The following is adapted from remarks given by Amanda Manyame from Equality Now, an international human rights organization and co-founder of the Alliance for Universal Digital Rights (AUDRi) at the Global Digital Compact Deep Dive on Data Protection on April 24, 2023.
We need a right to privacy suited to protect women, girls, and other discriminated-against groups and marginalized people from new forms of abuse, which are rooted in the patriarchal structures that fuel gender-based violence and will remain if unaddressed.
The right to privacy in the digital realm is also about safety.
At its core, the right to privacy protects individuals from intrusion into their own or their family’s personal life by third parties, creating an expectation of privacy. That expectation of privacy can protect users online from sexual exploitation and abuse, such as having their personal and sexual information shared and distributed without their consent. The internet is rife with bullying and harassment, and the online exploitation and abuse of women, girls, and people has reached unprecedented global proportions. The lack of recognition and enforceability of the digital right to privacy results in women, girls, and other discriminated-against groups and marginalized people lacking protection from – and redress for – serious harm to their dignity, bodily integrity, and autonomy.
The link between privacy and online-gender-based violence is clear
In the context of the Global Digital Compact, we recommend the following:
- Particular attention should be afforded to the structural issue of intimate privacy violations against women, girls, and other discriminated-against groups and marginalized people.
- Digital service providers should adopt policies and practices reflecting the user’s right to protection from harm and the right to dignity and privacy. The practices should include ensuring harmful content is identified and removed before it is posted on their platforms.
- Governments should safeguard citizens from online abuse, misogyny, and hate crimes, including by conducting swift, cross-jurisdictional investigations and upholding the right of victims to obtain appropriate and holistic remedies.
To learn more, explore our Digital Principles.