Help for 'revenge porn' victims

Trading revenge porn like baseball cards
Trading revenge porn like baseball cards

What do you do when an ex posts nude photos of you online without permission?

It's a simple question that has a very complex and often frustrating answer. Now, victims of "revenge porn" can start by going to a new website.

Created by the California Attorney General's office, the webpage is an extensive collection of resources and links for victims, law enforcement and technology companies across the United States. It's one of the first centralized collections of official information about dealing with the non-consensual posting of nude images or videos.

Victims can learn what their legal options are and if any laws have been broken. The most useful page includes links to the take-down request pages for major websites, including Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30), Facebook (FB, Tech30), Pinterest, Reddit, 4chan and Yahoo (YHOO, Tech30).

Many victims have complained about a lack of understanding, or even basic knowledge, when they take their case to police. A section on the site includes a training guide for California law enforcement and spells out exactly what laws and practices they should know when handling cyber exploitation.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris is also sending the information directly to law enforcement as a bulletin.

The site is the result of a year-long collaboration between victims rights groups, law enforcement, and major technology companies including Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter (TWTR, Tech30), Yahoo and Google.

It includes a new list of suggested practices for tech companies dealing with cyber exploitation. The practices are not enforceable, but for tech firms, being proactive is preferable to additional regulation or lawsuits.

Over the past year, individual tech companies like Google, Reddit and Facebook have created tools for victims of cyber exploitation who want images removed from search results, webpages or apps.

The website is just one part of a larger push by Harris to address the issue of revenge porn. Starting next year, two new laws will help law enforcement investigate and prosecute cyber exploitation cases.

The group that worked on the initiative hopes to rebrand the salaciously named "revenge porn" as "cyber exploitation."

"There is no behavior that they have been engaged in that would deserve revenge," said Harris at a press conference announcing the site. She called the term "revenge porn" inaccurate and misleading.

Twenty-six states currently have some cyber exploitation law on their books. Even when they don't, the parties involved can often be prosecuted for stalking, harassment, threats, or invasion of privacy, according to Danielle Keats Citron, a University of Maryland law school professor.

"It's a model for all 50 states and 14 territories to follow," said Keats of the new site. "My call is for the rest of the states to follow this incredible example."

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