5.1 Public space online (Intro)

Snapshot: Digital spaces are online places where people can exercise
their right to communication. They can also foster inclusion,
especially for people with disabilities, restrictions due to health, and
limited or restricted mobility. However, there are significant barriers
to access, which create digital public spaces that are biased, unsafe,
and exclusionary.

Digital spaces are places for communication, encounter, expression, and
exchange of ideas, much like a public square in a town. Rights in digital
spaces must be an extension of rights in other public spaces. Unfortunately,
such online spaces are too often used for corporate profit and state
surveillance. Communication rights in these spaces are thus restricted,
causing our online public spaces to shrink rather than flourish. To ensure
the health and growth of digital public spaces, we must protect democracy,
fundamental rights, mutual accountability, and solidarity online

Key terms: barriers, access, communication rights, public space

Questions to turn into objectives:

Do you feel free to express yourself online? What hesitations do you
have about what you share and how it will be used?
y Can you think of ways we can protect each other online and make
digital public spaces safer for vulnerable and marginalized people?
y Do you know how your online personal data is being collected and
used? Here is a 7-step process you can start with to understand your
digital footprint and protect yourself in digital spaces.
y How can civil society, including faith communities, contribute
positively to digital public spaces?