ERoTICs is a cross-country exploratory research on the intersection of sexuality and the internet hosted by APC. Five research teams are working on the theme from different angles in USA, Brazil, South Africa, India, and us in Lebanon. Some people are looking at how people express or interact with sexuality online (chat rooms, dating sites, online porn) and others are exploring the effects of censorship and filtering on people’s freedom and right to access of information, to name a few examples.
Here in Lebanon, our team is looking at the relationship between internet regulation (or the lack of it) and attitudes towards sexuality, in addition to the rise of sexual rights movements. Here’s where we need your help. Since this research is about the internet, we thought we would use the internet as methodology too. If you have any ideas, opinions, leads, advice, links, knowledge, contacts, news sources, experts, anything at all you think would be useful to answering the following questions, please include it in the comments boxes here. You’d be helping us in our experimentation with research crowdsourcing. Here some of our research questions to guide you:
- Why is the Internet in Lebanon generally not censored? Is the answer to this question insightful or stupid? Is it a strategic decision or is it because the Lebanese officials are too lazy or don’t know squat about the internet? Is it a questions of what is private and what is public, where the internet is seen as a private matter? Does the government and General Security simply not realize the power of the internet? Or are they making use of the freedom of the internet to distract people from other issues? Do they have “more urgent” things to deal with?
- Which university campuses or other institutions apply censorship or a form of filtering to their wireless connections? Why do they do so? What are their policies? What kind of things are censored?
- How have internet users in Lebanon used the internet to talk about taboo topics related to sexuality in Lebanon? How has this changed since mIRC and ICQ to Facebook and Twitter?
- What are the online websites and tools that you know that tackle sexuality (in Lebanon or other Arab countries)? These could cover: sexual harassment, sex education for teens & adults, dating, escort services, gay & lesbian matters, transsexual issues, sex workers, abortion, rape, sexual violence, etc.. and could be websites, Facebook groups, blogs, twitter accounts, chatrooms, forums, etc..
Here are some examples of comments that could be useful to us:
- You should interview Person x, who is an expert on internet filtering in Lebanon. Their email is x.
- Check out this article, it talks about internet usage in Lebanon.
- Did you hear about the new law in Jordan that targets bloggers? Here is a link.
- There is a facebook group for young women to talk about abortions. Here is the link.
- You should interview me [insert your email here] about x, y & z..
- I think Lebanon will follow Jordan in terms of online censorship. Here’s why [insert your opinion intelligent opinion here]
Any and all comments welcome – even if you think I know about it already – please include it!
Disclaimer: I must note that your comment below does not automatically mean it will be used in the research. But all comments we do use will give their authors full credit in this research and any subsequent publication that uses their comment.