You sent sexy pictures to your partner and suddenly they’re all over the internet. Strangers are creeping on you, your family shames you, your friends reject you and your boss fires you. But you’re an adult, and it was a simple consensual act you both enjoyed. Is digital abstinence the only way to keep your sexual images from being broadcast against your will?
Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees our right to privacy. The state has a duty to protect and recognise our right to privacy, and this extends to all aspects of our lives, including the digital realm. But governments increasingly insist that we must trade privacy for safety. They say that in order to keep us safe, they must monitor what we do, who we connect with, what we say and so on. They claim to protect our safety rather than our privacy, as though the two are mutually exclusive.
There are currently 200 million more men than women who have access to the internet. While some women simply have no access to digital devices, others are discouraged by online experiences. A UN report shows that reasons for women’s lack of access include cyber harassment and discrepancies between the ways men and women are represented in popular culture.
Who knows your passwords? Has anyone ever asked you for them? A partner or a friend? How did that request make you feel? Protective, uncomfortable or just fine? What method do you use to share your passwords? Twitter DM? Is it secure?