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First Europe organisation to defend rights online forms

A first-of-its-kind European organisation has formed in the Hague to defend human rights online, providing legal and technical assistance to victims.

CRO Cyber Rights Organization has been formed in Europe to help people experiencing online gender-based violence such as non-consensual dissemination of intimate images, hate speech, doxing, sextortion, as well as cyberbullying, digital identity violation, and online human trafficking.

CRO notes that women are 27 times more likely to experience online violence than men globally.

Further, it takes more than 100 days to delete a link, photo or video that harms a person's violated intimacy.

Additionally, more than 20% of victims of online sex trafficking worldwide are children.

Citing Cybersecurity Ventures research, CRO adds that cybercrime costs the world $8 trillion annually, comprising personal data breaches, sextortion, doxing and revenge porn.

"What is the future of human rights on the web?," says Annachiara Sarto, Director and Silvia Semenzin, Head of Research and Advocacy, CRO.

"Can we do more to raise awareness in the European and international community about the protection of the online life of female citizens?

"On the importance of Cyber Civil Rights? On achieving international Cyber Peace?"

"CRO Cyber Rights Organization will work to contrast and eliminate all those alterations that violate human dignity under the digital aspect, and all that long series of digital crimes which degrade and cruelly break into the online life of female citizens around the world."

Sarto and Semenzin have already begun the process of integrating the international web-based human rights organisation.

Working with the pair are Andrea Baggio, CEO of Reputationup, and Juan Ricardo Palacio, Master Mind of CRO.

"There is no longer any way to untie our lives, our work, [and] our free time from the digital universe," Baggio and Palacio explain.

"We will work right now to eliminate and counter all those online threats that are detrimental to fundamental human rights and the international Cyber Peace.

"We will relentlessly raise awareness of the importance of protecting the fundamental rights of citizens on the web with the final aim of boosting the Cyber Civil Rights of the population."

Moreover, an international team of cybersecurity and online violence experts help them, forming the CRO Cyber Rights Organization Internal Advisory Committee.

One of the notable names included in this lineup is Larry Cameron, Cybersecurity Manager at the Anti-Human Trafficking Intelligence Initiative (ATII), Co-Founder of the Anti-Human Trafficking Cryptocurrency Consortium (ATCC), OSINT Investigator/Cryptocurrency Forensic Specialist for the National Child Protection Task Force (NCPTF) and senior judge for Trace Labs Missing Persons capture the flag (CTF).

Also part of the committee is Christine M.G. Tremblay, Lecturer-Researcher in the International and European Law Program at The Hague University of Applied Sciences since 2015, as well as a PhD candidate at Leiden University on international criminal law.

Further, Nadia Rusinova, Lecturer at The Hague University in The Hague, Judicial Trainer and expert on children's rights and international law, is on the committee.

Rusinova has also been the head of the law firm Rusinova&Partners since 2003, is licensed at the International Court of Justice and is always involved in protecting human rights and LGBTQI rights.

Another name on the committee is Dr Mohd.O. Ahmad of the UN Economic and Social Commission, certified by the prestigious Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative in the design of a multidimensional poverty index, as well as manager and facilitator of the Saint-Jean Carénage Global Young Leaders Hub in France.

Lastly, university lecturer Aurelien Lorange, a prominent expert in International and European Law at The Hague University in the Netherlands, is also on the committee.

In his career, Lorange has served on the European Commission and co-founded the Corax Foundation and Employment Network Events at The Hague university.

"We want to achieve Cyber Peace for all European citizens by ensuring all forms of Cyber Civil Rights for all segments of the European and international population," Sarto says.

"We are able to provide technical and legal assistance to victims who have suffered a form of digital violence that has deteriorated their human dignity or their online reputation.

"Our in-house legal unit and our team of IT technicians are available 24 hours a day. And alongside them, we will have an in-house research team, led by Ph.D Silvia Semenzin, to ensure that data on online violence emerges prominently in the European and international debate."

Silvia Semenzin notes that attacks on European-based realities peaked in 2022.

These made up 26% of all attacks, an increase of 21% compared to 2021.

"In the first quarter of 2021, the personal profiles of 4 billion people worldwide were hacked," Semenzin says.

"Today, more than ever, we need a Cyber Rights Organization in every country in the world. If anyone has suffered any form of online violence, they can contact us: we will help them legally and technically."

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