Abuse and manipulated consent, the dark side of the internet


Abuse and manipulated consent, the dark side of the internet

Violence against women's bodies, even in the metaverse on those of avatars, sextortion, cyberbullying, and even the manipulation of consensus: the internet is abandoning its initial “democratic” vocation to increasingly land in violent territories. The alarm comes from the Privacy Guarantor who has called together experts and scholars to reflect on that phenomenon of progressive drift of violence “in the network” and “of the network”.
Alongside the “undeniable, extraordinary potential for social progress”, the internet shows “an increasingly dark side, its ability to lend itself to a logic of oppression which ends up contradicting its original democratic promise”, warns the president of the Guarantor of Privacy, Pasquale Stanzione.
In short, the Internet “represents not only the 'theater' of violence but also, often, one of its driving forces, capable of profoundly changing its forms of manifestation and implications on society and the person” warns the president of the Authority. A case in point is the increase in cases of revenge porn. Episodes that can no longer be defined as marginal: the measures to protect the victims of this crime represent 29% of the total measures adopted by the Guarantor, reports Ginevra Cerrina Feroni, vice president of the Guarantor. These are “not irrelevant” forms of violence that can lead to suicide, recalls Cerrina Feroni, citing the story of Tiziana Cantone, who tragically ended in suicide, and that of other victims.
Not only. Violence on the internet is also expressed in the forms of conditioning of political choices such as “violation of individual self-determination, carried out by platforms through microtargeting” recalls Stanzione, who therefore also raises an alarm on the risks of a “manipulation of consensus such as to alter profoundly the most important democratic processes”.
“Through digital stalking and the consequent profiling of the person, in fact, the commercial, informative or even political message to be promoted is modeled and the representation of reality that is considered most useful to render, orienting the consensus, even electoral, towards the desired result” says Stanzione who speaks of a “risk of manipulating consensus such as to profoundly alter the most important democratic processes”.
And there are also episodes of sexual assaults in the metaverse, those committed on avatars, which “demonstrate how the internet – notes Cerrina Feroni – even in its new embodied frontier of the metaverse, has become a privileged place for the violation of female bodies”. And these too tell of the “discomfort of today's civilization”. All this, he reflects, “must push us to consider “how to return the network to its original promise and free it from everything that betrays it”. For Giuliano Amato, President Emeritus of the Constitutional Court, the solution must be sought not so much in the rules but in education. “The fault is not Facebook, the internet or Big Tech: it is our fault.” And he adds: “everyone has fallen in love with Sinner's family: but how many families are there who really manage to find the right fit between ignoring what happens to one's children and inculcating in them what they have to do to 'fuck' others?”. The Antitrust and the authorities, adds Amato, “are useful but what is needed more is the family, the school, it is necessary to give to young people a strong 'I', because evil passes through weaknesses”.

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