CryptoHarlem’s Founder Warns Against ‘Digital Stop and Frisk’
This year, many people braved the risk of coronavirus infection to protest police brutality in Black neighborhoods, but physical violence isn’t the only way law enforcement can harm marginalized and minority communities: Hacker Matt Mitchell wants us to pay attention to digital policing, too. He argues that marginalized communities have become a test bed for powerful and troubling new surveillance tools that could become more widespread.
In 2013, Mitchell founded a series of free security workshops in his New York City neighborhood called CryptoHarlem as a way to work through the pain of watching the divisive trial over the death of Black Florida teen Trayvon Martin. “I talk to people about the surveillance in our neighborhood and how it got there and how it works and what we can do to circumvent it and what we can do to be safer,” Mitchell said, in a video interview with WIRED’s Sidney Fussell at the second of three WIRED25 events Wednesday. (Mitchell was recently named to the WIRED25, a list of people working to make the world better.)