30 Oct Gender and Human Rights in Digital Environments
On October 29, 2020, Disini Buted Disini hosted a webinar entitled Gender and Human Rights in Digital Environments, as part of Digital Transformation Thursdays, an online series on the leading issues on technology and the law. As the first installment of the Digital Human Rights Series, this webinar explored the exercise of human rights in the internet and the unique challenges that may arise therein.
In the first talk, digital rights researcher Al Alegre surveyed the discourse on “internet rights” and classified it into three categories: rights to, on, and in the internet. While the first category pertains to the right to access the internet itself, the second category refers to the exercise of traditionally recognized rights (such as speech and expression) using the internet. Emerging challenges, such as disinformation and heightened surveillance, threaten the exercise of these rights for those using the medium. The third category refers to rights that are embedded in the internet itself—or, in other words, those which may only be exercised in the internet. This includes network neutrality, encryption and anonymity, and the right to be forgotten.
The second lecture focused on how existing gender-based inequities translate to a gender divide in internet use and internet rights. Lisa Garcia of the Foundation for Media Alternatives argued that several factors continue to prevent women from participating in the internet, despite it being envisioned as an “open” and democratic space. Citing recent cross-country data, Garcia explained that women are less likely to consume and produce online content, which may reflect existing gaps in literacy, access and ownership of technology, and safety and security.