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In queer feminist debates, the principle of consent has been closely related to bodily and psychic integrity. That is because, even though it has different meanings, interpretations and cultural implications, informed and active consent, when expressed in situations of power equality, can be seen by some as one of the building blocks to ensure the rights to self determination, autonomy and freedom.
Nevertheless, just as patriarchy tends to push down the standard of consent related to our bodies, minimizing it to solely non-active resistance and turning it into an excuse to legitimate violence; in digital environment, a low standard of unqualified consent is being pushed by tech companies as an excuse to make citizens give away several of their rights. Or, just as bad, some consumers of digital technologies simply ignore such concept and engage on practices of non-consensual dissemination of images, videos or thoughts, using technology to promote gender violence and abuses to our rights to privacy and freedom of expression, among others.
This research departs from the premise that we can learn from feminist theories and struggles to interpret consent towards building a more meaningful and collective approach to consent when we think about data protection. Are there situations in our digital interactions where stronger standards or collective views of consent are needed or is this principle simply being used to legitimate abuses? From bodies to screens, we aim to expose practical examples that stress the value and severe limitations of using an individualistic approach to consent as sole requirement for several interactions with our data bodies, as well as craft some possible solutions.
This publication was developed by Coding Rights with support from Privacy International through the project "Protecting Privacy in the Global South", funded by the International Development Research Centre, with support from the Ford Foundation and Privacy International.