Strategic use of the internet
Tom MacMaster’s masquerading as blogger activist “Gay Girl in Damascus” was harmful, say APC in a statement, and endangers the right to use the internet anonymously.
The recent revelation that the Syrian blogger activist “Gay Girl in Damascus” was actually “Straight American Man in Scotland” Tom MacMaster sent ripples through international media circles and left deep scars in the LGBTI community.
But why is this hoax so potentially harmful?
It comes down to identity and rights.
The US State Department has been practically throwing money at activists and entrepreneurs in an effort to build independent internet networks for citizens of repressive regimes. This comes as part of a wider US effort to help internet users, particularly human rights activists, evade government censorship and surveillance.
Efforts to mitigate violence against women online can backfire explains a report presented at the UN Human Rights Council. APC covered women’s issues and the internet at the HRC in a special edition of the policy and gender bulletin GenderIT.org.
Major international decisions are being made about the internet in the coming weeks – decisions that could affect the internet as we know it forever. This week the United Nations Human Rights Council will receive its first ever official report on freedom of expression online – and APC is helping deliver the message to the UN in Geneva.
After attending APC WNSP’s Feminist Tech Exchange in Islamabad, 24 year old lawyer and activist Sana Masood attended the she never imagined it would lead her to be a young reporter for the International Committee of the Red Cross. View her new digital story Pakistan: Youth in armed violence. Photo © ICRC / Gassmann Thierry
Governments surveillance and filtration on the internet is increasing.