and bad policies towards privacy that my own company uses, as well as concrete ways to maintain your privacy in the workplace. If you feel comfortable sharing, I'd also love to have a discussion about your company and its policies towards privacy, so we can observe the local trend in which corporate surveillance of employees is moving.

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Cassie Traun

Cassie Traun is currently working in technical support at a very large, unnamed corporation and also does web development during her free time. She has been working in the tech industry in some capacity for nearly a decade. One of the only other things so omnipresent throughout her life has been Crohn's disease, which she was diagnosed with in the severe, refractory form when she was 16. She is also a privacy advocate and co-founded CryptopartyMN, which is dedicated to teaching people of all skill levels how to encrypt their personal communications in a fun, accessible workshop format. CryptopartyMN hosts events in the Twin Cities area on a regular basis and also participated in a joint event with Amnesty International in October 2015. In the rest of her free time, Cassie enjoys biking, hoarding governmental data obtained via data practices requests, sometimes pretending she knows how to admin Linux servers by maintaining several web servers for personal and non-profit use, and upsetting unknown state-sponsored actors enough to try hacking her Twitter account.