Women’s safety campaigners launch petition to bolster Online Safety Bill

1 December 2021, 00:04

Laptop stock
Laptop stock. Picture: PA

The End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) and anti-online abuse charity Glitch have called on the Government to better protect women and girls.

A petition urging the Government to explicitly include women and girls in the Online Safety Bill has been launched by safety campaigners.

The End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) and anti-online abuse charity Glitch has called for the draft Bill to be adapted to name and recognise the ways online abuse disproportionately affects women and girls.

It cites a range of reports on the issue which have highlighted that women are 27 times more likely than men to be harassed online, while one in five women experience online harassment or abuse and that black women are 84% more likely to receive abuse online than white women.

The petition, which has been published on change.org, has called on the Bill to specifically identify the online abuse of women and girls – including image-based sexual abuse, cyberflashing, deepfakes and other behaviours – and address them.

“This new law is meant to make tech companies step up and act,” EVAW director Andrea Simon said.

“But if the law doesn’t name the problem, then how will tech companies be made to fix it?

“This is a once in a generation opportunity to allow women to be free and safe from abuse in online spaces, and it cannot be wasted. This law must include women and girls within it.”

The Online Safety Bill, which is expected to force the biggest technology firms to abide by a duty of care to users, is currently being scrutinised by MPs and peers.

“Women and girls need to feel free to not only survive in online spaces but also thrive,” Glitch founder and chief executive Seyi Akiwowo said.

“I think it is great that we have a draft law that is looking at regulating tech companies to improve online safety, but there is no mention of women nor gender at all.

“This law must address how women are facing gender disinformation and are being targeted online.”

By Press Association

More Technology News

See more More Technology News

Houses of Parliament

Online porn normalises behaviours not appropriate for wooing a woman, warns peer

A screenshot from Joe Danger

Developer brings back iPhone game after request from parent of child with autism

A young girl uses the TikTok app on a smartphone

TikTok adds new features to educate users on the Holocaust and antisemitism

The Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot

Robot performs keyhole surgery on pig without human help for first time

A teenager holding a controller to play the video game Forza Motorsport 5 on a Microsoft Xbox One console

Xbox to offer certain Live Gold and Game Pass subscribers refunds

Internet Browsing Stock

Government forms expert council to promote smoother data transfers and trade

Child using a laptop

Illegal and harmful content could evade new online safety laws, MPs warn

An Amazon Echo smart speaker

Alexa virtual assistant returns after service outage

Alexa device

Amazon’s Alexa down for users in UK

There have been concerns about 5G interference with plane equipment, leading to flights being cancelled

Flights to US grounded as fears grow over 5G interference with aircraft equipment

Cyber attacks have doubled in past year, GCHQ director warns

New laws proposed to boost UK business cyber security

A British Airways plane

British Airways cancels US flights over 5G safety fears

A woman using a laptop

Royal Society: Content removal alone will not halt internet misinformation

Instagram and TikTok logos

Social media platforms ‘must refund victims’ who have been defrauded

Artist Kaws

AR exhibition to explore ‘parallel realities’ via Fortnite collaboration

LabVPN is no longer available for use after an international law enforcement operation shut it down

Encryption service ‘linked to cyber attacks’ taken down in international sting