This manual is a community-built resource for a growing community of women and trans* activists, human rights defenders and technologists. It is designed to be a living, growing collection of practical guidance and information that uniquely speaks to this community’s needs, experiences, and activism, both online and offline.

Content listed in the manual was created in response to this community’s requests for ideas and guidance they needed, but couldn’t find elsewhere. The current manual explores two overlapping issues:

First, how can one craft appropriate online presences (or a series of them) that strengthen our ability to communicate and work online safely?

Secondly, how can one collaboratively create safe online and offline spaces that enable communities to share, collaborate, and communicate safely?

The manual grew out of the 2014 Gender and Technology Institute, organised by Tactical Technology Collective and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC). The Institute brought together almost 80 participants and facilitators—mostly from the Global South—to focus on issues faced daily by women and trans* persons online and offline, to share strategies and tools for better protecting digital privacy and security, as well as show one can spread this knowledge and skills with communities and organisations. This manual has also benefited from the input and review of a wide range of people. It is informed by the stories and creative practices of grass-roots activists, digital and holistic security facilitators, privacy advocates, and people making technology around the world.


1 Introduction

2 ‘Digital Traces’ and ‘Digital Shadows’
2.1 Exploring
2.1.1 Self-doxing
2.2 Social mapping
2.3 Regaining control

3 Creating and managing identities online
3.1 Using your ‘real identity’ vs. other options
3.1.1 “Real” names
3.1.2 Anonymity
3.1.3 Persistent Pseudonymity
3.1.4 Collective Identity
3.1.5 Comparing strategies

4 Creating a new online identity
4.1 Creating names and life stories
4.2 Credible personas

5 Managing several identities
5.1 Disposable email addresses
5.2 Commercial social networking platforms

6 A different machine for each identity

7 Safe Spaces

8 Safe spaces in the public sphere (online and offline)
8.1 Counterspeech
8.1.1 Storming Wikipedia
8.2 Dealing with Trolls
8.2.1 Bots against trolls
8.3 Supporting others
8.4 Documenting violence

9 Safe spaces offline
9.1 Narrowing the gender gap in tech
9.2 General framework
9.3 How safe is the space?
9.4 Shared agreements
9.5 Choosing a format that fits

10 Tools for collaboration
10.1 Mailing lists
10.1.1 Open or closed?
10.1.2 Policies
10.1.3 Administration
10.1.4 Gender and tech mailing list
10.2 Chat with IRC
10.3 Forums, Wikis and Etherpads
10.4 Blogs and websites
10.5 Alternative social networking platforms

11 Glossary

12 Establishing a baseline of privacy and security knowledge

13 Credits

14 Funding

15 License

Year of publication


Add new comment

Plain text

  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <br><p>