Has somebody shared your nudes? How one can delete revenge porn photographs

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The non-consensual sharing of intimate images, both photos and videos, remains a massive problem and the Covid-19 pandemic could have made the situation worse. According to a new study by Kaspersky, around 33% of respondents said they shared files or more explicit material with someone they only had an online relationship with.

Generation Z, who are under 24 years old, shared the most with 50% of the respondents. This compares to a meager 5% of baby boomers aged 57 to 75 and, perhaps surprisingly, 11% of 75 to 95 year olds. In addition, since the beginning of the pandemic and associated bans, Kaspersky research has shown what it calls a “significant impact” on the volume of intimate picture sharing: 19% shared more nudes and 24% got more.

With 22% of all respondents who have intimate pictures of themselves or someone else on their smartphone or laptop, up to 34% of Generation Z, the possibility of abuse is obvious. “This data paints an alarming picture of significant sensitive material that can be used to manipulate or coerce victims in areas beyond the virtual world,” said David Emm, a senior security researcher at Kaspersky.

However, the non-consensual sharing of intimate picture statistics that reveal the most about this harmful and abusive act comes from a different source. The Revenge Porn Helpline has confirmed that 75% of the victims are female, but 67% of the perpetrators that could be identified are male. Thus, the likely number of male perpetrators is even higher if they could have all been identified. In addition, 65% of these men were either current or former partners of the victim, adding to the abusive nature of this behavior, which is often an attempt to exercise control over the victim.

This can be seen even when images do not yet have to be shared publicly, but are threatened with doing so. The Revenge Porn Helpline explains this as an abusive tactic to “keep them in the relationship, control the public narrative of the breakup, keep the victim under their control, or just because they can”.

What can you do if someone shared your file without your consent?

Although prevention is much better than cure, and “take care of yourself before you share” is always a good mantra, but it is far from perfect. It’s impossible to know how someone you trust now might behave later. They can’t secure the device your pictures are sent to, and the recipient might be sloppy with passwords or give others access, for example. There is no place in this debate for so-called “slut shaming” either, and the most important thing to remember if you are a victim of non-consensual file sharing is that it is not your fault.

You are the victim here and you never chose to let this happen.

According to the Cyber ​​Civil Rights Initiative, 48 states now have laws that specifically address non-consensual pornography. In the UK, the Law Commission, an independent legal body that reviews the law of England and Wales, is developing guidelines on four new offenses that would criminalize the taking, taking and sharing of intimate pictures without consent. This includes a basic offense that prohibits both taking and sharing intimate pictures if the person does not consent and the perpetrator may have “no reasonable belief in consent”. Things would become even more serious if these images were taken or shared with the intent of “humiliating, alarming, or worrying the victim” or for sexual gratification. There are also pre-existing crimes such as “disclosing private sexual photos and movies with intent to cause distress under Section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015” so contacting law enforcement is certainly an option.

However, if you know who shared the material and you feel it is safe to do so, you can also contact them and ask that they be deleted wherever it was posted.

Even though you may not initially consider prosecuting the person who shared the pictures, it is still wise to preserve the evidence you have. The simplest method is to take a screenshot of where the picture popped up, including the date and all the details of the account it was posted to. Print these out and save them on your phone and do the same with any messages or emails from the perpetrator if you have contacted them regarding publication and removal.

It is important to act as quickly as possible and as rationally as possible. The longer the images are available, the greater the chance of spreading them further. But to be honest, depending on the platform the material was posted on and who else has access to it, if not deleted quickly, images can indeed be disseminated very quickly.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should give up before you even start.

If the images or videos were taken by yourself, you should be the copyright owner and can use this to issue a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) deactivation request against the publishing platform. While this is a matter of US copyright law, the international nature of the internet means that most web hosting and social media platforms should respond positively and quickly to such notices.

Unfortunately, cached copies of images can remain after the original is deleted, and there is the problem of copies being published elsewhere. Searching with Google’s reverse image search feature or the Yandex equivalent can help track these down.

If you are unable to remove the images from certain websites, you can still request that links to them be removed from Google search results by filling out one or both of the following opt-out request forms:

Remove non-consensual explicit or intimate personal images from Google.

Involuntarily remove fake pornography from Google.

More resources for victims of non-consensual intimate picture sharing

There are a number of resources available online for more help regaining control if you are a victim of revenge porn or the non-consensual sharing of intimate pictures, including how to deal with removal from social networks.

In the UK you can contact the Revenge Porn Helpline on 0345 6000 459 or email help@revengepornhelpline.org.uk if you are a victim of intimate picture abuse. The confidential cyber helpline service also has a guide for victims of revenge porn

For readers in the US, the Cyber ​​Civil Rights Initiative also has a Vengeance Porn Crisis Line: 844-878-CCRI (2274) and the BADASS Army (Battle Against Demeaning & Abusive Selfie Sharing) also provides practical support to victims, by providing them with “the tools they need to become their own advocates for justice” and the resources necessary to regain control of their images.

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