As I regularly write for some national newspapers, I often use some search engines to see whether my writings have been published or not. Things were going all right until the other day when I surprisingly saw that some misleading results were showing up with which I do not have any connection.
The irrelevant results were some links of a Website Statistics Assessor which I found out to be ranking keywords and websites according to traffic, backlinks, etc. Their purpose seemed to be good (as how I felt when I went through their main homepage and later, when I had talks with one of the Webmasters through mail) and I would not have been agitated at all only if they had not queued my name with some other results with highly negative (in fact- "BAD") outlooks which produced every chance of creating a negative impression about me in the minds of people who are in my contacts. At first, what was the queuing technique and how they did associate my web-publications with such defamatory links seemed absolutely mysterious to me. But upon approaching, I felt really lucky to find the Webmasters highly cooperative and they dealt with the problem as promptly as I had expected. From them, I learnt that they were just indexing the search engine results and their links appear just by default with no intention to harm anyone’s reputation. But the fact is that, the traditional values prevailing in the South Asian nations make maximum people lack rational judgments and in-depth understandings with regard to these kinds of issues and most of the times, they pick the negative ideas first- which is really threatening, especially when the person in question is a woman.
We cannot afford to keep ourselves aloof from the internet at this digital age. In fact it can be said that the internet has become a virtual world where we experience virtual friendships (often which are proved to be as strong as the bonds we share with people in our material reach) as well as are highly prone to virtual humiliations (often which are as threatening as the corporeal ones)!
Therefore, now time has come to raise our voices against the socio-virtual threats. Internet laws should be defined more clearly and should be aimed at working against the unauthorized use of anyone’s name or other personal information (as well as images) in any website without that person’s consent. In addition, every website should make sure that none of their activities or work methodologies do unknowingly act behind the defamation of any person. Also, the perception of the society should change. Just because some undesirable links are appearing, it is really wrong to build a false perception without making crosschecks and logical judgments to make sure whether one is actually linked with the links or not.
I hope World Pulse, being the voice of women-around-the-world, would convey this issue to UN Women as well because-- we, women (especially women from the developing and underdeveloped nations), are the most vulnerable ones to be harmed, misinterpreted and defamed due to these kinds of problems and with the current cyber-laws prevailing in the national and international levels, it is often really hard to get many of the actual virtual-guilty penalized.
Therefore, I conclude with a call for a better web-environment for women where we could fly like birds, touch our dreams, and be able to protect ourselves from all cyber-threats followed by potential social maltreatments.
--- Tanzina Ahmed Choudhury ---
In a time when freedom of expression and equal access to knowledge and ideas has become synonymous with access to the Internet, World Pulse is asking women worldwide: What does "Universal Internet Access and Digital Freedom" mean to YOU? This month, we invite you to raise your voice by writing about the everyday obstacles you face and risks you take in accessing the Internet, or how you have used it to change lives and bring about positive change in your community. Click here to learn more about this campaign and how to participate.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Universal Internet Access.