Feminism and data protection

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Data protection activism, particularly efforts against profiling and unaccountable automated decision-making, has an intersectional dimension.

There is a (by now) clear race component.

There is a class component: negative effects increase on the poor. This is often narrowly conceived around privacy ("the rich can buy their privacy"), but there is a broader link: gig work for instance leverages extensively automated decision-making.

Finally, there is a clear gender component to data protection.


The main topic here is in asking how history of the feminist movement, and navigating these intersectionalities, can inform PersonalData.IO's activism.


What lessons can data protection activists draw from the feminist movement? Examples:

  • What does a women's strike look like?
  • Is a sex strike a good analogy?
  • What are the different levels of such strike?
  • What do you target such a strike at?
  • Would it make more sense to reach out to a different audience that "women"? (e.g. "genderqueer")



  • [1]
  • ability to say no
  • Lysistrata
  • Reclaiming privacy feminist manifesto
  • Consent to our data bodies:
    • lessons from feminist theories to enforce data protection
    • "consent has been seen as a feminine verb" (Pérez 2016)
    • "sexual workers could demonstrate how desire and consent are different"
    • "the critical view of consent that is currently claimed by feminist theories is not the consent as a symptom of contemporary individualism; it has a collective approach through the idea of “the ethics of consent”" (Fraisse 2012)
    • " “for feminism: no is a political labure”. In other words, “if your position is precarious you might not be able to afford no. [...] This is why the less precarious might have a political obligation to say no on behalf of or alongside those who are more precarious” (Ahmed 2017)
    • "we, as consumers of services from a very few companies that hold the monopoly of the most used communications tools and social media networks, are deprived of “no” when we face the terms and conditions of such platforms. We are forced to take a oversimplified binary option between agree or disagree, while the latest ultimately means opting for some level of digital exclusion."
    • ". This situation represents structural problem, which, from the feminist perspectives that we mapped before, won’t be solved by the individual level. "
    • " the structural problem will remain, unless there is a power shift towards allowing the collective possibility of consenting to something else. "
    • " It is obvious an individual framing of consent, based in the assumption that we are all autonomous, free and rational individuals with capacity to consent, disregarded our possibility of doing so due to unequal power dynamics. "
    • "critical adherents" vs "consent agnostics"
    • " privacy is not a thing or an abstract right, but an environmental condition that enables situated subjects to navigate within preexisting cultural and social matrices (Cohen, 2012, 2018)"
    • "Therefore, as context is crucial to consent, we have to accept its fluid nature, which is something that the #TimesUp movement has brought into public debate: “Context is crucial to consent, we can change our opinion over time depending on how we feel in any given moment and how we evaluate the situation” (Carmi, 2018)."
  • Data feminism book
  • European discrimination laws and additive vs intersectional discrimination