POSTED BY Editor | May, 22, 2017 |

News today that NSW has moved to strengthen laws to stamp out ‘Revenge Porn.’ is perhaps long overdue with researchers from a RMIT and Monash University study on ‘revenge porn’ showing one in five Australians have fallen victim of ‘image-based ‘abuse. Women and men are equally likely to be victims and marginalised groups are especially vulnerable. The risk of victimisation is higher for young people and lesbian, gay and bisexual Australians.

New state laws (NSW) criminalising sharing or recording of intimate images or videos without consent are expected to work alongside federal powers to direct internet hosts and others to delete those images or videos according to the NSW Government.

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman is reported in today’s Sydney Morning Herald as stating: ‘The government will introduce laws into Parliament this week aimed at ‘manipulative creeps and domestic violence offenders’ who distribute images to harm and humiliate.

The impact on victims has been enormous.

One survivor of revenge porn, now a U.S Cyber Civil Rights crusader is Holly Jacobs, who will speak at the forthcoming Cyber Health Summit About Technology Enabled Abuse – June 7-9, 2017.

Holly, not her real name,  was herself, the victim of a revenge porn attack. She had to change her name after she says her ex-boyfriend leaked some of the most intimate moments of their three and a half year relationship online.

But stories like Holly’s are far from rare. Websites dedicated to former lovers’ explicit pictures and video are flourishing.

Some revenge porn sites even list real names, home addresses, phone numbers, work places, co-workers and family of the victims.

Holly says her university accused her of posting the material herself. She also began having had suicidal thoughts.

Her name change failed to stop trolls interfering in her professional life and the police, the FBI, and the lawyers were powerless to stop it spreading.

“It’s such a legal grey area because the laws have just not kept up with technology,” says Holly. “This is a new thing that’s happening.”

“It’s happened to celebrities in the past with sex tapes being rereleased but now it’s happening to real people.”

Around the world there’s growing pressure on governments to legislate to prevent the spread of revenge porn.

In Australia, until recent announcements, the main police powers to tackle the problem were created 12 years before the first iPhone. The Crimes Amendment (Intimate Images) Bill 2017 follows an agreement last week by federal and state governments about principles for national legislation around so-called revenge porn and image manipulation.

For Holly in the US, all she could do was fight fire with fire.  She established the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative to advocate for legislation and technological protection against revenge porn. To date the organisation has achieved significant inroads to putting this disturbing behaviour on the global agenda including the following:

Victim Services

  • Started a 24-hour Crisis Helpline in October 2014 for victims of NCP
  • Have provided, and continue to provide, support to over 4,000 online harassment victims worldwide
  • Collaborate with the Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project and 28 other attorneys to provide pro bono legal services to NCP victims

Public Education & Awareness

  • Have given presentations about NCP at universities, conferences, and to private companies such as Harvard University; University of Miami School of Law; Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence Regional Training; National Network to End Domestic Violence’s Technology Summit; National Victims of Crime Awareness week in North Bay, Canada; NCP Forum of the New York City Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence; Facebook; Google; Twitter; and many others.
  • Served on several task forces, including California’s Cyber Exploitation Task Force and the Uniform Law Commission Study Committee on Revenge Porn, among others
  • Submitted comments and recommendations to the FTC in conjunction with Without My Consent to advance the protection of consumers and the public against revengeporn website operator Craig Brittain
  • Contributed to numerous graduate school and undergraduate theses and law school students’ published notes

Tech Outreach & Consulting

  • Serve as a Trusted Partner on Twitter’s Trust & Safety Council
  • Worked with Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google to develop and implement the anti-nonconsensual pornography policies they announced in 2015

Legislative Support & Legal Research

  • Worked closely with Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s (D-CA) office in the drafting of federal legislation against nonconsensual pornography, formally named theIntimate Privacy Protection Act (IPPA)
  • Advised legislators on drafting NCP legislation in 30 states, D.C., and the federal government
  • Helped 22 US states and DC pass criminal NCP laws
  • Started a practicum at the University of Miami School of Law and helped start the New York Law School’s Cyberharassment Legal Clinic at the Tyler Clementi Institute for Online Safety

 

TAGS : Technology Safety