White House pushes back against online harassment • The Register

A US task force aims to prevent online harassment and abuse, with a particular focus on protecting women, girls and LGBTQI+ people.

Over the next 180 days, the White House Task Force to Combat Online Harassment and Abuse will, among other things, Disorganized a blueprint on a “whole-of-government approach” to ending “technology-facilitated gender-based violence”.

A year after submitting the plan, the group will provide additional recommendations that federal and state agencies, service providers, tech companies, schools and other organizations should follow to prevent online harassment, which according to the Vice President Kamala Harris, often turns into physical violence, including self-harm. -harm and suicide for victims of cyberbullying as well as mass shootings.

“The white supremacist who murdered 10 black people in Buffalo, New York, was first radicalized, by all accounts, online,” Harris said, in prepared remarks to inaugurate the working group.

“And after the massacre of 19 children – 19 babies – and two teachers in Uvalde, it was revealed that the shooter had threatened to kidnap, rape and kill teenage girls on Instagram,” she added.

The White House Gender Policy Council and National Security Council will co-chair the task force, and other members include Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III, Attorney General Merrick Garland , Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and other Cabinet members and agency heads.

In addition to the task force, the White House also announced $3 million to fund initiatives who use technology to increase access to victim services and help service providers prevent online abuse.

In the United States, one in three women under the age of 35 say they have been sexually harassed online, and more than half of LGBTQI people say they have been the target of serious abuse online, according to the federal government.

Additionally, nearly one in four Asian Americans have been called an offensive name online, and black people are three times more likely to be targets of abuse online because of their race, Harris said. .

“No one should have to suffer abuse just for trying to participate in society,” she added.

The task force is tracking a few proposed federal data privacy bills that are going through the US Senate.

Abuse of personal data is still abuse

Earlier this week, lawmakers held a hearing on the bipartisan US Privacy and Data Protection Act, which is the broader of the two. It covers consumer awareness, transparency requirements, individual rights and control over stored data, rights of consent and withdrawal, data protection for children and minors, obligations of third party data collectors, algorithmic transparency requirements, data security requirements, extent of corporate liability, and how the application will be managed.

Also this week, a group of Democratic senators introduced a bill that would ban the sale of health and location data in response to the Supreme Court’s draft proposal to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Harris, in her task force remarks, noted how criminalizing abortion would impact women’s privacy and made the connection between Roe’s reversal and online bullying and bullying.

“In states where abortion is criminalized, an attacker could buy a woman’s location history through a data broker,” Harris said, adding that an attacker could then pass on that information. to law enforcement in states where abortion is illegal.

“So let’s be clear: No one should be afraid of an attacker using their private personal data – or someone’s private personal data being used against them,” Harris continued. “And everyone deserves to use the internet without fear.” ®

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