Coalición pide a Facebook que no obligue a sus usuarios a usar sus nombres reales

Una nueva política de Facebook pone en riesgo importantes derechos de los usuarios.

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SonTusDatos se une a otras organizaciones defensoras de derechos humanos, derechos digitales y derechos LGBTQ con la firma de una carta abierta a Facebook para pedir que no exija como requisito que sus usuarios utilicen su nombre en la vida real porque violenta varios de sus derechos fundamentales.

A finales de septiembre de este año Facebook anunció un cambio en su política sobre el uso de nombres reales en sus cuentas (la política de “autenticación de identidad” o más conocida como política de “nombre real”). El cambio fundamental consiste en que ahora los usuarios deben de proporcionar su nombre “como se mostraría en documentos de identidad admitidos”. Aunque Facebook señala que su objetivo es hacer más segura la comunidad, diversas ONGs y asociaciones civiles, entre ellas SonTusDatos, han expuesto que Facebook no respeta la identidad de sus usuarios y restringe la libertad de expresión. El nombre propio forma parte de nuestra identidad y se considera un dato personal por lo que nos ayuda a identificar. Sitios como Facebook no deberían obligarnos a compartir nuestro nombre real en el Internet.

Permitir que un usuario utilice un nombre distinto al suyo o no tener que acreditar que usa su nombre real, resulta de vital importancia en países no democráticos y con dudoso respeto de los derechos humanos; tampoco resulta trivial en países como Estados Unidos en donde ha habido serias violaciones a la privacidad por parte del gobierno con la complicidad de empresas privadas como Facebook. Para ejemplificar lo anterior, recordemos que luego de las revelaciones del ex analista de la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional  de Estados Unidos, Edward Snowden, sobre el programa de espionaje PRISM, fue dado a conocer que éste se dio en complicidad de empresas como Google y Facebook.  Aunque todos los usuarios de la red social pueden verse afectados por este tipo de política, son más vulnerables los usuarios que podrían ser víctimas de violencia física, amenazas legales de gobiernos represivos o acoso debido a su género, sexualidad, religión o prácticas políticas. Debemos recordar que Facebook se ha convertido en una plataforma donde millones de usuarios expresan opiniones de todo tipo.

Aunado a lo anterior, la política actual de Facebook sobre “autenticación de identidad” permite que cualquier usuario pueda reportar a otro por no seguir esta práctica, sin ningún tipo de prueba o requisito para hacerlo, ni siquiera que el denunciante proporcione su nombre real; lo cual coloca al denunciado en una clara desventaja. Asimismo, cuando un usuario tiene que comprobar su identidad, lo tiene que hacer con documentación oficial y ninguna información sobre cómo sus datos serán tratados; tampoco existen las medidas de seguridad adecuadas para proteger la documentación que va a enviar: la información que el usuario envía para comprobar su identidad con Facebook no es encriptada, lo cual la hace posible que terceras personas puedan acceder a ella (p.ej. gobiernos autoritarios o criminales cibernéticos). Sólo para entender la relevancia del tema, Facebook ha servido como herramienta para organizar protestas en países como Ucrania y países de Medio Oriente.

Por estas razones, SonTusDatos firmó la carta abierta a Facebook, con fecha del 5 de octubre de 2015, iniciativa de The Nameless Coalition y unas organizaciones defensoras de derechos humanos, derechos digitales, derechos LGBTQ y de las mujeres, para demandar lo siguiente:

  • Permitir el uso de pseudónimos.
  • Requerir que los usuarios que denuncian a otros por no usar su nombre real proporcionen su nombre real.
  • Permitir que la autenticación de identidad se lleve a cabo con documentos no oficiales.
  • Proporcionar información sobre cómo será tratada la información del usuario que está autenticando su identidad y brindar medios para que lo pueda hacer forma segura (como por ejemplo encriptando esta información).
  • Establecer un protocolo seguro para proceder a bloquear usuarios.

La carta se encuentra disponible aquí y se transcribe a continuación.

Carta:

 Dear Facebook,

We write to call on Facebook to reform its “authentic identity” (commonly known as “real name”) policy1. It’s time for Facebook to provide equal treatment and protection for all who use and depend on Facebook as a central platform for online expression and communication.

We are a coalition of people and organizations who work to protect the rights of women, indigenous and ethnic minority communities, LGBTQ people, and Internet users who have found Facebook’s name policies to be culturally biased and technically flawed. We represent:

  • Transgender and gender variant people whose legal names don’t accord with their gender identity
  • People who use a pseudonym or name modification in order to protect themselves from physical violence, legal threats from repressive governments, or harassment on the basis of gender, sexuality, religion, or political activities
  • People who have been silenced by attackers abusing Facebook’s “Fake Name” reporting option
  • People whose legal names don’t fit the arbitrary standards of “real names” developed by Facebook.2

Despite commitments to reform these policies,3 Facebook maintains a system that disregards the circumstances of users in non-western countries, exposes its users to danger, disrespects the identities of its users, and curtails free speech.

Abuse Reports Silence Vulnerable Users

Under Facebook’s current policies, users create profiles using the names they use “in real life.”4 When a user first creates a profile, Facebook does not require proof of identity.

Any user can easily file reports with Facebook claiming that a fellow user is violating this policy, and has no obligation to submit evidence supporting their claim. Any user can file as many reports as they wish, as quickly as they wish, allowing targeted reporting sprees. This has led to unfair application of the policy, and provides people who wish harm upon communities like ours with a dangerous and effective tool. One abuse report can silence a user indefinitely.

Facebook users in the global LGBTQ community5, South and Southeast Asia6 and the Middle East report that groups have deliberately organized (sometimes even coordinating via Facebook) to silence their targets using the “Report Abuse” button.7

A “Name in Real Life” Is Not an ID

In the face of an abuse report (regardless of the report’s merit), users who wish to maintain their accounts must submit proof of identification. Facebook acknowledges that profile names may not match legal names, and has repeatedly emphasized that government-issued ID is not required. Yet the types of ID that Facebook asks for in the “report abuse” process, whether issued by a government or private entity, do not necessarily feature a person’s nickname or “real life” name—especially for transgender people and others who modify their names to protect themselves from harm. ID from a private institution is also often linked to a person’s legal identity and government-issued identification number.8

This process can put users who use a name other than their legal name for safety or privacy purposes in real danger. In some cases Facebook has reinstated accounts with the legal name of users who have submitted government-issued ID in accordance with Facebook’s policies, exposing them to abusive former partners, politically-motivated attacks, and threats of real-life violence.9

Facebook’s Enforcement Process Leaves Users Without a Remedy

For years, Facebook has known about the flaws in their appeals process across the service, yet have not addressed them.10 Individuals without a type of ID that Facebook accepts are left without recourse. IDs must be submitted to Facebook within ten days of notice, disadvantaging users who do not have daily access to the Internet, many of whom live in non-Western and developing countries. Those who fail to submit IDs in the allotted time period are locked out of their accounts, preventing both communication with other users and downloads of account data for use elsewhere. Excluded users are not provided with the right to appeal for access to accounts.

ID Process Endangers User Data

Users who opt to send Facebook their identification information are told that their information is secure, but are given no information about how Facebook treats their data. Users often send their ID documents to Facebook through unencrypted emails—particularly concerning for users who are subject to surveillance for the political work they do.

This Policy Raises Legal Concerns

Under international human rights standards, companies have a responsibility to respect human rights and to provide remedies for any abuses they cause or contribute to.11 A policy of excluding users in a discriminatory manner also violates European Union regulations12 and the spirit of US civil rights laws.13 If Facebook maintains these policies and practices, it will build a reputation as a dangerous place for women and girls, LGBTQ people, and many others. It will also continue to run afoul of countries with more stringent data protection requirements,. If the company wants to do right by its current and future users, particularly those in less-developed nations, it must strive to meet the needs of its users.

Proposed Policy Changes

As a coalition, we ask that Facebook fulfill its promise to support the dignity, safety, and expressive rights of all users by making the following changes in its policy and process:

  • Commit to allowing pseudonyms and non-legal names on its site in appropriate circumstances, including but not limited to situations where using an every day name would put a user in danger, as determined in consultation with civil society, or situations where local law requires the ability to use pseudonyms.
  • Require users filing real name policy abuse reports to support their claims with evidence. This could come in written form, multiple-choice questions, or some alternative documentation.
  • Create a compliance process through which users can confirm their identities without submitting government ID. This could include allowing users to submit written evidence, answer multiple-choice questions, or provide alternative documentation such as links to blog posts or other online platforms where they use the same identity.
  • Give users technical details and documentation on the process of submitting identity information such as where and how it is stored, for how long, and who can access it. Provide users with the ability to submit this information using PGP or another common form of encrypted communication, so they may protect their identity information during the submission process.
  • Provide a robust appeals process for users locked out of their accounts. This could include the ability to request a second review, to submit different types of evidence, and to speak to a real Facebook employee, especially in cases involving safety.

We look forward to working with Facebook to develop concrete and meaningful changes to its name policy and would welcome the opportunity to participate in strengthening these policies to ensure the rights and free speech of all Facebook users. But we are also dealing with communities that have had their ability to communicate with each other decimated by this policy. That is why we are asking Facebook to respond to these proposed changes by October 31. Our communities recognize the common injury this policy currently inflicts and we will not stop advocating until fundamental changes are made.

Signed,

Access, United States of America

American Civil Liberties Union, United States of America

ACLU of California, United States of America

Article 19, United Kingdom

Asociación para una Ciudadanía Participativa (ACI-Participa), Honduras

Asociacion por los Derechos Civiles, Argentina

Association for Progressive Communications, South Africa

Association Okvir, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication, Bangladesh

Bangladesh Friendship Education Society, Bangladesh

Bolo Bhi, Pakistan

Bytes for All, Pakistan

Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), Canada

Center for Democracy and Technology, United States of America

Centre for Communication Governance, India

Center for Media Justice, United States of America

Centre for Information Technology and Development, Nigeria

Centre for Internet and Society, India

Civil & Liberal Initiative for Peace, Afghanistan

Color of Change, United States of America

Computer Society of India, India

Demand Progress, United States of America

Digital Empowerment Foundation, India

Digital Rights Foundation, Pakistan

Electronic Frontier Foundation, United States of America

EngageMedia, Australia/Indonesia

Fantsuam, Nigeria

FeminismInIndia.com, India

Foundation for Media Alternatives, Philippines

Fundacion Karisma, Colombia

Free Women Writers, Afghanistan

Freedom of the Press Foundation, United States of America

ForabetterFB Campaign,

Foundation for Internet and Civic Culture, Thailand

GreenNet, Thailand

Gay-Straight Alliance Network, Serbia

Global Voices Advocacy,

Hiperderecho, Peru

Hivos, IGmena, Middle East

Human Rights Watch, United States of America

Hyderabad for Feminism, India

Institute for Gl, South Africa

Global Communications,

InMedia, Hong Kong

Instituto DEMOS, Guatemala

Instituto Bem Estar, Brazil

Instituto Panameño de Derecho y Nuevas Tecnologías, Panama

International Modern Media Institute, Iceland

Internet Democracy Project, India

IP Justice, United States of America

LaborNet, United States of America

Library Freedom Project,

Media Matters for Democracy, Pakistan

Metamorphosis, Foundation for Internet and Society, Macedonia

Misneach Nua Eabhrac, United States of America

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, United States of America

National Organization for Women, United States of America

New Media Rights, New Media Rights

#MyNameIs, United States of America

Campaign, United States of America

One World Platform Foundation, Bosnia Herzegovina

OpenMedia, New Media Rights

Point of View, India

Privacy & Access Council of Canada, Canada

R3D, Mexico

Safety and Free Speech Coalition, United States of America

Si Jeunesse Savait, Democratic Republic of Congo

Software Freedom Law Center, United States of America

SonTusDatos (Artículo 12, A.C.), Mexico

Sunil Abraham, Computer Society of India, India

Urgent Action Fund,

TEDIC (tecnología, educación, desarrollo, investigación y comunicación), Paraguay

Transgender Law Center, United States of America

Usuarios Digitales, Ecuador

VOICE, Bangladesh

WITNESS, United States of America

Women from the Internet, Serbia

Women Living Under Muslim Laws, United Kingdom

Women, Action, & the Media, United States of America

WomensNet, South Africa

Youth, Technology, and Health, Youth, Technology, and Health

Ženskaposla.ba, Bosnia Herzegovina

1 “What names are allowed on Facebook?” https://www.facebook.com/help/112146705538576

2 See appendix for case examples.

3 Post by Chris Cox, Oct. 1, 2014, Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/chris.cox/posts/10101301777354543 .

4 This policy has also been referred to as an “authentic” name policy. Compare “What names are allowed on Facebook?” from October 2014 (“We require everyone to provide their real names….”) with that from July 2015 (“Facebook is a community where people use their authentic identities.”). Located at: https://web.archive.org/web/20141001193811/https://www.facebook.com/help/112146705538576 ; https://www.facebook.com/help/112146705538576 .

5 See, e.g., Jay Barmann, Drag Queens, Other Performers Outraged As Facebook Forces Them To Use Their Real Names, sfist, Sep. 11, 2014, http://sfist.com/2014/09/11/drag_queens_other_performers_outrag.php; Selena Larson, Facebook’s real name policy claims account of Ethiopian LGBT activist, The Daily Dot, Jul. 12, 2015 http://www.dailydot.com/technology/facebook-real-name-policy-ethiopian-lgbt-activist/

6 Russel Brandom, Facebook’s Report Abuse button has become a tool of global oppression, The Verge, Sep. 2, 2014, http://www.theverge.com/2014/9/2/6083647/facebook-s-report-abuse-button-has-become-a-tool-of-global-oppression

7 Supra, note 3; Sahar Habib Ghazi, We Will Choke You”: How Indian Women Face Fatal Threats on Facebook While Trolls Roam Free, Global Voices, August 6, 2015. http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/2015/08/06/we-will-choke-you-how-indian-women-face-fatal-threats-on-facebook-while-trolls-roam-free/; Preetha G., post on August 3, 2015, https://www.facebook.com/preetha.gp/posts/862310883838735?fref=nf; User stories from survivors of domestic or sexual violence, (last updated May 29, 2015), MyNameIsCampaign, http://www.mynameiscampaign.org/category/user-stories/survivor/.

8 Many countries use unique individual identification numbers (akin to social security numbers in the US) on all kinds of documentation, including many of the “non-state” examples that FB offers, such as student IDs and library cards.

9 Samantha Allen, How Facebook Exposes Domestic Violence Survivors, The Daily Beast, May 20, 2015, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/05/20/how-facebook-exposes-domestic-violence-survivors.html.

10 Lee Rowland, Naked Statue Reveals One Thing: Facebook Censorship Needs Better Appeals Process, ACLU Free Future Blog, Sept. 25, 2013, https://www.aclu.org/blog/naked-statue-reveals-one-thing-facebook-censorship-needs-better-appeals-process .

11 Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the Issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises, Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework, Mar. 21, 2011, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/17/31, http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/GuidingPrinciplesBusinessHR_EN.pdf [accessed 2 September 2015]. There is growing recognition that anonymity enables the realization of human rights online, including on private Internet platforms. See UN Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, at 16, 20, 22 May 2015, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/29/32, available at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session29/Documents/A.HRC.29.32_AEV.doc [accessed 2 September 2015].

12 The Hamburg Data Protection authority ruled that Facebook must allow German users to use pseudonyms under German law ( Julia Fioretti, German regulator orders Facebook to allow pseudonyms, Reuters, Jul. 28, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/28/us-facebook-germany-pseudonyms-idUSKCN0Q21U620150728). See, also Nadia Kayyali, New Report Shows European Data Protection Authorities are Taking Facebook’s Questionable Terms of Service Seriously, EFF, Feb. 26, 2015, https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/02/new-report-shows-european-data-protection-authorities-are-taking-facebooks

13 See, e.g. Cal. Civil Code § 51 et seq.

 

Lo que tú puedes hacer ahora:

–> Revisa si usas tu nombre real en tu perfil de Facebook; si es así, piensa porque no podrías cambiarlo por otro que tus amigos conocen y porque tendrías que seguir usando tu verdadero nombre y los beneficios y desventajas que tiene.

–> Piensa en otra información que compartes en tu perfil de Facebook y reflexiona quién quieres que vea esa información.  Revisa los consejos de esta página sobre la privacidad en Facebook y toma las medidas pertinentes.

–> Mándanos tus comentarios por e-mail, aquí, o déjalos públicos abajo en el campo para comentarios serán publicados en esta página.

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