đź’ˇ Ideas Box - a collection of ideas

💡Ideas Box 📦

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copied from the original at https://github.com/PrivacyLx/Topics/blob/master/README.md from commit ca70175

If you like one in particular that you would like to discuss, copy it into a new topic and let’s start discussing

These are just some ideas for privacy workshops/talks that might be interesting to cover.

They just sit here until someone decides to pick it up. Feel free to share, remix however you like and contribute back if you have something interesting in mind. You can do that as a pull request or if you don’t have a github account, e-mail one of the organizers at francisco.core.at.protonmail.com.

When the idea is getting bigger than a small description, you can create a new directory like “Topics/name-of-your-idea” and expand it as much as you would like in there, add images, presentations, etc. And then add a link from this document to your other one.

Feel free to use any of these ideas on workshops of yours !

Censorship Simulation

event format: exhibition

Create a censored environment with various levels of censorship:

  • DNS censorship - people will have to change the DNS
  • IP Blocking - use tor or some sort of VPN
  • Tor is Blocked - people will have to use bridges
  • Deep Packet Inspection - obsfproxy

The idea is for people in understand that there are various types of censorship and know how to get around them. It would also be valuable to explain what kinds of censorship are in use in particular countries.

There is a scientific article that talks particularly about this: McGregor, S.E. et al. Investigating the Computer Security Practices
and Needs of Journalists

Censorship on Europe

event format: talk

Explain to people the kinds of censorship.

Camera recognition

event format: exhibition

The idea here would be to use facial recongition algorithms and instread of training them on faces, train them on CCTV cameras of all types. Creatively subvert the objective of these technologies while also creating awareness about surveillance.

Note: Probably someone has already made this. Is you are aware, feel free to post a link

Android Forensics Study Group

event format: working session

How to tell if malware/surveillance software has been added to a cell phone?

How to tell if data has been extracted from a phone?

These are questions which have been explored in the AnarchoTechNYC. Take a look there

Digital Fight Training

event format: workshop

These are digital privacy and security workshops, but from a bit more technical and offensive side.

Take a look at the wiki entry from AnarchoTechNYC.

Facebook Rehabilitation Group

event format: discussion

Facebook is made to be addictive and the fear of missing out is a huge psychological effect that keeps people locked into the platform. We should enable a discussion where people talk about the issues that keep them locked on the platoform and what can be done to help them leave it.

note: do the same with google

Investigating Metadata collection by the PT Govt

event format: working session

The european union passed a law that was considered later considered to be against the fundamental rights of the citizen. The law find source mandated that telecom provides recorded metadata for two years. But since it was a directive, it was implemented in every country’s laws and when it was conidered illegal, it was already too late. Now the law has to be abolished in every single EU country’s tribunals. In Portugal the law was apparently considered inconstitutional. But then it seems that a loophole allowed for the continuation of that collection and use. We should investigate a bit more on this.

note: supposedly this is no longer in the law thanks to our friends at D3 who brough the issue to the constitutional court.

What data companies have on me? - a dive into data exportability

event format: workshop

In europe, with the GDPR, (an possibly in other places - due to the brussels effect) people have the right to ask for the data stored about them such that they can move to another service. Some services
had already allowed people to take their information, but other only how implemented it. The idea is
to show people what kind of data they have uploaded onto these platform.

Here are some links to export data:

Two other project that might help with this workshop:

  • https://personaldata.io/ - they catalog the types of data that these companies store on you and automate making these data access request. Find their forum here
  • GDPRHub - a project of cataloging info about the GDPR (organized by NYOB)
  • Your Data Done Right - a project by Bits of Freedom to help you make data access requests

Demystifying Encryption :key::lock:

event format: workshop

For many people encryption is a buzz word for security and it is some sort of magic bullet that solves everything. In reality there are different kinds of encryption and it important for us to know how to differentiate the. Even more than that, it is important to ask the right questions about that technology. Questions such as:

  • Who has access to the data
  • Who controls the keys
  • Is it open and well documented?
  • Is the technology standardized?

Note: Talk about Metadata too in this event
Exploing what metadata is.

Introduction to steganography

event format: workshop


Playing with algorithms

event format: workshop

Create a new identity on the web and try to reach a certain profile. Example: female, likes makeup, or male that gets adds about watches, etc. And see the adds for that

do the same with amazon and facebook.

some work has already been done in facebook.tracking.exposed

we need to talk about China…

event format: talk
China is evolving in a fast pace to becoming the first digital dictatorship.
We should do a presentation.

*Facial recognition to take college attendance

Digital Mirror

event format: workshop
Make people see what advertising companies think they are and compare with other people. Use a script that takes pictures of the adds shown to each of us and compare them. Maybe some will not even like that they are shared because they are so personal. And it is an opportunity to show people how much information these companies have on you.

the digital dopleganger that those companies have of us

QubesOS meetup

event format: workshop/gathering

QuebesOS is an awesome Operating System and it deserves to have people chat about it. So let’s share your experiences with it and introduce new people to the concept of compartmentalization at the operationg system level.

Breaking Windows Tea Party

event format: workshop

Let’s break away from Windows. Let’s install software that promotes freedom and gives us power instead. In this workshop, we shall guide people on the adventure of venturing to a new operating system. There will be chanllenges ahead, but the destination is a much better place and well worth the turbulent trip. So let’s sail to that island together and help eachother with our difficulties.

Monthly Privacy Cafe / Cryptoparty / SecurityTea

event format: workshop

Basic Idea: gather people around the topics of surveillance and privacy on an informal encounter.

Cryptoparties are the original idea

Privacy Cafes are an idea from Bits Of Freedom and they have some material here - all in NL :confused:

SecuriTea is the same but from the cypurr collective

This social event from the CyPurr Collective hopes to provide a comfortable space to discuss these anxieties as well as current events in the digital world. Let’s build up our digital-agency and form a critical understand the tech encroaching on our lives. All while enjoying delicious tea and snacks, of course. https://cypurr.nyc

Wifi Tracking

Do you see those “free” wifi hotspots everywhere and sometimes there is more than one (to give you better internet) ? Well, they also see you. A possible idea for a talk/workshop would be talking about these devices and give concrete examples. Maybe do a road tour and play around with these device.

This guide here is a great introduction to the topic.

More examples:

  • In a university in Lisbon they are using wifi to track students (to save energy costs, they say)

Electricity Smart Meters

Electricity smart meters are being installed all around us. They tell all about what is going on in our house:

  • When we are there,
  • When whe are not
  • When we have vistors
  • When we are having a party
  • When it looks like we are running a business from our homes

That information can and will be abused:

  • It will be used in court as possible alibi or testemony (against you)
  • Will raise questions on what you are doing on in your house
  • Will be used to determine if you are at home. Just imagine someone knowing whether or not you are at home just sitting on a desk.
  • They can use that to gamify your life. Give you bonus points if you have certain habits

Here is a video about it and here (Portuguese) a discussion thread on the topic.

These work like wiretapping devices

Investigating Surveillance

event format: working session

It has been some years now, but the Snowden documents still contain relevant information. We should do a working session where we analyze the these documents, and more recent leaks.

We can also look at the catalogues of surveillance companies to see the kinds of capabilities they advertise. To help in this, privacy international’s surveillance industry index might be of help

During the working session we could search and anontate documents with the helo of UWAZI. It’s a took for human rights researchers that makes investigations with documents much easier.

Useful material:

Investigating Large Databases

event format: working session

We know that in europe as well as around the world there are huge dataset from people all around the world. We should do a working session to find what these are at leas so we have some notion of what is going on.

Tracking the Trackers

event format: working session

Taking a look at the marketing industry, look for catalogs and the stuff they sell. Because their websites look like they went straight out of Brave New World.

https://myshadow.org/resources (find the videos on databrokers, metadata)

Documenting COVID-19 surveillance

event format: working session

Containment measures imposed during the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 are really great excuses to surveil everyone. We’ve seen countries surveilling everyone’s phone location but fore sure many other measures are being implemented it’s just that we haven’t cataloged them.

During this session the people present will help aggregate in a document the various kinds of surveillance practices that have been introduced under the guise of contaiment measures, in an effort to find the big picture of how much our privacy has been impacted. And perhaps it the end result has enough quality it can even be posted as a blog/forum post.

Documentary Session

event format: film projection

Citizenfour, article12, Nothing to Hide, Information: what are they looking at, etc.

Is the notion of privacy culture-dependant?

event format: workshop

Get some inspiration here Youtube | Yao Li - Cross-cultural Privacy Prediction

New Privacy Threats

event format: workshop

  • Gigapixel
    There are these cameras that sit on top of a building and take a picture with millions of pixel. This means that we will lever see the camera, but it will see us from very far way.


Tracking Ourselves and Each-other

event format: talk

Peer-surveillance is when someone surveils or tracks others within the same circles. Think of parents tracking their children (look for US patent 2016/0183693 A1 Google), people tracking their health data, foursquare.

Understanding the Surveillance by Looking at Patents

event format: talk/working session

  • US patent 2016/0183693 A1 Google
  • Facebook patent on tacking people on supermarkets
  • Look for facebook’s other companies

Maybe do a presentation on the most distopian patents. Maybe do a contest of the patents in a workshop where we choose the worst one (big-brother award-like)

Some examples:

Patent Company News Patent Application Pattent code
Tacking people through camera dust Facebook gizmodo here US20160014677A1
Wireless communications to suggest connections for a user Facebook - here US20160014677A1
Find people’s real friends even if they don’t use fb much Facebook - here US20160014677A1
Trigger Phone’s Mic When a Hidden Signal Plays on TV Facebook [gizmodo](news article) here US20180167677A1
Google spying teddy bear Google cnn here US20151038333A1
Correlating media consumption data with user profiles Google nytimes here US20170195435A1

Where to find more patents:

Google Search Manipulation

event format: workshop

Show people how google manipulates search results and use that to motivate questioning on the social impact of google. Prove alternatives to the people so they have a choice

Google tracks us even in airplane mode

event format: workshop

Do a workshop where we MITM to test this ourselves https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd_lhqi2NcA

2FA Workshop

event format: workshop

software tokens / sms can be compromised (MITM)

Harware devices are better

Mobile phones insecurity

event format: workshop/talk

Phones are very old technology and with old stuff comes insecurity. Simply because that was not a concert at its inception. Meanwhile, we keep using them, but that fragility can use used against use. We could explore some topics on this insecurity.

IMSI Catchers

event format: workshop

As documented here: https://github.com/Oros42/IMSI-catcher and here
to understand the capabilities of such devices and doing so in a controled environment to make sure that no-one’s privacy is violated and within the limits of the law.

Location Tracking by communication operators

event format: talk

But who needs imsi catchers if the communication operators can know what people are talking as well as phone’s locations at all times. This motherboard article explores how in the us that data is broadly missused.
In many EU countries there is a metadata law that requires telecom companies to store location data of phones via the tower they connect to for two years. This means that they know where you have been every single day for that time period!

Creating good passwords

event format: talk

Teach people how to use passsword managers
A workshop was made on this topics. We will publish the resourced produced shortly


event format: talk

Compartmentalizaton is a security principle for not having everything in the same place. Some of you might know the expession “not putting all eggs in the same basket”. That’s what this presentation is about.
Practical measures like using “firefox multi-account containers”, creating accounts in different services or using fake accounts are covered.

A presentation by privacylx was made on this topic and the slides are avaiable on github.

Insecurity Demonstrations Mini-Hackathons

event format: workshop/hackathon

One typical problem with explaining to people how deep the privacy violations go is because in tech, everything is kind of invisible. The purpose of these sessions is for us to collaborate on tools that help people visualize what is going on in the background.

Ideas for project:

Talking about IoT

event format: talk

inspired on ccc event

does it really need to be online

Island of Things is better than an internet of thinks

Disrupting IoT examples:

  • project that blocks voice recordings by personal assistants [news article]

Some links related to Iot invading people’s privacy:

Privacy, Creativity and the Chilling Effects

event format: talk

This could be a talk of a discussion. Maybe with some slides before talking about surveillance.

Surveillance poisons the discourse.

this whould also have some practical examples. Amnesty International has some great study cases on Belarus and how surveillance might have affected protests or lack-thereof.

Stasi knew about this. Maybe we should also cover this.

Also talk about how this affect and individual’s creativity. It might be important to talk about the social cooling

Introduction to Email encryption

event format: workshop

Protonmail and other modern email webapps has a nice interface for doing email encryption. We could teach people through there or maybe also do it through thunderbird.

WARNING: Warn people that protonmail may reveal a person’s language if they use iOS, for example. The replied message contains the translated string of “from” and the date.

Onion Services Introduction

event format: workshop

On this workshop we would be creating an onion service - a way to host a website without exposing your server location and making sure people accessing it use tor.

There are other advantages that can be covered too:

  • very easy to setup
  • no DNS / authentication is in the url
  • nat punching
  • non-enumerable
  • making sure people use tor to access it
  • authenticated onion services to do access controll

security considerations: check out riseup’s wiki

Should we be using chrome?

event format: workshop/working session

Explore together with others how privacy invasive chrome really is. The base for this session would the chrome privacy whitepaper, which is a document that details all the surveillance that chrome does (they must call it a “privacy paper” ironically).

At the end of 2018, google (the company that develops chrome) silently pushed an update that automatically login in to chrome any user who had logged into a google account without consent or notification. We aready knew that having a company like google as owner of the browser we use could be a bad idea. I guess we just needed proof that it could lead to more privacy invasions.

But many more privacy invasions happen in chrome and we’re not even aware of them. This will serve as an eye opener to what google really is seeking - our souls :wink:

Cooperate With Artists to create Awareness

event format: ?
Invite artists to brainstorm on ideas to raise awareness on privacy issues and also inform them.

Using Facebook to get people out of there

event format: online activity

  • link out and not in. Send people links to your website and keep it updated instead of sending people to your facebook
  • create facebook suicide parties / use sth like http://suicidemachine.org/

How to delete facebook

event format: workshop

Teach people how to safely backup a facebook account. Maybe pollute it a bit before leaving in order to confuse the algorithms.

Facebook’s Censorship

event format: talk

We know facebok is bad for a lot of reasons and it is worrisome why so many people are still there. In this proposal for a talk we would expose facebook’s actions and make people rethink their positions. Examples

  • We can no longer talk about sex on Facebook in Europe

    Sometime in late 2018, Facebook quietly added “Sexual Solicitation” to
    its list of “Objectionable Content”. Without notifying its users. This
    is quite remarkable, to put it mildly, as for many people sex is far
    from being a negligible part of life.

    on edrigram 17.1 16th jan 2019

And maybe find other examples.


event format: bar

Show people that there is no single strategy to be secure.

When you make a cocktail there is not a single recepy that is good. Infomrations security is pretty much the same

Note: maybe we can integrate this with cryptoparties and have a bar give us the space

Lineage Install party

event format: workshop

(or maybe call it “Degooglifying your android” / “owning the phone you payed for”). This might take some time and requires some preparation:

  • Prepare material to inform people of what will be needed

    • phone
    • backup done
    • charger
  • Downloading images for the devices as the Internet at the venue might be too slow to do everyone’s download

  • Prepare a debricking guide to follow in case something goes wrong

Privacy Underground

event format: workshop/game

Privacy “Underground” - Computerphile describes a nice concept where people meet in a secret location revealed only on the day of the event and when reaching it, they need to turn off their smartphone.

A similar concept seems to be “Secret Dining”. With that idea, we could organize a diner where the main topic would be privacy and where the location is “secret”.

There could be a gamification aspect where we would disclose the location in an “encrypted manner” and only those who would decipher the message would be able to reach the destination. And maybe that could be like a short treasure hunt (30mins) to reach the dining place. That might create a good climate within the group as people all feel accomplished and that can be used to kick-start the dinner.

Exhibition: Another way of seeing tech

event format: exhibition

Have a display of everyday tech but labeled differently (more creepy but still true). The idea is to show everyday objects from another perspective.

Name alternative name alt descritpion
smartphone tracking device a computer that is but on your pocket or purse buy which tracks your every move and sends to the cloud for “improving your experience” (sell the hell out of your data’s soul)
alexa Telescreen A device that people willingly put on their homes so their private conversation’s recordings
TODO add more…

Game: avoid google while browsing

event format: educational game

Have a browser open for people to try to navigate the web. When anything from google is loaded it play a “Doh!” sound. People will be amazed at how hard it is to win the game.

To make this more interesting for the player we may set an objective like “search for this festival” or “search for something you’re interested in”.

The first challenge is going to be interesting, actually. If people don’t know other search engines, how are they gonna find another search engine without a search engine.

educational objective: show people that google is not just there when they search on google. It’s everywhere! (75% of websites has some sort of google tracker).

Apendix: Event types

Event format Description Room arangement
Talk Some people talk to the rest of the group forward-facing chairs
Workshop There is some material prepared for people to follow and learn various groups in tables
Working session people in groups collaborate to investigate/work on something various groups in tables
Screening showing some piece of media, be it a film or talks forward-facing chairs
Discussion Everyone is invited to contribute to the discourse. chairs in a circle
Educational Game Something that we may have in other events
Exhibition Like a museum room

Fresh out of the ideas factory:

Another one I though of:

1 Like

New idea:

Love the Idea. Would be amazing at the moment. Would be great to produce a small leaflet or similar in portuguese with some of the simplest guidelines and resources. The net is filled with peoplewho are uninformed but undersatnd this far and feel powerless and ignorant


New idea added:

1 Like

I like this idea and the twist!!!

1 Like