Love in the time of Internet


Why do Internet Rights Matter?

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Why do Internet Rights matter?

The internet is an important space for the expression, construction and subversion of emerging and hegemonic discourses. It is a critical avenue for the articulation and negotiation of issues that have been prohibited, restricted or to some extent regulated in the “offline” public life, including issues of sexual pleasure.

Yet, different actors -- including governments, information and communication technologies (ICT) corporations and conservative groups -- are advocating for and implementing regulation of internet content related to sexuality. In this debate, the internet is framed as an unruly space fraught with imminent and unknown dangers. The ‘borderless’ information-landscape is presented as a threat to safety and security, one that needs to be monitored and controlled. The individual is located as having limited capacity to restrain the potential damage, with its pervasive risks augmented by a mystifying technical language.

Several groups – notably women and children – are constructed as particularly vulnerable to exploitation and risk, thus underscoring the need for measures to protect them from such threat. As one consequence, the power to regulate information flows and access to content is claimed by social – and presumably benevolent institutions – whether governmental, inter-governmental, the private sector or other organised bodies – rather than left to the choice of or self-regulation by the affected user.

Many decision-makers remain closed to the potentials and benefits of self-regulation and informed internet use as credible avenues of action and policy choices, while over-emphasizing the risks the internet can bring to both (vulnerable) individuals and to the country.

As such, little balance is afforded to discussions on the important role of the internet for people to access information and exercise their rights to expression and communication.

Specifically, it ignores how the governance of the internet may affect and impact upon negotiation of (social) boundaries, self-definition, community building, knowledge-sharing and well as the rights of users with diverse sexualities, sexual health practices and sexual health information needs to – amongst others – sexual expression and access to relevant information.

Flipping the Script

EROTICS is a network of activists and researchers working on the intersections of sexuality and the internet.

Join EROTICS & Take Back the Tech! to defend an internet where we can explore our desires, fall in love, and express our sexualities freely without discrimination or threats to our safety.

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About the Contributor 

EROTICS is a network of activists and researchers working on the intersections of sexuality and the internet, coordinated by APC. This poster was originally published as part of the EROTICS' infographics series. Find out more here: