"They Look at Vulnerability and Use That to Abuse You'': Participatory Threat Modelling with Migrant Domestic Workers


Julia Słupska and Selina Cho, University of Oxford; Marissa Begonia, Voice of Domestic Workers; Ruba Abu-Salma, King's College London; Nayanatara Prakash, University of Oxford; Mallika Balakrishnan, Migrants Organise


The needs of marginalised groups like migrant domestic workers (MDWs) are often ignored in digital privacy and security research. If considered, MDWs are treated as 'bystanders' or even as threats rather than as targets of surveillance and legitimate security subjects in their own right. Using participatory threat modelling (PTM) as a method of incorporating marginalised populations' experiences, we designed and conducted five workshops with MDWs (n=32) in the UK to identify threats to their privacy and security. We found that MDWs named government surveillance, scams and harassment, and employer monitoring (in this order) as the primary threats to their privacy and security. We also examined the methods MDWs used to stay safe online, such as configuring the privacy settings of their online accounts and creating on- and offline community support networks. Based on our findings, we developed and disseminated a digital privacy and security guide with links to further resources that MDWs can refer to. We conclude by arguing that security research must consider broader social structures like gendered work and racialised border policy that foster insecurity in the lives of MDWs. We also present the key lessons of our work, including considering data sharing from the perspective of stakeholders who do not own technology devices but are affected by them, and reflecting on how security research can stop enabling harmful forms of surveillance.

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@inproceedings {281292,
author = {Julia Slupska and Selina Cho and Marissa Begonia and Ruba Abu-Salma and Nayanatara Prakash and Mallika Balakrishnan},
title = {"They Look at Vulnerability and Use That to Abuse You{\textquoteright}{\textquoteright}: Participatory Threat Modelling with Migrant Domestic Workers},
booktitle = {31st USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 22)},
year = {2022},
isbn = {978-1-939133-31-1},
address = {Boston, MA},
pages = {323--340},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/usenixsecurity22/presentation/slupska-vulnerability},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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