The Internet affords human beings the opportunity to do many things, some good, some ridiculous and some downright awful. What is being called ‘revenge porn’ definitely falls into the awful category. But it’s not just a breach of trust and personal privacy, it’s also becoming a legal concern.
Recently the state of California made the posting of nude or sexual images of another person without their consent illegal. People who do it can face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Revenge porn is when an individual, usually an ex-spouse or former romantic partner, posts nude photos of their former amour online. The photos, which were taken and shared during the relationship, can be posted just about anywhere that the poster believes will cause the person depicted embarrassment or harm.
Some revenge seekers go even further and post their former partner’s address and contact information along with the photos and various other insults, reports the New York Times.
Unfortunately, there are even websites that encourage this kind of act.
But victims are starting to fight back. An article in The Independent mentions Holly Jacobs, a American woman who started the online campaign EndRevengePorn.org after her ex-boyfriend posted explicit photos and a video of her online. The online campaign aims to criminalize revenge pornography.
The issue is also of increasing interest to legislators in Canada too. A Globe and Mail article mentions a recent report by the CCSO CyberCrime Working Group that recommends the federal government amend the Criminal Code to make sharing intimate photos without consent illegal (the report also asked that the Criminal Code be ‘modernized’ to accommodate concerns about cyber-bullying).
But until federal and provincial governments make it a criminal act, people who snap intimate shots may want to think twice, or at the very least ensure that the exchange of photos isn’t simply one-sided.