In 2009, Professor Danielle Keats Citron published "Cyber Civil Rights," arguing, for the first time, that we ought to understand and address cyber harassment as civil rights violations. In that article, she called for a cyber civil rights legal agenda to prevent, punish, and remedy bigoted online abuse that make equality in our digital age "more of a slogan than a reality." As she documented, the Internet has "all too often reflected and reinforced the offline world's power imbalances." Cyber harassers "raise the price" women, sexual minorities, and other members of historically subordinated groups "have to pay to engage with others on- and offline by forcing them to suffer a destructive combination of threats, reputation-harming defamation aimed to interfere with their employment opportunities, privacy invasions, and denial-of-service attacks because of their gender, race, or sexual preference," she explained.
Cyber harassment raises the risk of physical attack, offline stalking, and emotional harm. It also forces victims offline, preventing them from enjoying the economic, social, and political opportunities that networked platforms provide. According to Professor Citron, a cyber civil rights agenda is essential to deter and redress cyber harassment's harms to individuals, groups, and society at large.
The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI) seeks to answer that call for a legal and educational response to cyber harassment. We are a non-profit organization engaging in advocacy work through the development of individual campaigns meant to target specific cyber harassment issues.
CCRI's mission is to help victims of cyber harassment by:
- Raising societal awareness about the nature and prevalence of online harassment
- Advocating for state and federal legislation to prevent such abuse, when appropriate
- Providing a platform for emotional and moral support of victims
- Discovering and vetting resources for those struggling to combat their own circumstances