Nicole Shephard

My bio:

Nicole Shephard is a freelance researcher, writer and consultant who takes an intersectional feminist perspective on tech-related topics like the politics of (big)data and algorithms, the internet, surveillance, online harassment or online privacy.

She holds a PhD in Gender Studies from London School of Economics and Political Science (UK), an MSc in International Development from Bristol University (UK), a BA in Social Work and Policy from University of Fribourg (CH) as well as a professional degree in organisational informatics (CH). In addition to freelance and academic experience in research, consulting and teaching, she has 10 years of professional experience in operational ICT roles, human resources, and project management.

Examples of previous talks / appearances:

  • Feministische Perspektiven auf Überwachung, Gunda Werner Institut (Heinrich Böll Stiftung)

    Input Vortrag zur Konferenz "Building a feminist Internet.
    Feministische Netzpolitik in der Praxis" organisiert durch das Gunda Werner Institut.

    Abstract: Ob in der Wissenschaft, im Aktivismus gegen Überwachung, oder in den Medien – wo Überwachung aktuell diskutiert wird, bleiben feministische Perspektiven meist außen vor. Dabei haben feministische Theorie, Methoden und Politik viel zu einem umfassenderen Verständnis von Überwachung und ihren Auswirkungen auf verschiedene Bevölkerungsgruppen beizutragen. Wo liegen die theoretischen und praktischen Anknüpfungspunkte? Wie kann Überwachung intersektional gedacht werden und warum ist das wichtig? Wie sieht ein feministischer Umgang mit Überwachung aus? Das sind einige übergreifende Fragen, denen dieser Vortrag nachgeht.


    This talk is in: German
  • "Was hat Überwachung mit Sex und Gender zu tun?", Beitrag in Technisierte Gesellschaft

    Mein Beitrag im Denknetz Jahrbuch 2017 Technisierte Gesellschaft, Bestandesaufnahmen und kritische Analyse eines Hypes.
    "Es war einmal ein kleiner Vibrator, der wollte gerne nach Hause telefo- nieren. An der DEFCON-Konferenz 2016 wurde gezeigt, dass der We- Vibe 4 Plus genau dies regelmässig tat. Ohne Wissen der zwei Millionen BenutzerInnen schickte das Gerät Daten zu Intensität, Modus, und Körpertemperatur an den Hersteller Standard Innovation, wo sie – mit Zeitstempel und E-Mail-Adressen versehen – gespeichert wurden. Selten ist der Zusammenhang zwischen Überwachung und Sexualität so offensichtlich. Dieser Beitrag widmet sich deshalb der Schnittstelle zwischen Big Data, Überwachung und feministischer Theorie aus intersektioneller Perspektive."

    This talk is in: German
  • "The feminist implications of big data and privacy", #HerNetHerRights online conference

    A talk about the feminist implications of big data and privacy given at an online conference on online harassment, hosted by the European Women's Lobby (full notes available via the link).

    This talk is in: English
  • "Big data and sexual surveillance", issue paper for APC

    Not a talk, but an issue paper authored for APC. Surveillance has historically functioned as an oppressive tool to control women’s bodies and is closely related to colonial modes of managing populations. Big data, metadata and the technologies used to collect, store and analyse them are by no means neutral, but come with their own exclusions and biases. This paper highlights the gendered and racialised effects of data practices; outlines the overlapping nature of state, commercial and peer surveillance; and maps the challenges and opportunities women and queers encounter on the nexus between data, surveillance, gender and sexuality.

    Vulnerable communities as well as sexual rights activists are at heightened risk of data-driven modes of surveillance. In addition to exposing and addressing algorithmic discriminations, feminist data practices oppose the non-consensual collection of data, amplify participatory data projects that empower women and sexual minorities, and protect the data, privacy and anonymity of activists and the communities they work with.

    This talk is in: English
  • "Figuring Big Data", Research Symposium: Doing Justice to Figures

    Big data reify old ideas around objectivity and quantification while substantiating other figurations already circulating in the social and political imaginary. Big data figure in particular ways in popular, academic, and media discourse. In more sombre appropriations, big data raise questions around mass surveillance and bio-/necro-political regulation while giving rise to yet other contentious figures like the hacker or the whistleblower. More celebratory accounts are of the, from a social scientific perspective absurd, persuasion that n=all and theory thus increasingly obsolete. This presentation suggests that doing justice to figures – big data as a figuration in itself, the literal figures that constitute them, as well as the subsequent figurations big data materialises and legitimates – requires re-configuring big data beyond utopian celebration and dystopian dismissal. Queer, anti-racist, and feminist critique have a crucial role to play in this process.

    This talk is in: English