Consent, however, is not so straightforward in the digital world. With instances where data can be hacked into, and with deep fake technologies making it more difficult to distinguish between what is real and what is fake, we have a situation where it is difficult to completely anticipate the kinds of risks involved, and the ways in which sexually explicit material is used.
In 2008, there were two important sets of events that happened: six weeks of intense hearings at the final arguments stage in the Naz Foundation case at the Delhi High Court, where section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was being challenged, and a bunch of folks in Delhi deciding that they were going to organize a Pride March. While these don’t seem obviously connected, they were both expressions of freedom, one in constitutional terms within the courtroom, and the other, a very public expression of freedom, taking to the streets.
The promises of the Internet are, of course, highly contextual. The Internet will mean very different things to a person who has access to their own mobile phone in a city with a reliable and affordable broadband or WiFi connection, as compared to someone who does not have access to a reliable Internet connection or who is unable to go to a shop to exchange downloaded songs and clips through an SD card.
In the debates around the need to expand the rights that accrue through marriage to same-sex couples, what is often lost are the forms of legal recognition of relationships not in the nature of marriage or blood. As the nature of traditional relationships changes across India, with more people opting to live singly or with friends, we really need to begin thinking seriously about new forms of legal recognition.
As someone who has worked on sexuality and gender related issues, HIV and AIDS has been part of the larger canvas of issues that I have been concerned with. There is an interesting tension between health and service delivery, especially around HIV and AIDS, primarily focused on so-called ‘populations at risk—the sexworker, intravenous drug user,…