Make Slack Safe
Millions of people use Slack to communicate at work and with their communities online. But Slack is not taking the safety of its users seriously—refusing to offer end-to-end encrypted messaging and ignoring cases of harassment. With the reversal of Roe v. Wade, and states passing laws restricting bodily autonomy, unprotected Slack messages could be used to criminalize abortions and other actions.
Safety should be an inherent feature of the tech we use in our daily lives and our workplaces. Sign the letter to demand Slack put user privacy and security first. Tell them to Make Slack Safe.
From: [Your Name]
We are businesses, organizations, communities, and individuals who depend on tools like Slack to connect online. We are activists organizing for change; journalists who communicate with sources and about sensitive stories; nonprofits providing care and support for our communities; companies that need to streamline our processes and share ideas; students, creators, gamers, alumni, artists, athletes, and other communities that use the Internet to connect with people all over the world.
Slack has put the security of our communities in danger by not taking steps to ensure user safety. Safety should be a built-in feature of all technology, so we are calling on you to make changes to Slack to protect your users by implementing end-to-end encryption for messages to protect our privacy, and adding a blocking feature to help protect users from harassment.
In the US and around the world, governments are using data and digital communications to target human rights defenders and people exposing human rights violations, including political nonprofits, activist networks, journalists. For many of these groups and individuals, Slack is an absolutely vital communication tool, but it could also become the basis of government targeting, repression, censorship.
For years, law enforcement has monitored marginalized groups—including BIPOC, immigrants, social justice activists, and sex workers—through their online communications and through other forms of surveillance. Personal communications immediately became a target for criminalizing abortions after the reversal of Roe v Wade. Security experts and human rights organizations have sounded the alarm about this abuse and point to default end-to-end encrypted messaging as a first and best step companies can take to protect targeted communities.
Slack’s failure to implement this privacy feature by default has already left many too many people vulnerable. With the reversal of Roe putting millions more people in direct danger of criminalization and attacks from law enforcement and anti-abortion vigilantes, the urgency of securing people’s DMs cannot be overstated. End-to-end encryption is crucial for protecting people from anti-human rights attacks on their bodily autonomy and personhood.
Despite critiques from journalists and privacy experts, Slack has not publicized any plans to implement default end-to-end encryption. Instead you’re choosing to prioritize profit over users’ privacy and safety.
In addition to unencrypted Slack messages, the absence of functionality to address harassment over Slack puts users at risk. Whether for work, volunteering, or other social communities, many cannot opt out of using Slack. With workplace and online bullying and harassment on the rise, disproportionately impacting marginalized people who might not have other resources or feel comfortable reporting harassment to HR departments or other moderators, Slack must take responsibility to ensure everyone is equipped with resources to defend themselves.
The vast majority of communication tools give users the ability to mute or block people—phone numbers, text messages, DMs over Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, Microsoft Teams. Adding this feature is a simple, commonsense way to protect Slack users from harassment on the platform.
Right now, Slack is falling short in terms of the most basic guardrails for platform safety and privacy. At this political moment, this can mean life or death for some people online. We call on Slack to go beyond statements and put into action its commitment to human rights by implementing basic safety and privacy design features immediately.