With the proliferation of information and communication technologies such as the internet, email, social networking tools and mobile phones, defenders are using these in their advocacy, to meet, protest, communicate and interact with new speed and to great effect. But the internet and digital tools and spaces have also had a profound impact on the dimensions of threats and have broadened the kinds of surveillance and harassment to which WHRD’s can be subjected.
Technology is transforming activism, and the promotion and defence of human rights. We need to take account of this new landscape for our own protection and safety. This has been very evident in particular in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and beyond since January 2011.
The internet can represent an open door for many kinds of violations to the integrity of women’s human rights advocates if security measures are not adopted. Awareness of what these digital dangers mean to WHRD’s freedom of expression and association online and knowing how to communicate securely, are important in ensuring a holistic approach to security for WHRD’s. We now cannot exclude digital security from other forms of security.
Women defenders in particular face many unique threats and obstacles both offline and online. There are many reasons including the nature of patriarchal systems and socially constructed genderroles and norms. Technology-related violence against women in particular, is a frightening new reality.
Although many WHRD’s are denied access to or struggle to gain access to online spaces and digital tools, we need to ensure that digital security is central to all activism, so that defenders who use the internet and those that are gaining access to digital tools are able to secure themselves online and the tools they use to communicate.
List of organizations
The following list of organizations are involved in training, support and advice in relation to digital security, women’s rights and safety online and human rights on the internet.
- Front Line Defenders
- Tactical Technology Collective
- The Association for Progressive Communications
- Amnesty International
List of resources
The following list of resources can assist in organizations wanting to raise awareness around digital security and safety online.
- Be Safe - resources from Take Back the Tech
- Digital Security Kit for Human Rights Defenders
- Ono Robot
- Me & my shadow