My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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Combating Sexual Exploitation Online

Today, I testified in front of Martha Coakley and other members of the Massachusetts Attorney General Office as part of their Hearing on Sexual Solicitation Online. I spoke on behalf of my research (not as a part of Microsoft). I’ve spent the last 12 years working directly on issues related to violence against women and girls and so I felt that it was critically important to come to the table and express my concern about the approach many are taking with respect to technology. I was absolutely terrified but hopefully my message got through at least just a little bit.

I’ve posted my testimony online for anyone who wants to know what I said. Feel free to argue with me because I’d love to hear dissenting views on this issue.

“Combating Sexual Exploitation Online: Focus on the Networks of People, not the Technology”

Also, you should know that the Massachusetts AG’s office is taking written testimony until Friday October 22. So if you have something to say about this issue, I’d strongly encourage you to submit your own testimony.

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6 comments to Combating Sexual Exploitation Online

  • Finn


    Could you please send this to the Canadian Parliament? They are going after Craigslist up here as well and it is frustrating to see them pursue policies that potentially do more harm than good, however well intentioned.

    Thank you,

  • Thanks for posting this. I am so glad to read someone discussing how important it is to avoid over-determining technology in addressing online trafficking.

  • jon

    Well said danah. What was the response?

  • I so completely agree with your argument that I cannot offer any beneficial challenge. I can only suggest that your case might have been more poignant if you delivered it in fewer words.

    Danah, the world needs more people like you, who are willing to expend the time and capital to express a voice of reason where it’s lacking. Thanks for doing it.


  • This is fantastically important work. Eager to hear how it was received.

  • Chris Powell

    Well said, as usual.

    P.S. The provided link to the Hearing is broken. Was it removed?