Technology-related violence “encompasses acts of gender-based violence that are committed, abetted or aggravated, in part or fully, by the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as phones, the internet, social media platforms, and email.” – Association for Progressive Communications (APC). Technology-related violence is part of the same continuum as all other gender-based violence.
Below we share 13 ways of technology-related violence manifests (Source: Luchadoras MX) as well as national and international laws that address this kind of violence.
Unauthorised attacks to gain access to a person’s accounts or devices. These can imply unauthorised information gathering and/or blocking access to a person’s account.
The constant monitoring of a person’s activities, everyday life, or information (be it public or private).
Information gathering or theft that can imply a loss of control over such information, and any unauthorised attempt at modifying it.
Speech and content (verbal or written, in images, etc.) with a violent, sexually aggressive or threatening tone that express an intention to harm a person, their family or friends, or their belongings.
Forcing a person to act according to another persons’ will, through threats and intimidation regarding something of value (e.g. personal information, intimate images, etc.)
The use or forgery of someone’s identity without their consent.
The unauthorised sharing or publication of any kind of information, data or private details regarding a person.
Speech reflecting cultural models that assign women and gender-non-conforming bodies a secondary, sexualised or strictly reproductive role. Such speech may or may not incite violence.
Defamation, smearing and/or undermining of the credibility, professional career, work or public image of a person, group or initiative, through the spreading of false, manipulated or off-topic information.
Repeated and unsolicited acts against a person that are perceived as intrusive, disturbing or threatening. These acts may or may not be sexualised.
The act of exercising power over someone based on the sexual exploitation of their pictures and/or body against their will, where technology is a fundamental means.
Deliberate tactics and actions aimed at putting a person’s or group’s communication or information channels out of circulation.
Contempt or lack of interest, acknowledgment or action by actors (authorities, internet intermediaries, institutions, communities) who have the possibility of regulating, resolving, and/or penalising technology-related assaults
Sri Lanka does not have a specific law that directly addresses technology-related violence but there are sections of the Penal Code can be used to this end, as well as some other laws.
Section 345 on sexual harassment
Section 372 on extortion
Section 483 on criminal intimidation
Section 388 on criminal breach of trust
Section 399 on cheating by personation
Section 3 on securing unauthorised access to a computer an offence
Section 7 on dealing with data
Obscene Publications (Amendment) Act (No. 22 of 1983)
The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, No. 34 of 2005
CEDAW General Recommendation No. 35 on gender-based violence against women recognises that gender-based violence against women includes violence that occurs in “technology-mediated environments, such as contemporary forms of violence occurring in the Internet and digital spaces”
Article 72 of CEDAW General Recommendation No. 36 (2017) on the right of girls and women to education says countries must “enact legislation that defines and penalises ICT-based and online harassment of women and girls in all its forms.”
Sri Lanka has ratified CEDAW and has a legal obligation to interpret, amend or introduce laws nationally to fully implement the convention.
Article 3 of the ICCPR reinforces “the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights” set forth in the covenant and Article 19 states that “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice” and sets forth limitations of this right.
Goal 5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Goal 16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels