Defensive Web Development: Protecting the Web from Political Uncertainty

The web, and by extension the makers of the web, are working in a time of uncertainty which quite simply has no precedent across any other industry. In the UK, as a result of the Brexit referendum, designers and developers face losing the legal basis for the freedom of personal movement as well as the freedom of the movement of data which has facilitated the very creation of the digital industry. In the US, the incoming (as of this writing) Trump administration threatens instability on a scale which has spurred many developers, including Matt Mullenweg and many Automatticians, to publicly pledge not to participate in the creation of databases of individuals which could be used to target them for unthinkable actions.

Quite simply, the ground below our feet is quaking, and there is no safety net below us.

As designers, developers, and the makers of the web, we cannot cross our fingers and hope it will all work out in the end. We must choose workflows and actions which protect our craft, as well as those who use the tools we make, from the consequences of political uncertainty.

This talk will detail web development and business practices which designers, developers, business owners, and agencies can adopt to protect their work and their data during these dark and difficult times. The toolkit will draw on existing and upcoming legislation, best practices, and the experiences of those who have gone before us and paid the price.

Those who attend the talk will be inspired to:

  • think proactively about self-defence and user protection
  • adopt protective workflows and business practices
  • as much as we hope it would never come to this, feel empowered to say “no”,
  • equipped to build in a safeguards, the day an unethical request arrives.

Radical times call for radical actions. Let us start now.