The extensive use of technology in today’s world creates certain mandates. Firstly, the safety of self-expression in cyber space. Secondly to ensure that the space is devoid of sexual advances towards any person. However, the laws dealing with these issues such as the Indian Penal Code, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences and Cyber Laws are not enough. These laws aren’t per se made to be applied in case of cyber-crimes.
They are simply used as a general rule when such harm is inflicted. Like in case of virtual trolling, Section 354A and 499 of the IPC could come to the rescues of the victim however, they specifically do not tend to virtual crimes. They simply deal with Sexual Harassment and Defamation as a whole. Therefore, we need specific legislations in India which would particularly apply to virtual crimes. Virtual crimes are seen as a micro aggression in India and therefore, the need for a safe space doesn’t arise at all. Cyber stalking, bulling, virtual trolling etc aren’t seen as “crimes” in most cases. Statements like “boys will be boys” are used to push such incidences under the rug.
Less or no criminality is attributed to such crimes even though they are equally grave and dangerous. Ingrid Ryberg spoke about the same in her piece ‘Imagining Safe Space: The Politics of Queer, Lesbian and Feminist Pornography’. So, in a case like India it will be beneficial to have both specific as well as general laws for cyber-crimes. For specific situations the new legislations could apply and in case an unprecedented situation arises then the general rules of the IPC or POCSO etc could come to the rescue of the victim.
Now, after making the requisite legislation it is important to draw the guidelines of a feminist interest once we have established a safe space. The world at present is completely dependent on technology and primarily the internet for functioning. In the current pandemic, everything from grocery shopping to university education is happening via the net. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to make it’s access a human right across the residents of the globe. It is important for it to be accessible, affordable etc for all persons including women and queer people. Further, it is necessary for the internet to provide access to all sorts of information including sexuality and LGBTQ+ issues for it to not give into the patriarchal norms and do justice to all communities. Moreover, women should have rights to produce stuff for the internet as well. She shouldn’t just be receptors of information but also the providers of it. It is further important to ensure that this cyber space is free of the heteronormative order and the patriarchal norms. It is important to call people out publicly in case they are being demeaning towards a certain caste, race, gender, sex, etc. Internet governance is of utmost importance in order to keep everything in check. Such decision making tables should have an equal representation from all spheres in order to ensure equality. Moreover, this forum can be used to increase awareness about the conservative and hierarchal societal norms. It can help people unlearn the problematic teachings of their elders and provide them with a different world view. Here, even surveillance by the state and non-state actors should be banned because that’s used primarily to control the bodies, expression of women and in turn take away their agency. A feminist internet should also allow anonymity since it provides a safer space for expression and experimenting with gender identity and sexuality. This accompanied by the new legislations will be a safe space for persons of all gender identities and sexualities.
 Jenny, S., FMA, S., & Syar, S. (n.d.). Feminist Principles of the Internet. Retrieved December 03, 2020, from https://feministinternet.org/en/principle/violence
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