Comment

The problem with payback porn

Hunter Moore, kingpin of the revenge porn website IsAnyoneUp.com, was arrested on 23 January by the FBI for “conspiracy, seven counts of unauthorised access to a protected computer to obtain information and seven counts of aggravated identity theft.

Webcam, Image: Wikimedia, Simon Wedege Peterson
Webcam, Image: Wikimedia, Simon Wedege Peterson

The website encouraged men and women to send naked pictures of ex-lovers without their consent, to publicly discredit them. Considering the pictures were sent knowingly, they were thus considered the property of the receiver.

The arrest comes as a sigh of relief for many men and women all over the world, for despite his high profile, Moore has avoided arrest until now because laws do not clearly state his practices were illegal. Following an FBI investigation and subsequent lawsuits, the site was closed down in 2012, only for Moore to open huntermoore.tv which included, once again, photos published without the subjects permission, as well as directions to the houses of the victims.

Revenge porn is a breach of privacy and can be very harmful to victims’ reputation, causing them to lose jobs and credibility. It is also a painful form of betrayal if the sharer was someone they once loved and trusted.

Writing for the Guardian, Annmarie Chiarini explained how she had been a victim of revenge porn by her ex-boyfriend, and wrote of her “shame and embarrassment” when faced with “victim-blaming.” She was shocked US laws could do nothing to protect her, and suffered post-traumatic-stress-syndrome.

Double standards are highly prevalent in the case of nude pictures. It is easy to list off the top of one’s head a whole list of celebrity leaked picture scandals concerning women, such as Scarlett Johansson. Yet men’s photos are brushed off as funny or silly and receive very little backlash, such as Jamie Foxx and Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy, who both laughingly took the incidents in their stride.

Although it can be a fun way to show a special someone you’re feeling frisky or to keep the flame alive during time apart, it is a very dangerous practice. Trusting the receiver is very important, and it is essential to remember that nothing dies on the internet, even if you’ve deleted it. Many pictures have come from hacked webcams, phones, or computers.

With the teenage and university age demographics being notably adept at the sexting trend, we have another worry to add to our list. Not only must we think about preventing pregnancies and STDs, but also monitoring privacy and security. Small things you can do are cover up your webcam when it’s not in use, and put passwords on your phone and laptop. Make sure you delete your photos once they are sent and ask the receiver to do the same after viewing.

Just think twice before you send that photo, it’s too cold to get naked anyway.

11/02/2014

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evelacroix



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