Thanks to the actions of contemptible online gangs like Gamergate, online abuse has recently gained unusual mainstream attention. But survivors of online harassment and abuse are fighting back.
Crash Override is a new "online anti-harassment task force" being run by Alex Lifschitz and Zoe Quinn. Quinn, game developer and creator of Depression Quest, was the first target of Gamergate's angry mob, and has received vicious harassment ever since total fabrications about her personal life were warped into biting accusations and conspiracy theories about corruption in journalism. Others (mostly women) have been literally driven out of their homes by threats from angry and aggressive online harassers.
The site's creators say that the effort is staffed by "experts in information security, white hat hacking, PR, law enforcement, legal, threat monitoring, and counseling," and that its associates are all experienced survivors. Crash Override seeks to work with targets of harassment to help reduce harm, help them recover, and "disempower their harassers." To accomplish this, the group says it will work with law enforcement, media, and "social infrastructure" in response to threats.
Sadly, the desire to help others through harassment has drawn... harassment. Lifschitz says Crash Override has already aggressively been targeted by hackers, and the dim bulbs of Gamergate have already started thinking of ways to derail the effort. And right on cue, random Twitter trolls are mocking it:
@CrashOverrideNW how does it feel knowing you have autism?— StopBS (@BrettDonlevy) January 17, 2015
@CrashOverrideNW Not only is this not going to work, but it's going to backfire spectacularly. dis gon b gud— Hinochi (@TwztdTrnziztr) January 17, 2015
In the absence of help from companies like Twitter, Crash Override has a lot of work to do.
In the past month we have prevented several potentially deadly SWATings and secured more people against hacking and doxxing attempts.— Crash Override (@CrashOverrideNW) January 17, 2015
We hope to continue to help those who unfortunately find themselves targeted and unsure of where to find help.— Crash Override (@CrashOverrideNW) January 17, 2015