May 26, 2023 - The Misinformation Village organizing team is pleased to announce the second iteration of the Misinformation Village, a community-driven initiative designed to bridge gaps between information technology, information security, and the growing threats of disinformation and online influence campaigns.
In the face of a volatile political climate amplified by misinformation, decreasing trust in institutions, and a media landscape grappling with clickbait culture, the Misinformation Village aims to curate and create knowledge in this critical area. The Village invites infosec experts, disinformation researchers, and contributors from diverse domains, such as computational linguistics, adversarial AI, cyber threat intelligence, fact-checking, law, and more, to help build open-knowledge frameworks that are expandable and reproducible across varied problems, languages, and geopolitical realities.
Collaboration with existing open-source frameworks will help shape this year's activities, structured as a red/blue team exercise. Participants can contribute as 'Red team' members (incident/harm creators) or 'Blue team' members (response and counter-offense), with activities ranging from peer-reviewed research presentations, investigative journalistic pieces, and skills-based workshops to book talks, film screenings, and fireside chats with prominent guests.
As organizers of the Misinformation Village at DEFCON, we aim to foster informed and coordinated action to address the mounting threats of disinformation and misinformation. This necessitates a comprehensive approach incorporating a range of disciplines and areas of focus.
Our themes are:
- Information integrity: tools, community guidelines for online information verifiability and source credibility
- Civic integrity and security by design on social platforms, networked digital communities
- Cryptography, decentralized protocols and provenance technologies to build trust in digital media
- Accountability: Indices and scorecard systems to enforce transparency of content moderation and responses to online harms
- Building capacity: networks and cross-sector partnerships to address skills gaps and build robust systems and frameworks to counter misinformation
- Legal frameworks: Data privacy, security and freedom of speech
We seek proposals exploring security risk assessments, thread models, responses, and analysis of the broader information landscape. Ecosystem actors mapping and evaluations of asset allocation and response effectiveness, particularly in the context of election integrity projects, are also critical in our bid to understand and counter the adverse effects of disinformation.
Given the complex nature of information dissemination in today's digital age, we are particularly interested in proposals that investigate tools for information verifiability, community guidelines, and the role of decentralized protocols and cryptography in building trust in digital media and new decentralized digital native communities (the fediverse). Contributions shedding light on the ad-tech industry and the economic ecosystem that fuels disinformation are also particularly encouraged, as are discussions around legal frameworks related to data privacy, security, and freedom of speech.
As mediums that wield power to shape perceptions, movies, storytelling, and media play a pivotal role in illuminating the growing challenges of disinformation and the fragility of our democracies. They can unmask the intricate web of falsehoods that seek to manipulate public opinion and fracture our societal cohesion. They have the potential to translate complex, often abstract concepts of misinformation and democratic erosion into relatable narratives, presenting them in a light that resonates with a broad audience.
Finally, we wish to highlight specific topics currently shaping the disinformation landscape. This includes insights into who is funding disinformation, how the legal system responds, and an examination of various disinformation artifacts and narratives across different geographies and geopolitical contexts. Proposals addressing audience segmentation and analysis, multilingual disinformation campaigns, the role of AI in fact-checking and the 'spamouflage' phenomenon, and the economic and societal costs of disinformation are of great interest to us.
By drawing strategic links between these diverse yet interconnected areas, we hope to foster a multidimensional dialogue that ultimately helps curb the rising tide of misinformation and disinformation. We look forward to receiving your proposals and joining us in this critical endeavor.
"The Misinformation Village at DEFCON is a unique space that blends the technical and societal aspects of the disinformation landscape," says the Village's organizer, Ahmed Medien. "We're excited to see the innovative ideas, groundbreaking research, and meaningful dialogues this year's participants will bring."
The Misinformation Village encourages contributions based on open-source or open-knowledge frameworks to promote accessibility and widespread understanding. Proposals can be related to specific countries or regions or address disinformation challenges globally.
The selection process is on a rolling basis. Prospective speakers should submit their proposals via the online form available at the Misinformation Village website (https://misinfovillage.org). Any private information will be kept confidential, even for those who choose to present under a pseudonym.
We look forward to the innovative conversations and unique solutions arising from this year's Misinformation Village. Together, we can build a more resilient future in the face of disinformation.
DEFCON is one of the world's largest and most notable hacker conventions, held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada. It's a venue for the cybersecurity community to share knowledge, raise awareness about emerging issues, and shape the future of the field.
Ahmed X. Medien
Co-Chair of the Misinformation Village
On behalf of the Organizing Committee