Agency

Background

The Agency cluster of principles includes Memory, Consent, Children, Anonymity, Privacy and data and Violence.

 

We have the right to exercise and retain control over our personal history and memory on the internet. This includes being able to access all our personal data and information online, and to be able to exercise control over this data, including knowing who has access to it and under what conditions, and the ability to delete it forever.

We call for the inclusion of the voices and experiences of young people in the decisions made about safety and security online and promote their safety, privacy, and access to information. We recognise children’s right to healthy emotional and sexual development, which includes the right to privacy and access to positive information about sex, gender and sexuality at critical times in their lives.

We defend the right to be anonymous and reject all claims to restrict anonymity online. Anonymity enables our freedom of expression online, particularly when it comes to breaking taboos of sexuality and heteronormativity, experimenting with gender identity, and enabling safety for women and queer persons affected by discrimination.

We support the right to privacy and to full control over personal data and information online at all levels. We reject practices by states and private companies to use data for profit and to manipulate behaviour online. Surveillance is the historical tool of patriarchy, used to control and restrict women’s bodies, speech and activism. We pay equal attention to surveillance practices by individuals, the private sector, the state and non-state actors.

We call on all internet stakeholders, including internet users, policy makers and the private sector, to address the issue of online harassment and technology-related violence. The attacks, threats, intimidation and policing experienced by women and queers are real, harmful and alarming, and are part of the broader issue of gender-based violence. It is our collective responsibility to address and end this.

Chido Musodza is one of nine digital security trainers currently with Digital Society of Zimbabwe (DSZ). Her specialty is in the translation of open source applications from English to Shona, one of Zimbabwe’s local languages. Chido is also a Programme Officer with Radio Voice of the People, a national radio station that broadcasts via satellite; and podcasts, and distributes information via website and social media. She was one of the feminists who were part of the Harare City Conversation held by Association of Progressive Communications in Harare earlier this year.

From social science to sci-fi movies, a society controlled by algorithmic intelligence has been presented as an inevitability of our shared human condition. This is not without reason. All around us, we see evidence of an explosive growth in the volume, velocity and variety of data production. The affective and cognitive labour of our social interactions online produces invaluable information for capitalism today.

Caroline Tagny interviewed Rohini Lakshané, who used to work with EROTICS India, and Sheena Magenya, from the Coalition of African Lesbians during the Global meeting on gender, sexuality and the internet in April 2014 to ask them how they understand pornography from their respective contexts, and how do they engage their activism with the intersection between sexual rights and internet rights.

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