Public/Private: Define lines to Take Back the Tech!

The post is from Sara Baker, coordinator for the Take Back the Tech! campaign. One of the key groups behind the initiative is the Association of Progressive Communications which works closely with BRIDGE.

Take Back The Tech! is a collaborative campaign that takes place during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence (25 November – 10 December). It is a call to everyone, especially women and girls, to take control of technology to end violence against women. On each of the 16 days, an action will be announced that explores the creative and strategic use of ICTs in connection to an issue related to violence against women.

This year’s campaign focuses on public and private. What’s the line between private and public? Is it the home? The body? Is it about thoughts, relationships or spaces? What about the digital spaces which increasingly take up room in our lives?

In an age of social media and mass surveillance, privacy is increasingly being seen as an exception rather than a right. We are told that privacy is no longer important or necessary, and to be safe, productive or effective, we have to submit information about who we are, what we do and who we spend time with to those who are meant to protect us.

However, privacy is critical for the protection of our rights to safety, autonomy and bodily integrity. The internet and its capacity for anonymity has enabled women who face violence to seek information and support with less fear of monitoring. Anonymity online has also helped people who face discrimination on the basis of their sexuality or gender identity to find community and organise for change in relative safety.

Privacy is especially important when increasing access to online spaces have complicated our ideas of what is public and what is private. For example, a photograph taken between two people in private can become an act of violence when distributed into other spaces without express consent.

Today's action:
Day 3 – 27 November
When it comes to social media, how private is private and how public is public? What part of your audience is invisible? In day three of the campaign, Take Back the Tech! calls you to complicate the idea of social media and to spark a conversation on what these blurred lines mean for all of us.

The right to privacy is a fundamental human right. Claim it. Defend it. Define your lines between what’s public and private. Take Back the Tech!

For more ways to get involved, visit the Take Back The Tech! website, email or follow @takebackthetech and #takebackthetech on Twitter.