This International Women’s Day, defend free speech, fight surveillance, and support innovation by calling on our elected politicians and private companies to uphold our most fundamental rights—both online and offline.

1. Pass the “My Body, My Data” Act

Privacy fears should never stand in the way of healthcare. That's why this common-sense federal bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Sara Jacobs, will require businesses and non-governmental organizations to act responsibly with personal information concerning reproductive health care. Specifically, it restricts them from collecting, using, retaining, or disclosing reproductive health information that isn't essential to providing the service someone asks them for. The protected information includes data related to pregnancy, menstruation, surgery, termination of pregnancy, contraception, basal body temperature or diagnoses. The bill would protect people who, for example, use fertility or period-tracking apps or are seeking information about reproductive health services. It also lets people take on companies that violate their privacy with a strong private right of action.

2. Ban Government Use of Face Recognition

Study after study shows that facial recognition algorithms are not always reliable, and that error rates spike significantly when involving faces of folks of color, especially Black women, as well as trans and nonbinary people. Because of face recognition errors, a Black woman, Porcha Woodruff, was wrongfully arrested, and another, Lamya Robinson, was wrongfully kicked out of a roller rink.

Yet this technology is widely used by law enforcement for identifying suspects in criminal investigations, including to disparately surveil people of color. At the local, state, and federal level, people across the country are urging politicians to ban the government’s use of face surveillance because it is inherently invasive, discriminatory, and dangerous. Many U.S. cities have done so, including San Francisco and Boston. Now is our chance to end the federal government’s use of this spying technology. 

3. Tell Congress: Don’t Outlaw Encrypted Apps

Advocates of women's equality often face surveillance and repression from powerful interests. That's why they need strong end-to-end encryption. But if the so-called “STOP CSAM Act” passes, it would undermine digital security for all internet users, impacting private messaging and email app providers, social media platforms, cloud storage providers, and many other internet intermediaries and online services. Free speech for women’s rights advocates would also be at risk. STOP CSAM would also create a carveout in Section 230, the law that protects our online speech, exposing platforms to civil lawsuits for merely hosting a platform where part of the illegal conduct occurred. Tell Congress: don't pass this law that would undermine security and free speech online, two critical elements for fighting for equality for all genders.  

4. Tell Facebook: Stop Silencing Palestine

Since Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7, Meta’s biased moderation tools and practices, as well as policies on violence and incitement and on dangerous organizations and individuals (DOI) have led to Palestinian content and accounts being removed and banned at an unprecedented scale. As Palestinians and their supporters have taken to social platforms to share images and posts about the situation in the Gaza strip, some have noticed their content suddenly disappear, or had their posts flagged for breaches of the platforms’ terms of use. In some cases, their accounts have been suspended, and in others features such liking and commenting have been restricted

This has an exacerbated impact for the most at risk groups in Gaza, such as those who are pregnant or need reproductive healthcare support, as sharing information online is both an avenue to communicating the reality with the world, as well as sharing information with others who need it the most.

This blog is part of our International Women’s Day series. Read other articles about the fight for gender justice and equitable digital rights for all.

  1. Four Reasons to Protect the Internet this International Women’s Day
  2. Four Infosec Tools for Resistance this International Women’s Day
  3. Four Voices You Should Hear this International Women’s Day