Abstract: Sex workers sit at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities and make up a sizable workforce: the UN estimates that at least 42 million sex workers are conducting business across the globe. Sex workers face a unique and significant set of digital, social, political, legal, and safety risks; yet their digital experiences have received little study in the CS and HCI literature. In this talk I will review findings from 5+ years of research I’ve conducted in Europe and the US with legally-working sex workers on their use of technology and their strategies for staying safe online and offline. The talk will conclude with a discussion of how these findings can inform broader conversations around internet governance, digital discrimination, and safety protections for other marginalized and vulnerable groups.
Bio: Dr. Elissa M. Redmiles is the Clare Luce Boothe Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University and a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. She was previously a Faculty Member at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems and has additionally served as a consultant and researcher at multiple institutions, including Microsoft Research, Facebook, the World Bank, the Center for Democracy and Technology, and the Partnership on AI. Dr. Redmiles uses computational, economic, and social science methods to understand users’ security, privacy, and online safety-related decision-making processes. Her research has been recognized with multiple paper awards and other recognitions from USENIX Security, ACM CCS, ACM CHI, ACM CSCW, and ACM EAAMO. Dr. Redmiles has been invited to present her work at the White House and has had research featured in popular press publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, Rolling Stone, Wired, and Forbes.