Earlier this month I reached out to the Director of the Askar refugee camp in Palestine in an effort to help secure his website, emails and online accounts. This was work I was willing to provide ‘pro bono,’ out of my own pocket. As for why I was offering to help the people of Palestine it is because, given my past experience, I know exactly what is happening to people there – as well as what the Israeli Government is up to/capable of.
Whether it hurts your feelings to say or not, the fact of the matter is that Israeli is beyond a shadow of a doubt the hacking capitol of the world. This is because given Israel’s post-WWII status, the country has been given a sort of legal immunity of over the years that allows the country and its peoples/Government to get away with things/acts other countries are not, such as cyber espionage and large scale hacking operations. To this effect, a new report surfaced this week outlining online discrimination, sexual harassment and targeted hacks against women living in the Palestinian territories.
Officially entitled “A Violent Network – Gender Based Violence Against Palestinian Women In Cyber Space,” the 25 page document chronicles how Muslim women living in the occupied territories are increasingly coming under cyber attack in our digital age. This includes things like account/email hacking, having their personal pictures stolen or posted in public, as well as being the victim of online blackmail/extortion campaigns. Conducted by researchers at the 7amleh Center and Kvinna til Kvinna Foundation, in interviews with 1,200 Palestinian women between the ages of 15 -30, researchers discovered that:
- 33% of women reported receiving videos or photos with inappropriate sexual content
- 30% reported having been the victim of hackers
- 28% said they receive unwarranted immoral or inappropriate comments on social media
- 16% report having been sexually harassed online in the past
- 5% report they have been subjected to sexual extortion online
- As a result of all this, 22% of Palestinian women say they have closed all of their online accounts and no longer use the internet
Full Research Paper:Report_GBV_-_KtK