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Warning The Police Will Not Protect Your Online Rights. What Are Your rights? Listen to This Important Podcast Now.

Sarah From explains how to protect your rights online including from abusive former partners.

Tony skinner  00:01

Hi, and welcome to the podcast channel with And today we have Sarah from Just Sociale I tried to pronounce it in the French Way, because that’s my favorite. I’m doing things. And how are you, Sarah?


Sarah  00:23

I’m, very, very well. And I’m delighted to join you. Thank you. 


Tony skinner  00:29

Excellent. And just before we came on, we were talking about kombucha and I have tried the real kombucha. And it is gross. But you’re lucky you’ve got the nice pineapple flavor kombucha.


Sarah  00:43

Yeah, I think he went hardcore too soon.


Tony skinner  00:47

Well, it wasn’t my idea. First, let me try this. Oh, no, anyway, I’m a hardcore kinda guy.


Sarah  00:59

Well, it’s your human right not to drink kombucha.


Tony skinner  01:04

Thank you for saying that. That’s awesome. Now talking about human rights and the need for human rights both online and offline. Before we get to that I wasn’t interested is what inspired you to start considering about online human rights.


Sarah  01:21

So I guess, I’ve always been someone who’s been passionate about justice and fairness. And I’ve worked in a not for profit sector for over five or six years now in different senior communications roles in Australia. And then I decided to do my master’s of international relations, majoring in human rights. And so because I’ve always been passionate about human rights, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to go down that path. But I was awarded a scholarship to go and study finished my masters in Paris at seals Po, which, to give you an idea of how intense the course was. It’s the past three French presidents have done my calls.

And then before him the other two. So um, I was also whilst I was studying in Paris, really interested in the doing topics around Internet governance. And because I’ve always grown up using the internet, from a very early stage in my career, being a media expert and consultant. I was just, I’ve also always been quite digitally savvy, and very curious about how people use the online realm. Because I’ve always been interested in current affairs as well. And human rights. I have also often thought about how social media and the internet is sort of having, what kind of impact it’s having on society, whether it’s, you know, what impact it’s having on democracy. And so academically, professionally, I sort of was starting to converge in this direction.

But I was also inspired to launch just social because I have my own online human rights violated by a former ex partner who was I was in a domestically violent relationship with and he not only was abusive, verbally, physically and emotionally, but I caught him logging on to my computer without my permission. And he was hacking into my email and social media accounts. And after I told him to leave and took out an IVO I was still not aware that what he done was a breach of the law, you can’t actually log into someone’s technology device without their permission. You can’t log into someone’s online accounts without that permission.

So I mean, realizing that and also the fact that the law enforcement hadn’t brought that to my attention, that it had been embraced. It all kind of converged. And I was sitting in my tiny Parisian apartment at the beginning of this year going on. I think there’s a gap here. I really feel like not enough people understand that the online human rights are the same as the offline human rights. And it’s not just a concept that I’ve come up with. It’s actually this declared in 2012 by the UNHCR. The Special Rapporteur around, the internet and online rights made the declaration that then it was decided by the human Human Rights Council that online human rights are no different to off on human rights in very extreme instances of hate speech, which can be more regulated online. So, yeah, I found it really curious that I wasn’t aware of my rights. And the more that I started talking to other people, I realized that there was a real gap in Australia.

And I think that it’s becoming more and more prevalent that people are starting to really question what’s going on what you know, I mean, everyone’s talking about the social dilemma at the moment, and people are starting to get concerned. After social, we’re actually here. We don’t want to blame the social media messenger or the internet messenger. We’re not about that. We want to promote collective action with all people with an interest in intimate government so that we can advocate for more progressive policies, and more digital good digital citizenship so that people know how to behave responsibly online, to prevent online harm from occurring in the first place.


Tony skinner  06:30

Yeah, I think you’re right. Most of us aren’t aware that we have the same rights online as we do offline. And really, what channels to take to protect. You’ve got a lot of noise in the background.


Sarah  06:46

Okay, let me just shut the door hang on.


Tony skinner  06:52



Sarah  07:03

Hi, sorry. You said any better?


Tony skinner  07:06

Yeah. Okay. We’ll see how we go. That should be okay. Oh, and there we go. In a few seconds of silence. I now know where to edit. That’s perfect. Yeah, so we don’t know. Our rights online, as well as we need to, we certainly need someone like you to help us to become aware of it.


Sarah  07:24

Yeah, I think. I mean, what we do have on our website at the moment is a page called your rights where we answer some, we have some FAQs. And we also provide links relating to things like what kind of language is acceptable online? What kind of imagery is considered acceptable online? Is it okay to post you know, when did okay, the post nude photos, though, thoughts of this some funny questions that we put put out there. But we also provide links to all of the rights charters, to the main technology platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, and some dating sites as well. And of course, Instagram as well. And then Tik Tok.


Tony skinner  08:18

Yeah, and the thing is I these organizations, they’re getting better at stepping up to be aware of online bullying and online issues like that. But how much further have they got to go?


Sarah  08:35

Well, what we believe is they should be taking an active approach to promoting what good digital citizenship is. And that’s a concept that is endorsed and conceived by UNESCO.

And it’s been, no, it’s about promoting collective action, because we’re not going to change the online realm by just, you know, pointing the blame at Internet, or tech platforms or major. I mean, facebook has more power than any government in the world. And it’s a we believe that we need to engage with them and say, we need to educate people on a societal level about what is responsible, good online behavior, to prevent harmful online behavior from occurring. And I also believe that our government for including the safety Commissioner needs to do the same thing because at the moment, the onus of reporting incidences of online harm, such as trolling, abuse, or seeing violent content, is always placed on the person who’s been targeted or who’s witnessing it?

So that in itself is To me, I believe is something that needs to be changed. I think that we need to stop the prevalence of these kind of being unsafe for irresponsible online behavior from occurring in the first place. And we also need to ask questions, well, why is it happening? What is going on in our society that is making people act out in this way online? I think, you know, from the research I’ve done from many academics spoken to, we know that when the internet was, you know, happened, I think, some 20, more or more 30 years ago, so many people were very optimistic, and they we still can be because it offers unparalleled opportunities to connect across boundaries, and to promote good ideas and to share news about good causes, just like we are doing now about just social. But there’s also kind of been this, I guess, Rise of people going, or actually, you know, after the Cambridge analytical scandal, documentaries coming out, like the social dilemma, people are starting to really feel concerned and feeling like they don’t trust platforms.

And I think, you know, it’s a very, very interesting issue. And there’s also been more of a rise of people expressing themselves in a dissatisfied way online. And it’s sort of we need to start asking what’s going on in society that’s causing people to express themselves in this way. And I mean, one of them is the fact that you can be much more anonymous online, you can hide behind the screen, and you can say something negative. But I think we need to look at it on an even broader level than that.


Tony skinner  12:12

Yeah, I think there’s that you’re right about that level of community responsibility. And we are all responsible for our actions, both online and offline, and how we’re treating people. I have a meetup group. So walk, walking Meetup group, and people regularly book, and don’t even bother turning up. And I think even little things like that, because it’s online. They go, Well, I can book 10 things and decide on the page what I turn up to not bother telling anybody? Um, I think it is it’s just beyond the anonyme fee of the internet. It’s just there’s less respect. Yeah. In Video across the board.


Sarah  12:53

Yeah, that’s a really interesting thing that you’ve pointed out. I mean, I myself, I was speaking to someone I do. I do my own podcast, and I was speaking to someone recently, just about the fact that, particularly at the moment, with COVID, and so many people working remotely, everyone’s staring at their screens and having meetings online all day, and people have zoomed out. And so it means that there is a prevalence of people asking you to attend online events. But yeah, I think you’re completely right.

People kind of say, click Yes, I’ll be there. And then yeah, there’s there’s a lack of respect. It’s it’s sort of like, you know, people think that what happens online isn’t real, or whether it’s good behavior or bad behavior. It’s different to the offline realm. And that’s just not true. I think that


Tony skinner  13:56

i think i think it goes back. Sorry, what it goes back to what you said before about consequences. So I think people need to be aware of the consequences of their actions online. Whether it be something as simple as just being socially rude, hmm, by not turning up somewhere, not telling someone all the way up to yet someone going into another account, and saying things on their behalf without their permission. So yeah, I guess the problem is that and what you guys are going to be great at is letting people become aware that they do have rights online was offline. And that is becoming much more now and Okay, the celebrities or well known people that are leading now, saying, Well, look, hang on. There are legal repercussions for these things. Because anonymous he is people think they’re anonymous online. Well, you know what my IP addresses revealed your IP address.

Yeah, it’s not that hard if there’s that motivation. So I think we all need to let the authorities know. Well, hang on. We do have rights online. And like you said, the police didn’t even bother telling you that, you know, what had been done was a criminal act. In fact, I think that’s where we need to start when you start by saying, look, you know, what, let the authorities know that we’re actually aware that we actually have these rights.


Sarah  15:25

Yeah. And that’s why we want to promote collective action. Because, you know, I think there is an issue with law enforcement being able to access the data or the information of online perpetrators of harm. You know, if something if someone reports something to the police, like they’re being trolled or abused, and they’re feeling unsafe, it’s actually quite difficult for the police to then go to take platform and get the data and the information to it to actually punish, potentially punish that person or charge them. So that’s one issue.

There’s sort of, you know, there’s real gaps. And that’s why I really, you know, I’ve decided we just should be want to take a collective Alliance approach to get everyone trying to develop an online code of conduct, which people can become voluntary signatories to. But I just think we need to have more of a conversation about how do we ensure that people are responsible, good digital citizens on a societal level? so that we don’t have to, in that, you know, reporting instances of online behavior, they shouldn’t be happening in the first place.


Tony skinner  16:51

Absolutely. All right. Cool. Well, look, thanks very much for your time, Sarah, it’s a huge issue that we would only ever be able to scratch the surface. Yeah. And that’s the thing and look, you know, for businesses and organizations, they need to be aware of what’s happening within their own companies as well. Online bullying does occur within businesses. And again, because we’re all working from home a lot more. That can happen. Yeah, even outside of the office environment. And businesses are still responsible for that.


Sarah  17:26

Absolutely. Yeah. We did actually hear about a good digital citizen story of an employer that fired dismissed someone because they were harassing other employees on Tinder. So when businesses do take those sorts of actions, it’s a really good sign to show that they’re being responsible. Showing that they know that people basically allow me human rights nerd, everyone is entitled to be treated equally and with dignity and respect. And that includes online and offline. So I think, you know, that’s a core message I would say to businesses is to just keep that in mind.


Tony skinner  18:19

Absolutely. All right. Thanks so much for your time, Sarah.


Sarah  18:22

My pleasure.





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