erika's blog

Public. Autonomous. Anonymous. Group. Sexting. At AWID 2016. Oh yeah!

"Welcome to the Feminist Internet eXchange Hub! Make sure you come back tonight for some group sexting - public, autonomous, anonymous, group sexting!" we called to women as they stumbled in to explore our feminist internet exchange space at AWID Feminist Futures Forum, 2016. Sometimes they grinned and asked "what time!?", sometimes their cheeks reddened and they looked away abruptly. Most were like - "Huh?"

“Welcome to the Feminist Internet eXchange Hub! Make sure you come back tonight for some group sexting – public, autonomous, anonymous, group sexting!” we called to women as they stumbled in to explore our feminist internet exchange space at AWID Feminist Futures Forum: Building Collective Power for Rights and Justice. Sometimes they grinned and asked “what time!?”, sometimes their cheeks reddened and they looked away abruptly. Most were like – “Huh?”

The over fifty women who joined the fun were in for surprises.

Freedom of expression, the role of intermediaries, and misogynist hate speech: Security in exchange for rights?

The Latin American Regional Forum on Internet Governance was held in August, and brought together internet experts from government, business, and civil society. As a feminist from Mexico who documents cases of technology-related violence against women, the debates on freedom of expression were of particular interest. I took the opportunity to interview representatives of free speech and digital content from the freedom of speech organisation Article 19 - with different perspectives from Brazil and Mexico, as well as views of other experts on the subject.

The Latin American Regional Forum on Internet Governance was held in August, and brought together internet experts from government, business, and civil society. As a feminist from Mexico who documents cases of technology-related violence against women, the debates on freedom of expression were of particular interest.

Blaming the victim

It was a bit like ping-pong - reporters, activists, and representatives from civil society organisations in a hot debate on privacy in Facebook. Some pointed out how Facebook (FB) from its inception is designed to encourage giving up your innermost secrets – or at least your relationship status. That privacy configurations change frequently on FB and it's hard to keep up or understand the implications of a change.

It was a bit like ping-pong – reporters, activists, and representatives from civil society organisations in a hot debate on privacy in Facebook.

Some pointed out how Facebook (FB) from its inception is designed to encourage giving up your innermost secrets – or at least your relationship status. That privacy configurations change frequently on FB and it’s hard to keep up or understand the implications of a change.

Bargain basement shopping in the information society

When I saw this quote on Mozilla's new Collusion website: "If you're not paying for something, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold - Andrew Lewis." I felt it summed up the economics tool box session on Commodification of Knowledge that APC led at the 2012 AWID Forum quite nicely. The session, organised by APC, brought together speakers to spark debate and reflection, but the audience vibrated with insights and was full of feminists eager to deepen discussion on the commodification of knowledge.

When I saw this quote on Mozilla's new Collusion website:

If you're not paying for something, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold. - Andrew Lewis

Taking street harassment off the streets and off the map!

I walked in late to the jam-packed session “Bringing Gender to the Streets: Young Women Amidst the Arab Uprisings” at AWID Forum 2012. This was not a session about technology or the internet, but it was a common strand running through each presenters' activism and evidence-building for women's rights, even and perhaps especially in the midst of revolution.

I walked in late to the jam-packed session “Bringing Gender to the Streets: Young Women Amidst the Arab Uprisings” at AWID Forum 2012. There was standing room only, and I sidled my way in between interpreter booths.

Privacy and voice

I'm sure we've all seen amazing testimony videos of incredibly sensitive subjects: of women who choose to have abortion and share why despite risking imprisonment in their country for this act of taking control of their bodies; lesbians who come out fighting against "correctional rape"; rural women living in isolated regions sharing stories of cultural violence. I cringe and wonder - do they know, did they realize - we would see their testimony - way across the world, that anyone close or near could see it. Are they at risk because of this?

I’m sure we’ve all seen amazing testimony videos of incredibly sensitive subjects: of women who choose to have abortion and share why despite risking imprisonment in their country for this act of taking control of their bodies; lesbians who come out fighting against “correctional rape”; rural women living in isolated regions sharing stories of cultural violence. Their voices are loud and passionate, their names sometimes blaze across the screen, clear images of their faces and their surroundings dance through them all.

Women's advocacy campaigns less effective when feminist?

Images of amazing infographics and heart-wrenching campaigns circled us in the recent "Using information design in advocacy for women's rights" workshop at AWID Forum 2012. Maya and Faith from Tactical Tech led us in a provocative session, where small groups focussed on just one of six questions about each "ad" or campaign image as they toured the room. Questions to tackle included: who did the team think the ad was geared at, what did they learn, what would they change about the ad, etc.

Images of amazing infographics and heart-wrenching campaigns circled us in the recent "Using information design in advocacy for women's rights" workshop at AWID Forum 2012. Maya and Faith from Tactical Tech led us in a provocative session, where small groups focussed on just one of six questions about each "ad" or campaign image as they toured the room. Questions to tackle included: who did the team think the ad was geared at, what did they learn, what would they change about the ad, etc.

You walk away hopeful

A graceful tree glimmering with scarves and blue beads to ward off the evil eye greeted us every day during the 12th AWID Forum: Nazar Degemesin - “May the evil eye not touch her”. Every morning participants could share their message and hang the bead, scarf and satchel (and coin if they had one) for another participant to find at the end of the day.

A graceful tree glimmering with scarves and blue beads to ward off the evil eye greeted us every day during the 12th AWID Forum: Nazar Degemesin – “May the evil eye not touch her”.

Every morning participants could share their message and hang the bead, scarf and satchel (and coin if they had one) for another participant to find at the end of the day.

Mexico: ACTA - anyone making a fuss in your country?

Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States of America are presently negotiating a trade agreement regarding counterfeiting and the enforcement of intellectual property rights, known as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Erika Smith, communications coordinator of APC WNSP, took part in the meeting organized by the Internet Society (ISOC) Mexico to find out how ACTA can affect laws or upcoming bills that attempt to address other aspects of cybercrime, such ase violence against women facilitated by the internet.

So, is anybody up in a huff about ACTA in your country? Nice that at least netcitizen protest (amongst other activism) encouraged it going public. (yay for wikileaks!) In last week´s meeting to discuss the future of the internet in Mexico, the Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement was the main topic of conversation – so much so that the panel on policy and internet featured three viewpoints on ACTA, diverting any serious analysis of the new possibilities that internet presents for citizenry, transparency, government, etc.

SMALL THOUGHTS AROUND....Violence against women and ICTs

<meta content="text/html; charset=utf-8" http-equiv="CONTENT-TYPE" /><title></title><meta content="OpenOffice.org 2.0 (Win32)" name="GENERATOR" /><meta content="20091105;10303789" name="CREATED" /><meta content="Erika Smith" name="CHANGEDBY" /><meta content="20091104;11330000" name="CHANGED" /><style> <!-- @page { size: 21.59cm 27.94cm; margin: 2cm } P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm } --> </style> <p align="left" class="western">Over the next two months, GenderIT.org will be publishing a series of papers that provide a snapshot and baseline on the law and policy on ICTs and violence against women (VAW) in 12 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. The papers are part of the <a href="http://www.apcwomen.org/" target="_blank">Association for Progressive Communications Women's Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP)</a> project that connects ICTs, VAW and Millennium Development Goal Three (MDG3). This <a href="http://www.apcwomen.org/node/695" target="_blank">project</a> is entitled, “Strengthening women’s strategic use of ICTs to combat violence against women and girls”, and is supported by the Dutch government’s <a href="http://www.mdg3.nl/">MDG3 Fund</a> to empower women and promote gender equality. </p>

One of the difficulties faced by women's rights advocates is the reluctance of some participants to see the internet as a political issue; unable to see that this refusal is in itself a political act. The lack of adequate resources, information or analysis that explores communications and technology policies that prevent, minimise or address harm to women is a material challenge faced by advocates working on violence against women.

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