She The People TV organised its second edition of the Online Safety Summit on 28th August, in Delhi, at the India Habitat Centre. It sets out a clear agenda, “The #SafetySummit is a collective conversation on current issues that can help us understand our ever changing digital environment. It is an effort, that will build on challenges, solutions, shared issues to reflect on the future that’s ahead of us.”
Increasingly more and more people, and more women, are getting online. Unfortunately, a lot of the concerns that we see offline, especially when it comes to women’s safety, are seen online – this event brought together an exciting set of stakeholders to deliberate and find solutions and start conversations around key issues pertaining to the future of online safety.
The event consisted of four panels that explored sub-issues of online safety, an AMA with Gurmehar Kaur, and a #DigitalHifazat workshop with Japleen Pasricha from Feminism in India.
The panels spoke on a range of concerns. They looked at: fake news and who should be bearing responsibility for it, the issue of gendered abuse online towards women, using technology for good, and measures towards law enforcement online.
Mr. Rahul Srivastava of the Uttar Pradesh Police shared a unique pyramid structure of WhatsApp groups (online) and offline, across police stations in UP, involving 3,50,000 digital volunteers across the State, that is being used to tackle the epidemic fake news.
Mahima Kaul of Twitter spoke of the efforts companies like Twitter are taking to build online communities that are safe and accessible. She shared details of campaigns and over 30 product and policy changes that Twitter has undertaken recently to ensure users have a safe online experience. Nazia Erum, author of the critically acclaimed book, Mothering a Muslim, also spoke of the need to disengage and ‘mute’ trolling to ensure personal mental health.
During Panel 3: Using Tech to Solve for Society, panelists stressed on the need for community support and tech and data based innovations to address the issue of online safety. Gurmehar Kaur, in her AMA session, also brought out the need for effective and speedy resolution of cyber crime related complaints.
The #DigitalHifazat workshop by Japleen Pasricha, Feminism in India, was an interesting way for participants to understand simple tools that can make their online experience safer without restricting the manner in which they use the internet.
The audience had a varied range of experiences, from students, journalists, activists, to corporate representatives: it added a unique flavour to the direction of the conversations, merging ideas across different approaches to start a conversation that looks at safety more holistically while ensuring solutions are localised. The USP of the Online Safety Summit was its forward looking and solution oriented approach to key concerns of an increasingly digital world.
Vandita Morarka is the Founder CEO of One Future Collective and a consultant with SheThePeople.TV. She tweets @vanditamorarka
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