Tech-related gender violence x Freedom of Expression

11 November 2015 - A Workshop on Other in João Pessoa, Brazil


Technology-related Violence Against Women are acts of gender-based violence either committed or aggravated by the use of ICTs.

While there is a growing recognition of the importance of integrating VAW discussions on Internet governance stances, a difficulty is that of dealing with the sometimes seemingly contradictory human rights of freedom of expression and those related to gender protection and emancipation. The issue expresses itself oftentimes in the subject of intermediary liability in terms of third party contents. To use Brazil as an example: in the recently approved Marco Civil da Internet (Internet’s Civil Framework), an exception in the general intermediary liability limitation provides that cases involving unsolicited sexual material should be dealt with speedily. Meanwhile, the Federal Department of Human Rights announced to be monitoring social networks for better tackling with hate speech (gender-based included).

Calls for safer and more open online spaces for women oftentimes raise concerns on the side of Freedom of Expression and Internet Rights community, and finding a common ground to protect these different sets of human rights can be challenging, and involve the polemic subjects of anonymity, monitoring and platforms’ incentives. Making use of research material gathered by APC, InternetLab, Gig@ and UNESCO about tech-based VAW and the FoE, our contribution aims to understand whether and to what extent there is a contradiction between the defense of women rights and that of FoE, and whether moving forward on this is possible. The objective is to frame the subject and promote future conversations.

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