The concept of CONSENT

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Session Description

There is no doubt that the discussions around the future of online privacy and rights are some of the most important for imagining our current society. What will the consequences be if a person cannot feel safe speaking or possessing digital material for fear that it will be made public or be intercepted? And who are the persons most at risk? Using intersectional feminist theory to illustrate the devastating consequence of an internet controlled by those already in power at the behest of those who have none, I attempt to introduce CONSENT as a core concept of online rights. My experience is that many people do not fully grasp the seriousness of an internet where the individual's rights and material are not secure. The words that online activists use can simply be too difficult to decipher, because the hypothetical situation where a person is violated is too abstract. Highlighting the meaning of consent gets the focus back where it belongs: on the violation it always is to be monitored or have material shared about you without your knowledge. Truly, this violation is serious and painful even though the material might be trivial. Having your consent violated is always violence. Speaking as a revenge porn victim and activist, I know this all too well. If we do not work towards securing fundamental rights for individual's online, the people at the margins of society are the first to be victimized. This is where intersectional feminism comes in. What we are seeing is that women and minorities are being disproportionately targeted by violence and hatred online. With organisations like Wikileaks profess there is no such thing as online violence, it is extremely important to stress that people who face structural discrimination on a large scale can certainly experience that. I would never hesitate in calling revenge porn online violence. We need to introduce the importance of embodiment and structural oppression into our discussion of online rights. We are missing a host of important points on democracy and freedom of speech if we do not acknowledge that some people are taking more heat than others, and are already being silenced from types of harassment and violations that are just online versions of the challenges faced by oppressed groups in real life. Consent also relates here, as we must protect the fact that: consenting to using the internet is not consenting to facing harassment. A life without harassment is a right, even if it is difficult to uphold. We must explore ways that sites can have more dynamic and swift reporting practices for things like hate speech and revenge porn, and we must question the moral obligation a site has to not profit off of their platform being used to destroy people's lives. This is a challenging discussion as it features key online issues like democracy, freedom of speech, and the right to share material swiftly and without censorship. But it is a discussion we simply must have - especially to protect groups in society already vulnerable, who are as of right now opting out of many key places online like twitter and reddit simply because of the hate speech that they face from being people of color, LGBTQ people, and women. It is not sustainable, and it is not democratic.

The concept of CONSENT
Presenter/s Emma Holten
Bio/s My name is Emma Holten and I am an activist on revenge porn and the rights of minorities and women online. In the fall of 2014 i published the article CONSENT along with 10 pictures highlighting the importance of individual's right to consent online ( The pictures gained success all over the world, and raised a discussion on women's position online and the devastating effects of revenge porn on a person's mental state and their basic human rights. Following that I have travelled all over the world to speak at tech conferences and in feminist forums on the importance of applying feminist thought to the debate on privacy. Here is my TEDx Talk from Vienna in may this year: Here is a debate I contributed to at the Cannes Lions festival this summer: I am currently a student at the University of Copenhagen, doing a masters in Modern Culture. I do talks to young people all over Denmark and Sweden about the importance of online rights to the future, and how they can contribute to the fight.
Language English

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