Making SXSW Attendees More Digitally Secure

Written by Elizabeth Seeger

At SXSW Interactive 2016, CDT partnered with CSM Passcode to develop a quiz for attendees of the trade show to assesses their online security practices. As we are most vulnerable to hacks and attacks when traveling, the 10-question quiz was written from the perspective of someone on an international trip. The quiz helped the more than 1,500 people who took it to better understand strong cybersecurity practices for their personal devices and accounts.

You can take the quiz here.

If you were rated a “Noob”, be sure to apply a few of our recommended cybersecurity practices and improve your security online. If you fell into either the “Skiddie” or “Elite” category, you are well on your way to being digitally secure.

In addition to our involvement at the CSM Passcode booth, we also participated in six SXSW Interactive panels, hosted a Tech Policy Happy Hour with the R Street Institute (thanks to Dell and Open Xchange for sponsoring), and of course joined many of the social events around the the conference. Below are some favorite moments (and photos) from our team who attended. I most enjoyed making new friends, introducing folks to CDT’s work, and trying the brisket at Salt Lick. My colleague Michelle De Mooy also did a wonderful job on her panel, “Ethics and Privacy in Wearable Research”.

Jadzia Butler: Spending a few days in Austin with brilliant people who understand the exciting possibilities that tech innovation brings to the table was nothing short of a dream come true. I can’t pick one single favorite, but meeting astronaut Jessica Meier at the NASA booth was icing on the cake – she may be on her way to the International Space Station in the next few years, on a mission that will contribute to getting us to Mars. Ad Astra!

Gautam Hans: I was impressed and thrilled by how wide-ranging the questions on online speech were for Dorothy and me during our discussion. People were very engaged. Also, breakfast tacos!

Tim Hoagland: I was floored with the response on the trade show floor to CDT’s presence, and our security quiz. An incredible amount of folks let us know it was either a) a great baseline of digital security info they had never come across before, or b) for those with more awareness, was a fantastic reminder of good practices.  

Ali Lange: I loved how many questions the audience had for my panel on how to manage their digital estates. It was great to see their expertise in action and the variety of questions spoke to the complexity of the issue.

Katie McInnis: I really enjoyed seeing Ali Lange’s presentation: Everybody Dies: What Is Your Digital Legacy. The crowd was really engaged in the panel discussion and brought up a number of interesting issues.

Tatevik Sargsyan: One of my favorite memories was building a giant life-size Jenga tower with our team at the Facebook Policy Happy Hour: I think we proved to be superb bricklayers. I also appreciated the enthusiasm of exhibition hall attendees about the newly gained insights about their online security practices.

Brian Wesolowski: I was so inspired after meeting a North Korean dissident who helped launch Flash Drives for Freedom, a project that is collecting flash drives, loading them with films and books from around the world, and sneaking them into the repressive country to bring information to its citizens. Definitely check out the project and consider sending them your old flash drives.

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