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Welcome to the porn revenge generation

It had to happen sooner or later. It has just happened. Whether it was sooner or later is irrelevant to the victims.

Up till yesterday porn revenge was not a reality we had read about in the local context. There were cases of Maltese persons voluntarily posting on the Internet lewd photos of them. There were cases, one of them quite infamous, when someone emailed to a number of persons very compromising photos of his ex-boyfriend.

Now we have had the first site with naked pictures of Maltese girls. This morning The Times reported a story penned by Patrick Cooke, titled: Women’s misery as nude selfies are shared online.” These pictures, it seems were taken voluntarily but they were placed on the internet without the consent of the person in question.

Porn revenge is now a Maltese reality.

Porn revenge happens when someone places on the Internet the lewd photos of another person. The lewd photo explains the use if the word ‘porn’ in the equation. Most of these pictures had originally been taken voluntarily. Many are selfies. Others are photos taken by the person’s boyfriend or girlfriend or some other kind of friend which in the end turns out to be no friend at all.

The word ‘revenge’ completes the phrase as generally such pictures are placed on the internet by an angry person – generally an abandoned lover. Sometimes these pictures are hacked from somebody’s computer or mobile device.

Porn revenge is possible because of the stupidity of some people and the callousness of those who exploit this stupidity. Only stupid people (I use the word stupid to be kind) take naked pictures of themselves and distribute them to others or leave them lying on their desktop for any hacker to feast on.

It seems that the site in question has been taken down. But the photos must have made – and probably are still making – the rounds through email and other electronic means of distribution. The legal situation makes the prosecution of such cases difficult in concrete situations. But even if it were not so, the embarrassment that must accompany such incidents must be enormous.

According to Wikipedia the legal situation is the following:

“In January 2014, Israel became the first country to pass a law that classifies revenge porn as a sex crime. Sharing sexually explicit videos without the consent of the pictured individual will be punishable by up to five years in prison.

France criminalises the wilful violation of the intimate private life of another by ‘transmitting the picture of a person who is within a private place, without the consent of the person concerned.’

The Philippines criminalizes copying, reproducing, sharing or exhibiting sexually explicit images or videos over the Internet without written consent of the individual depicted.

The Australian state of Victoria modified its pre-existing sexting laws to prohibit the sending of sexually explicit pictures of a third-party. Canada is considering a bill that criminalizes the "non-consensual distribution of intimate images" and authorizes the removal of revenge porn from the internet.”

I don’t want to be pessimistic but though this storm seems to be, sort of, over – since the site was closed – I would not be surprised that another such site would be put up somewhere else soon. If people continue to take such selfies with their mobile devices they are just courting trouble.

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