The White House is establishing a task force that will address online harassment and abuse, led by the director of the White House Gender Policy Council and the assistant to the president for National Security Affairs.

In a memorandum, the White House said that the task force will “work across executive departments, agencies, and offices to assess and address online harassment and abuse that constitute technology-facilitated gender-based violence.”

To accomplish its mission, the task force will work to:

  • Improve coordination among Federal offices to maximize effectiveness in preventing and addressing technology-facilitated gender-based violence;
  • Enhance and expand data collection and research across the government to measure costs, prevalence, exposure to, and impact of technology-facilitated gender-based violence;
  • Increase access to survivor-centered services, information, and support for victims, while also increasing training and technical assistance for Federal, State, local, Tribal, and territorial governments, along with global organizations and entities in the fields of criminal justice, health, and mental health services, education, and victim services;
  • Develop programs and policies to address online harassment, abuse, and disinformation campaigns that target women and LGBTQI+ individuals who are public and political figures;
  • Examine existing laws to evaluate the adequacy of the current legal framework to address technology-facilitated gender-based violence; and
  • Identify additional opportunities to improve efforts to prevent and address technology-facilitated gender-based violence in U.S. foreign policy and foreign assistance.

“In the United States and around the world, women and LGBTQI+ political leaders, public figures, activists, and journalists are especially targeted by sexualized forms of online harassment and abuse, undermining their ability to exercise their human rights and participate in democracy, governance, and civic life,” the memo states. “Online abuse and harassment, which aim to preclude women from political decision-making about their own lives and communities, undermine the functioning of democracy.”

Critical issues that sit at the nexus of policy and technology. Learn more.

Within 180 days, the task force will submit an “initial blueprint” that outlines the whole-of-government approach to preventing and addressing online abuse.

Additionally, one year after that blueprint is submitted, the task force will make publicly available an update and report with additional recommendations and actions that can be taken to address online harassment.

Read More About
More Topics
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.