Episode 2 — Bodies, Autonomy, and Storytelling

In this episode we talk to Shubha Kayastha, the Co-Founder of Body & Data, a Nepal based organisation that works to provide an understanding of digital rights among women, queer people and disabled people. Their work seeks to build a just and safe digital space through knowledge building, information dissemination and movement building.

In this episode, we speak about the importance of storytelling in building communities and collectives around digital rights and the ways in which understandings can be built in contextually relevant ways. We explore the challenges of working at the interface of gender and technology, and in particular the implications that this has both within the digital rights field and beyond. Shubha discusses projects of Body & Data including a recent publication titled Beyond Access, which explores how women and queer people with disabilities express themselves and their sexuality online.

Body & Data has mapped laws related to online gender-based violence in Nepal. You can see the infographic in English and Nepali here. You can learn more about Body & Data and their publications and projects here.

About the project

Places and populations that were previously digitally invisible are now part of a ‘data revolution’ that is being hailed as a transformative tool for human and economic development. Yet this unprecedented expansion of the power to digitally monitor, sort, and intervene is not well connected to the idea of social justice, nor is there a clear concept of how broader access to the benefits of data technologies can be achieved without amplifying misrepresentation, discrimination, and power asymmetries.

We therefore need a new framework for data justice integrating data privacy, non-discrimination, and non-use of data technologies into the same framework as positive freedoms such as representation and access to data. This project will research the lived experience of data technologies in high- and low-income countries worldwide, seeking to understand people’s basic needs with regard to these technologies. We will also seek the perspectives of civil society organisations, technology companies, and policymakers.