First Nationwide Reporting System for Revenge Porn Launched by Australia

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First Nationwide Reporting System for Revenge Porn Launched by Australia

AUSTRALIA PIONEERS REVENGE PORN PORTAL, FIRST OF ITS KIND TO HELP AND PROTECT VICTIMS

One modern-day malady that is increasingly realized is revenge porn, which entails recorded media getting published, usually after a relationship ends, by one partner seeking revenge on the other.  This nonconsensual distribution of explicit images has left many victims out in the cold, both in their ability to regain their privacy as well as to seek out justice for the violation.  Laws across the world have fallen far behind victims’ needs, especially where it leaves victims alone in their efforts engaging with tech giants in their efforts to take down the embarrassing media.  But Australia has launched the world’s first nationwide portal which offers support and reporting tools for revenge porn victims.

PORTAL LIVE NOW IN PILOT PHASE, OFFICIAL LAUNCH EARLY NEXT YEAR

It was last year that Australia’s eSafety Commissioner, Julie Innan Grant, announced  that she would lead the development of this online tool which is now available to Australians in a pilot phase.  The official launch will happen sometime early in 2018.  Australia’s Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield issued a press release that the Commissioner received $4.8 million in funding for the portal’s deployment, the first of its kind.  The current pilot phase will allow the team time to determine the volume and complexity of the reports received” before it officially launches.

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PORTAL HELPS VICTIMS COLECT EVIDENCE, REPORT CONTENT TO TECH COMPANIES AND LAW ENFORCEMENT, OFFERS SUPPORT

As it stands, the portal covers a lot of bases when it comes to grappling with the aftermath of revenge porn. It includes information on how victims can collect evidence, report non-consensually shared intimate images to major tech companies as well as law enforcement, and on what others can do to support victims. Victims can also file a report to the eSafety team. The team pledges to help victims with a number of different things, such as reaching out to tech companies for them in order to get a photo taken down, and using “specialized technology” to track down the image across the web. The team cannot, however, directly help victims press charges or take further legal action—but it can help connect you with the appropriate contacts.

4% OF AMERICANS REVENGE PORN VICTIMS, BUT NO ASSISTANCE YET IN SIGHT (20% OF AUSTRALIANS ARE VICTIMS)

About one in 25 Americans has been the victim of revenge porn, according to a 2016 study by the US Data & Society Research Institute and the Center for Innovative Public Health Research. For Australians, it’s about one in five, according to a study by two Melbourne universities. And while most major social media companies have policies in place that ban this type of content on their platforms, that doesn’t mean it’s always properly policed, as we saw with the thousands of current and former male Marines posting revenge porn in private Facebook groups earlier this year. Social networking companies aside, tech giants in general fail to always protect their users, as we saw with “the Fappening” iCloud leak.

FEDERAL LAWS STILL NEEDED TO REALLY PROTECT AND ASSIST REVENGE PORN VICTIMS

This portal certainly seems to serve as a streamlined and trustworthy destination for victims, but ultimately, it’s still a band-aid until federal laws dealing with distributors are passed—including in Australia. And it remains to be seen how many people will turn to the government’s service for help, or if other governments will follow with similar tools—given the astounding number of victims to date, the pilot phase may prove overwhelming.

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