November 25 - International day for the elimination of violence against women

It was November 25, 1960 when the Mirabal sisters lost their lives in Santo Domingo under the Trujillo dictatorship. The memory of that tragic moment was only institutionalised in 1981, when the 25 November was recognised as a symbolic date for the fight against the women’s violence.

Today, exactly 60 years later, violence against women is also perpetrated through the use of technology and IT tools; it’s sufficient to consider the data published today by the Central Directorate of the Criminal Police according to which, only in Lombardy, about 718 cases of revenge porn crimes have been recorded during the last year.

Revenge porn is a criminal offence recently introduced (Law 69/2019 - art. 612-ter of the Criminal Code) which punishes anyone who, having received or otherwise acquired images or videos with sexually explicit contents, intended to remain private, disseminates them without the consent of the persons therein represented in order to harm them.

How to address this kind of behaviour?

There is no single answer, but there must certainly be an awareness and knowledge of two concepts, which are still (unfortunately) underestimated today, that of "privacy" and "confidentiality", as well as of the tools that the current legislation provides to protect our personal data from unlawful appropriation.

For example, do we pay enough attention when posting images online that portray us or other individuals? A few days ago, the infographic published by the Italian Data Protection Authority  (available at the following link) provided useful suggestions and advice on this matter.

Have we ever checked, before starting a conversation and/or chatting with a third party using an IT tool, whether the communication service provider has adopted appropriate security protocols for our conversation? To better understand this matter, you can consult the explanatory page provided for by WhatsApp at the following link.

Again, do we know which applications or devices - for example, in our houses or installed in the places we go often to (such as swimming pools, gyms, etc.) - are able to film and/or listen to us without us knowing? And in the latter case, do we know how to exercise our privacy rights?

After all, the digital world also opens up new horizons with regard to the protection of women against violence and in this context the protection of our personal data plays a very important role.

Eliminating violence in all of its forms it's the common goal; awareness and knowledge are crucial to this end.