Essays on Technology and Culture

The EFF on Online Harassment

Online harassment is a digital rights issue. At its worst, it causes real and lasting harms to its targets, a fact that must be central to any discussion of harassment. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to craft laws or policies that will address those harms without inviting government or corporate censorship and invasions of privacy—including the privacy and free speech of targets of harassment. But, as we discuss below, there are ways to craft effective responses, rooted in the core ideals upon which the Internet was built, to protect the targets of harassment and their rights.

— Nadya Kayyali and Danny O’Brien – “Facing the Challenge of Online Harassment”

Important reading for those of you who still don’t see online harassment as a problem. What good is free speech when speaking up puts your safety at risk? I trust the EFF to find solutions that maximize everyone’s freedoms. I’m particularly a fan of counter-speech. Silence in the face of abuse is consent to it continuing.