DRIF Report: LBGT Rights in the Digital Space

“The physical and digital worlds are increasingly intertwined when it comes to safety. Prejudices that manifest online can lead to physical harm, and marginalized communities, particularly LGBT people, are increasingly prone to security threats.”

It is therefore necessary that the LGBT community and civil society in general becomes aware of the intersection of human rights and technology. Online surveillance and censorship impact everyone’s rights, and particularly those of already marginalised groups such as LGBT people. The use of new technologies usually reinforces existing societal biases, making those communities particularly prone to discrimination and security threats.

The main points discussed included the centralisation of electronic communications services around a few platforms creating new barriers for LGBT people to exercising their digital rights. Speakers also discussed powerful platforms’ practices result in many LGBT accounts, posts and themed ads being taken down on, while homophobic, transphobic and sexist content often remains untouched.

Additionally, the rising trend of applying strict real-name policies online affecting transgender people was brought up. Besides, panelists mentioned the use of social media platforms by governmental authorities to track down and persecute LGBT people in countries where there is no hate crime legislation. The session equally touched upon the exposure to extortion by cybercriminals who could purchase leaked credentials to obtain intimate personal details and/or photos of LGBT individuals.

Given that threat actors will continue to target marginalized individuals and communities, the webinar sought to empower members of civil society as well as the LGBT community to take their rights to privacy and security into their own hands wherever possible by explaining means and way to:

>Push companies to engage with affected communities in order to develop tools that are privacy friendly and inclusive-by-design.
>Incentivise profit-driven companies to change their services according to specific needs while maintaining them free and accessible for all.
>Encourage users to become familiar with apps’ privacy policies (data retention periods, third party data sharing) before providing personal information
>Promote the use of virtual private network to increase security and to evade state supported surveillance.
>Avoid accidental outing through encryption, data security and personal information protection.

DRIF REPORT - LGBT Rights in Digital Space

Recommendations from Paradigm Initiatives DRIF FORUM 2021 ‘LGBT Rights in the digital space’ event hosted by Digital Grassroots. The event was moderated by Nandini Tanya Lallmon. Panelists: Bakang Ndaba, Dzoe Ahmad, Eman Borg, Eppnoggia Mutetwa, and Tushar Kanti Baidya.