May 17 marks two important causes:  The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO)  and World Internet Day.

How do they connect?

In December 2011, Facebook removed information on safe abortion posted by Director of – a well-known abortion rights organisation (

Sexual rights activists in Iran cite access to the internet as a main factor for positive impact in their advocacy – they fear this will be severely curtailed due to government plans to block web access in 2012 (

Police raided a sex workers rights organisation in Uganda in May 2012, demanding access to passwords, seized computer equipment (

For sections of society who have little access to media because of the discrimination they face due to their sexuality or gender identity, the internet has become an especially important space in the struggle for their rights.

However, the openness and enabling potential of the internet is narrowed and threatened by restrictive legislation that gives governments expansive powers to curb dissent and to monitor online activities and communication. Restrictions on internet freedom are justified in the name of protecting national security, public morality and the free market economy.

Private companies like internet service providers, social networking platforms and search engines are playing a larger role as gatekeepers to what we can or cannot do, see and express online.

Women and girls face the additional challenge of cultural norms that restrict their physical and social mobility, and the persistent issue of discrimination and violence increasingly evident online, limiting their ability to access and use the internet freely and equally.

What does internet freedom mean to you?

Join us and play Twitter tag to connect your rights on May 17th. Help activists in your communities - geographically or issue-based - to connect with other activists who might know about IDAHO or internet rights but might not see them as interconnected or even know each other.  Broaden your community of activist friends on Twitter at the same time.

Play tag

  • Find 5 to 10 new people on Twitter
    • Do a geographical search on Twitter to find activists near you, using simple location operators:     near:Manila within:15mi
    • Go to the advanced search options of Twitter to fine-tune a subject search. 
  • Now it's time to play "Tag". You are "IT".
    • Invite the activists you've found  to join you in a conversation connecting rights:
      •     How do you use the internet in the exercise of your rights?
      •     What does internet freedom mean to you?
      •     Share links (including to this action), ideas and introduce them to other amazing activists like themselves.
      •     Invite them to take a few minutes and be "IT", too, and find new activists online.
  • Don't forget to tag your tweets with #takebackthetech.  Other useful tags could be #IDAHO, #netfreedom, #internetrights, #LGBTQ

As different actors are increasingly playing a role in determining the limits to internet freedom, claim your stake in the space. Take back the tech!