Critical Voices, Visions and Vectors for Internet Governance
The Internet has changed our world. But has it also irritated hierarchical power structures and given a meaningful voice to all? Are offline differentials in terms of access to individual and societal progress, and their narrations, challenged by the Internet – or replicated and technologically perpetuated? Internet governance, as broad and multistakeholder-driven as it has become, is still not broad enough, not open enough and not flexible enough to encompass all voices.
This collection edited by Katharina Mosene and Matthias C. Kettemann provides space for some of them. In the run-up to the 14th Internet Governance Forum in November 2019 in Berlin, the editors have developed a catalog of 30 visions for an emancipatory Internet without discrimination.
by Center for Internet and Human Rights
by Baldeep Grewal, IGF Dynamic Coalition on gender and internet governance
by Christina Dinar & Katharina Mosene & Francesca Schmidt, Netzforma*
Digitization affects everyone, but not everyone benefits equally.
From a feminist perspective, we therefore call for equal access to the Internet and digital content, protection against online violence and the creation of non-discriminatory spaces. We demand the right to personal data, to privacy, data security and data protection. We call for and promote a critical digital public sphere and a sustainable copyright-policy.
We need to fight Digital Violence. Digital violence is a form of discrimination that aims at excluding people through sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic or other inhuman hate speech. It is the violent continuation of discrimination. Digital violence undermines freedom of expression and poses a threat to democracy. It includes identity theft, rumours and false allegations, intimidation/pressing, insult, threat, stalking, defamation/ obeyance, doxing, swatting and threats of rape. Often feminist positions are tackled by digital violence, this is what we call “silencing”. There are well-organized communities built upon anti-feminism in the area of gaming, in the context of Reddit’s nerd supremacy, in right-wing extremist to right-wing populist milieus, and even in Incel forums.
We need to fight unauthorized mass surveillance. We’re being watched every step of the way. Whether we travel by public transport, withdraw money, shop online or ask search engines. We are observed by various actors: the state, private security service providers, multinational corporations and not least ourselves. In public spaces, even our mere presence is enough to consent to video camera surveillance. Surveillance in public spaces comes with the promise of greater security and often feminist demands for the prevention of violence against women in public spaces are used as legitimation. But greater security always means greater control. Those groups who are most affected by this are marginalized groups. For LGBTQI*, surveillance carries a much higher risk.
We need to develop feminist AI. Autonomous driving, household robotics and language assistants* – the buzzword AI nearly pops up everywhere. One thing is clear: technology in general and algorithmic processes in particular are not conceivable without reference to power and domination. It is precisely for this reason that these systems must be viewed critically, evaluated and redeveloped against the background of feminist perspectives and values. The basic mathematical formula of the algorithms must therefore be as follows: If AI, then feminist. Algorithms or artificial intelligence can enable or help if, for example, they detect tumours on X-ray images with much greater accuracy and much faster than would be possible for humans. But artificial intelligence can also restrict or discriminate against people if, for example, AI decides whether a person is creditworthy or gets health insurance. Neither the data basis nor the technologies are neutral. Discriminatory stereotypes, which have already manifested themselves in the world and thus in the data, are (unconsciously) transferred into the code. Lacking transparency then leads to a consolidation and intensification of discrimination.
by Nana Kesewaa Dankwa, University of Kassel
Dealing with the cause, rather than trying to clear up afterwards: changing men’s attitudes to women and technology
by Tim Unwin, Chairholder, UNESCO Chair in ICT4D
by Shmyla Khan, Digital Rights Foundation
Tatiana Bazzichelli, Disruption Network Lab
by Elisabeth Schauermann, German Informatics Society
by Raul Aguayo-Krauthausen, Sozialhelden
by Kathrin Ganz & Kathy Meßmer & Kelda Niemeyer, Otherwise Network e.V.
by Kedolwa Waziri, Nubian community
by Claude Draude, University of Kassel
by Chloé Berthélémy, European Digital Rights Movement
by Dia Kayyali, WITNESS
by Josef Barla, Goethe University Frankfurt & Christoph Hubatschke, University of Vienna
by Nicole Shephard
by Katrin Fritsch & Diana Kozachek & Helene von Schwichow, MOTIF Institute for Digital Culture
by Matthias C. Kettemann, Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI) and Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG)
by Caroline Sinders
Challenges to a safer and more inclusive Internet to children and teens: should we rely so much on consent and informed decisions?
by Kelli Angelini & Marina Feferbaum & Guilherme Klafke & Stephane Hilda Barbosa Lima & Tatiane Guimarães, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo
by Ricarda Drüeke, University of Salzburg
by Uffa Modey, Coordinator of the Nigeria Youth IGF
Restriction of Rights or Right of Restriction? An Inclusive Internet Depends on Proactive, Protective Legislation
by Nakeema Stefflbauer, FrauenLoop.org
by Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
- Access and technology usage. A feminist internet starts with enabling more women and people of diverse genders and sexualities to enjoy universal, acceptable, affordable, open, meaningful and equal access to the internet, and have the right to create, design, adapt and critically and sustainably use ICTs.
- Internet as a political space. The internet is a transformative political space. A feminist internet facilitates new forms of citizenship that enable individuals to claim, construct and express selves, genders, and sexualities.
- Governance and the economy. A feminist internet also implies challenging the patriarchal spaces and processes that control its governance. The capitalist logic that drives technology towards further privatisation, profit, and corporate control should also be interrogated. We should work towards alternative forms of economic power grounded in principles of cooperation, solidarity, commons, environmental sustainability, and openness.
- Freedom of expression, agency, and consent. We defend the right to sexual expression as a freedom of expression issue of no less importance than political or religious expression. We support reclaiming and creating alternative erotic content that resists the mainstream patriarchal gaze and locates women and queer persons’ desires at the center.
- Privacy, data, anonymity, and memory. We support the right to privacy and to full control over our personal data, information and personal history and memory on the internet. We also defend the right to be anonymous and reject all claims to restrict anonymity online.
- Children and youth. The voices and experiences of young people must be included in the decisions about safety and security online, and the promotion of their safety, privacy, and access to information.
- Online gender-based violence. Policymakers and the private sector need to address online gender-based violence (GBV) against women and people of diverse genders and sexualities. Individual internet users also have a role to play, by calling out and not spreading online gender-based violence. The attacks, threats, intimidation and policing experienced are real, harmful and alarming, and are part of the broader issue of GBV. Realizing a feminist internet implies ending this.
by Katharina Mosene, Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI), Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society and netzforma* e.V.
by Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard University
by Jillian York, Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Nnenna Nwakanma, World Wide Web Foundation
by Marietje Schaake, Stanford University
In order to find the sources and literature used for the individual statements, please visit the publication via the button below.
This post represents the view of the author and does not necessarily represent the view of the institute itself. For more information about the topics of these articles and associated research projects, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Explore Research issue in focus
Sign up for HIIG's Monthly Digest
and receive our latest blog articles.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the data breach notification obligation in the GDPR given its objectives?
A lot has happened since the founding of our research group on public interest-oriented AI, in science, society and politics. We provide an insight.