Inspiration

"Research indicates that approximately 1 in 5 women and 1 in 33 men will be victims of sexual assault in their lifetime." (1). Many websites of organizations that support victims of domestic violence now offer "safe escape" buttons (example). The problem is that these buttons are very shallow attempts at keeping users' browsing history private. Most only redirect to one website! Although the underlying structure of the Internet prevents the erasing of users' history from any website, the least we can do is increase the number of sites that are used to mask the users' browsing histories.

My solution

Build a shell (i.e. empty) website that is freely hosted on Github that can store a bunch of pages that redirect to innocent websites like "weather.com". Then people can use my template button on their websites that will redirect to these fake pages and flood users' browser histories.

How I built it

HTML5 supports small modifications to browser history. The only limitation is that those modifications must share the same domain origin as the currently active page. This simply means that a random website like "supportmyvictim.net" can change the browser history to say that the user visited "supportmyvictim.net/donate" or "supportmyvictim.net/about" but CANNOT change the history to say "google.com"

Challenges I ran into

Linking to the the URLs of nested pages hosted on my own github site. This can cause unexpected behavior and leave the history trail open to further investigation.

What's next for Safe Houses

Give it a nice interface for people to style and export the button however they want. Maybe give it a custom domain.

References

1 - Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M.R. (2011) The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey(N ISVIS ): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey. 1998.

Share this project:

Updates