ICYMI: THE INTIMATE PRIVACY PROTECTION ACT AND NON-CONSENSUAL PORNOGRAPHY
This piece of news went by unnoticed last week, so here's what you missed, and some more information about NCP.
- •Last week, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) introduced a revolutionary bill, the Intimate Privacy Protection Act, which could make distributing non-consensual pornography (aka "revenge porn") a federal crime. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-cyber-congress-pornography-idUSKCN0ZU2JTIf passed, anyone posting naked photos of another person without their knowledge or consent could face fines and up to 5 years in prison. This would apply whether the photos were posted for spite or for profit (or both, as is often the case).
- •Facebook, Twitter, and other sites are in support of this bill, as it would absolve them from prosecution, "unless like revenge porn website operators, they specifically promote non-consensual nude images."When pressed for comment about Facebook's support of the bill, a spokesperson said: "Using intimate content to intentionally shame, embarrass or control someone is abhorrent." http://fusion.net/story/325638/jackie-speier-revenge-porn-bill/
- •It is abhorrent, and yet, it's far too common. Non-consensual pornography (NCP) is a form of online harassment in which one person posts nude or intimate photos and/or videos of another on the Internet without their "affirmative express consent."While it is often called "revenge porn," victims, lawmakers and advocates are calling for a ban on this phrase, as it implies that the victim did something to deserve a violation of privacy.
- •According to an estimate from NYMag, there are over 2,000 sites on the Internet dedicated to NCP. Most of them are not sites that you can find by searching for them on Google, as they exist solely on the deep web.
- •Even though men can be - and often are - victims of NCP, the crime disproportionately affects women. As reported by the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, 90% of victims of NCP are women. http://www.cybercivilrights.org/guide-to-legislation/This is important, because NCP is about power, shame, and control. Aggressors know the damage NCP can cause to women in a society that hates them for being sexual. That is exactly why they do it. The ability to ruin a woman's reputation with some nude photos wouldn't exist if not for a system that was set up for it to work that way. Here's a great piece on this issue: http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/06/6-reasons-why-revenge-porn-is-actually-really-fcked-up-and-how-one-woman-is-pushing-back/
- •More than half of the sites dedicated to NCP will post the victim's full name, address, phone number, and/or social media accounts along with their photos, making it impossible for victims to protect themselves from anyone.NCP sites cling to the First Amendment, claiming that posting photos of users' exes without their knowledge or consent is within their right to "free speech."
- •People have had to jump through some unbelievable hoops to get their photos removed. One woman notoriously had to copyright her breasts in order to get her pictures taken down. http://money.cnn.com/2015/04/26/technology/copyright-boobs-revenge-porn/Luckily she didn't have to submit to the Library of Congress, but her name and titles of the images appear in the catalog.
- •Victims report loss of jobs and damage done to both friendships and romantic relationships. Many experience depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and issues around body image.
- •In the same study done by CCRI, it was revealed that 42% of victims had considered changing their name to avoid being judged or further harassed based on these photos. 49% reported that they were harassed or stalked online after being posted. 57% believed that it would continue to affect their professional lives in the future.
- •And the most heartbreaking statistic of all: 51% have considered suicide.
- •I shared my story about my own experience with NCP over social media after the man who ran the site that hosted my photos, Hunter Moore, was sentenced to jail time for a measly 6 months and ordered to pay an extremely cheap fine. None of us feel this was justice.There are thousands of other women out there who were victimized by Moore. He not only took anonymous submissions through his website, he even went so far as to hire people to hack into women's phones and computers to steal their photos. (But yeah, only 6 months.)
- •I could have said nothing. But I decided to speak up after realizing that it has become more shameful in our society to admit that you took a naked photo of yourself than it is to be the kind of person who posts someone else's naked photos on the Internet with the intent to shame or harass.
- •Needless to say, this bill means a lot. It means someone is actively lobbying for our protection. Finally.
- •If you or someone you know is a victim of NCP, call CCRI's crisis helpline for advice and support at 844-878-2274 (CCRI)
- •34 states (and DC) have passed laws regarding NCP at the state level. Check to see if your state is on the list and know your rights: http://www.cybercivilrights.org/revenge-porn-laws/
- •Talk to an attorney. Without My Consent has an excellent list of conversations to have with your lawyer: http://www.withoutmyconsent.org/resources/conversations-have-your-lawyer
- •Visit WARP (Women Against Revenge Porn) for tips on photo removal and how to report to law enforcement: http://www.womenagainstrevengeporn.com/%23!photo-removal/c9fv