Bookmark: "Security Isn't Enough. Silicon Valley Needs 'Abusability' Testing"

Sebastian Greger


While designers and technologists are all obsessed with usability (and rightfully so!), this little-observed topic of “abusability” deserves more attention.

Ashkan Soltani plans to give a talk centered on an overdue reckoning for move-fast-and-break-things tech firms. He says it’s time for Silicon Valley to take the potential for unintended, malicious use of its products as seriously as it takes their security. […] tech companies need to think not just about protecting their own users but about what he calls abusability: the possibility that users could exploit their tech to harm others, or the world.

This starts with every single participant in the design process – for me, the discussion around “abusability” is closely connected to “weaponisation”:

On Weaponised Design
This may well be the most comprehensive article I’ve read this year so far on the topic of the ethical responsibility of […]

Designing for people means to also take into account the unintended consequences from the get-go. Technology does not exist in a void, but has real impacts on users and non-users alike.

I'm Sebastian, Sociologist and Interaction Designer. This journal is mostly about bringing toge­ther social science and design for inclusive, privacy-focused, and sustainable "human-first" digital strategies. I also tend to a "digital garden" with carefully curated resources.

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