This Website Can Help ‘Revenge Porn’ Victims Figure Out How to Get Their Images Off the Internet

(Photo: iStock)

If you or someone you know has been a victim of “revenge porn,” a new website can help you find the right resources to get your unauthorized images taken down.

The website was announced by California attorney general (and Senate candidate) Kamala Harris this week, and includes information on: how to take action after being the victim of cyber exploitation, privacy policies of major technology platforms,how to report improper use of intimate images, and how to have those images removed from social media sites and search engines.

“Revenge porn” — the unauthorized posting of sexually graphic images of an individual without his or her consent — is not always motivated by personal feelings toward the victim (though in some cases, it can be). Many perpetrators are hackers — such as those who leaked images of celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence last year — while others are former or current romantic partners who take secret photos, or who make public photos that were consensually obtained within the context of a relationship. 

The new website is the result of work by Harris and a newly convened task force comprised of victim advocates, legislative and law enforcement leaders, and 50 major technology companies including Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Twitter. “Posting intimate images online without consent is a cowardly crime that humiliates and belittles victims,” Harris said In a statement. “These new tools will assist law enforcement in combating cyber exploitation and support victims in seeking justice.”  

Presently, 26 states in the U.S. have some kind of “revenge porn” law on the books to protect victims and prosecute perpetrators. Harris has also sponsored two bills, signed into law and effective Jan. 1, 2016, in the California legislature to enable more effective prosecution of “revenge porn” crimes.

In addition to resources on the new California website, the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI) also provides a 24/7 confidential helpline to provide support to victims of nonconsensual pornography.

Lawrence, for one, made public that the hack and release of her private photos was “not a scandal,” but was instead “a sex crime.” 

“It is a sexual violation. It’s disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change,” she said. 

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