[DECLARATION] Decolonising the internet: Second International Cyberfeminist Meeting

15 May 2018

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The Second Cyberfeminist International: Decolonising the Internet took place on 15 March 2018, during the 13th edition of the World Social Forum held in Salvador, Brazil on 13-17 March. The aim of the event was to bring together feminist and women's movement leaders who use the internet as a political and communications tool in their activism, in order for them to share their experiences, discuss the development of safe spaces and digital self-defence, and carry out a critical assessment of digital technologies and spaces. The First Cyberfeminist International was held in Kassel, Germany in 1997.

The aim of the event was to bring together feminist and women's movement leaders who use the internet as a political and communications tool in their activism, in order for them to share their experiences, discuss the development of safe spaces and digital self-defence, and carry out a critical assessment of digital technologies and spaces.

The list of co-organisers of the Second Cyberfeminist International is available here.

The following is a translation of the final text adopted by the participants in the event, originally written in Portuguese.

Principles for the decolonisation of the internet

In Salvador, on 15 March 2018, during the 2nd Cyberfeminist International, we discussed and adopted the following text:

Digital technologies, with their diversity of tools and devices, their opportunities and risks, represent key spaces for feminist, queer, LGBT* and anti-racist political action, and have therefore been the subject of critical reflection on the part of academic feminist movements and social movements. Contrary to the decentralisation and democratisation promised by the internet, five major corporations (the so-called “GAFAM” – Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft – along with a few others that centralise services on a global scale, such as Uber, Airbnb, Despegar and MercadoLibre), hold the monopoly on internet operations. This demonstrates how cyberspace has become a territory for struggles for power and narrative. In view of this, we anti-racist cyberfeminists and cyberactivists who believe in a free and feminist internet propose the following 16 demands in order to bring an end to market hegemony and promote the free circulation of ideas on the internet:

  1. The right to identity, sexual and racial diversity, against cis-heteronormativity.
  2. The right to broad, unrestricted and egalitarian access to the internet. The accentuated use of mobile phones cannot be the only means of widespread access to the internet, because it implies a decrease in investment in internet infrastructure and limited and uncreative appropriation of the resources available online.
  3. The defence of net neutrality.
  4. The promotion of alternative networks self-managed by communities.
  5. The deconstruction of the androcentric nature of digital science and technology, at all stages (planning, design, implementation, distribution and use); more women in free software, more women hackers, inventors, programmers.
  6. A broad, intersectional and non-androcentric approach to digital divides (exclusions) related to gender, race, class, nationality, religion, age, etc. and to strategies to overcome them; it is useless to include women in the misogynist, racist and androcentric environments of tech companies without changing this culture.
  7. A broad, intersectional and non-androcentric approach to digital divides (exclusions) related to gender, race, class, nationality, religion, age, etc. and to strategies to overcome them

  8. No to misogyny, harassment, racism and the proliferation of all forms of violence against women; the development of defence strategies with fewer risks (digital harm reduction).
  9. Expanding the understanding of cybercrimes from a gender perspective, including the defence or incitement of femicide and transfemicide.
  10. Promotion of the commons on the internet, for widespread access to culture and knowledge, through free sharing (copyleft) and actions aimed at promoting and recognising collaborative and collective means of creation.
  11. The right to security and guarantee of privacy by default, and the right to anonymity and to be forgotten.
  12. Against unrestricted and indiscriminate monitoring and surveillance by the state and the private sector.
  13. The guarantee of decolonised freedom of expression, which does not exclusively benefit historically dominant groups.
  14. The guarantee of decolonised freedom of expression, which does not exclusively benefit historically dominant groups.

  15. Promotion of and government incentives for free/libre software and hardware, against technology “black boxes”.
  16. The rights of black, cis, trans, indigenous and minority women to participate in governance and policy making around the internet and logical and physical network infrastructure.
  17. Incentives for alternative and solidarity-based digital economies, which contribute to the commons, sustainability and collective empowerment.
  18. We nurture the utopian belief that another internet is possible: an anti-capitalist, autonomous internet that is not colonised by commerce, capital or the state; sustained by collaboration and managed with autonomy, based on a culture of sharing and open code. We call for the de-Google-isation and decolonisation of our digital lives.
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