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CryptoParty founder speaks out against sexism

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Asher Wolf, the founder of the CryptoParty movement who quit Friday, has broken her silence.

In a lengthy blog post, Wolf discussed the "shitful sexism, misogyny and down-right crappy behavior" she has experienced online and at hacker conferences.

"Last infosec conference I went to—there was six females and over 1,000 males in attendance," Wolf wrote. "My female friend roped me into pretending I was her lesbian lover, simply to get a guy to let-the-fuck-go of her hand."

CryptoParty movement was started in August in response to Australia's controversial Internet surveillance bill. The group’s "Tupperware parties” are places where Internet users gather to discuss privacy and "introduce basic cryptography tools - such as the Tor anonymity network," according to its Wiki page.

Over the last four months, Wolf has worked with CryptoParty organizers around the world to help improve the gatherings and make sure attendees got the most out of each party. Her constructive criticism was often met with derision, Wolf wrote.

"When I communicated about concerns and issues—as well as complaints from CryptoParty participants peeved with out-of-touch crypto-lecturers who wanted to teach command lines to crypto-newcomers—I got put downs, got brushed off, ignored, told 'oh don’t worry, we’ll look after it, it won’t be a problem,' 'don’t worry your head about it' or aggravatingly told that I wasn’t qualified to judge their choices as I wasn’t a crypto-expert or a hacker," Wolf blogged. "And I got told to quit. Quite a bit, actually."

The breaking point for Wolf came after her application to speak at the hacker conference 29th Chaos Communication Congress (29c3) was rejected. Instead, she wrote, "a group of guys who had treated me like crap, who put me down, talked down to me, criticized and belittled me for months" were chosen to attend on behalf of CryptoParty in her place.

Wolf quit her position as a CrytoParty organizer late Thursday night on Twitter. Since then, she had been doxed (meaning her personal information was released online), her website has been hacked (and taken offline temporarily), and she has had her plight marginalized by people claiming she is "butthurt," which is Internet slang for annoyance over a perceived insult.

Other people have supported Wolf and hope for her to return.

"I am also a woman in the computer/business community faced same shit," an anonymous user commented on Wolf's blog post ."But isn’t this shit some of the behavior anonymous is fighting against? Fuck those guys, start a womens only CryptoParty."

Photo via Asher Wolf