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Sourced from News.com.au (http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/hacking/how-to-find-out-if-your-nude-photos-have-been-shared-online-and-what-to-do-if-they-have/news-story/6ddc5002e40f311c0f7135404a9f452d)
ONE in 10 Australians have had a nude image uploaded without their consent. You could be that person without even realising it.
When it comes to revenge porn, one click of the camera is all it takes.
You don’t need to send an image for it to be abused by someone. Your device or cloud storage platform can be hacked with ease.
Earlier this month, news.com.au exposed the fact a number of vile blogs were publishing photos of Aussies without their knowledge while they were naked, at the gym or in a public toilet. The abuses are boundless.
“Some members of photo and video sharing platforms encourage users to post identifying information about the person in the photos and videos. They also encourage other users to contact the people in the photos and videos to abuse, threaten or scare them,” the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner says.
“Some ‘rate’ the people in the photos and videos and make demeaning comments.”
A 2015 report found 10 per cent of Australians reported that someone had posted online or sent
La Trobe University legal studies lecturer Nicola Henry said people were “trading images like baseball cards”.
As victims are left to clean up their lives, outdated and often ineffective laws mean offenders get away with it.
Not-safe-for-work images thrive on social platforms like Tumblr, while other sites such as Flickr, Twitter, Google and Reddit have taken tougher stances on revenge porn and those responsible.
But squashing revenge porn continues to remain problematic, and it seems like we’re losing the battle.
“So often, people are probably unaware that their images are out there,” Children’s eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman-Grant told news.com.au.
“There is no such thing as disappearing media. Once it’s out there, you lose control of it. It could end up anywhere.”
WHAT IS REVENGE PORN?
Revenge porn, commonly referred to as “image based abuse”, is when revealing or sexually explicit images or videos of a person are posted online without the consent of the subject. Often, ex-lovers are responsible for uploading the content, but not always. Hacking or catfishing — the act of luring someone into a relationship by adopting a fictional online persona — can also be to blame.
HOW TO FIND OUT IF YOUR NUDES ARE ONLINE
Three words: Reverse image search.
● Visit Google Images
● Click the camera icon for “search by image”
● Click the “upload an image” tab
● Click “choose file”
● Select an image from your computer
A set of algorithms will discover web pages where that image appears.
SO YOU’VE BEEN TARGETED — WHAT DO YOU DO?
The scary reality is that once your pictures are online, there’s very little that official organisations can do.
First, go directly to the site and request that it be taken down. All sites have reporting tools, though are often well hidden.
If that fails, the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) “allows you to securely report cybercrime incidents which may be in breach of Australian law”.
However, this Australian government initiative is not designed to help in urgent matters.
As one man whose nudes were uploaded to a porn page on Tumblr discovered: “I submitted a report (to ACORN) and got an auto-response saying they can’t guarantee a time frame or that they can’t do anything about it.
“I got an email back saying if I wasn’t willing to press charges there’s no case for them to investigate. They wouldn’t even take the photos down if I wasn’t willing to prosecute the person who did it.”
If you become frustrated with ACORN, you can lodge a complaint with the police.
“If the image depicts a child (under the age of 18), it is deemed child abuse material, which is an offence to produce, possess and/or disseminate,” a NSW police spokesperson told news.com.au.
If the image depicts an adult, there are potential offences but the criminality generally revolves around the circumstances of how the image was produced, such as hiding a video camera in a bathroom or bedroom and capturing those images without the consent of the victim.
It can be difficult to investigate matters where adult victims are involved who have consensually sent naked images of themselves to others. Once these images are online or in someone else’s possession, it’s out of the control of the person in the photo — and the image can be used or shared by others.
There are often difficulties in tracing possible offenders as many of the websites enable anonymous posting, and when the website is based overseas it can become problematic to have the images removed.
The best advice is to think carefully before you send naked pictures of yourself. Once you hit send, you lose control over the situation.
THE BIG PROBLEM
Finding and prosecuting the perpetrator isn’t an easy business. For Australian enforcement to get involved, the perpetrator would need to be located within the country.
“These are the problems with these types of cyber crimes; the perpetrator could be anywhere,” cyber security expert Dr Henry said.
“The legislative frameworks in Australia are limited. If you don’t know who the perpetrator is or they are located overseas then how do police proceed with prosecution?”
Dr Henry said authorities act in instances of stalking, upskirting, copyright infringement or threatening to distribute an image, but there were “so many limitations”.
“They are limited because they don’t all apply to image based abuse,” she said.
“The victim needs to have the money and resources to be able to pursue a civil claim. It’s a private action and you need to have money to support your case. For the average Australian victim of image based abuse, that’s not an option.”
Ms Inman-Grant said the issue was a “global phenomenon”.
“We’ve issued take down notices to some overseas sites saying a post violates our laws. Sometimes we’re successful,” she said.
“Nobody wants to be blatantly violating the law. We’ll use all the tools we have at our disposal. For the time being, what we’re seeking is more tools.”
THERE IS GOOD NEWS
The federal government has announced it will work with states and territories “to have some consistent provisions that are specifically targeted at revenge porn”, Ms Inman-Grant said.
“The civil penalty regimen could give all victims another set of legal remedies from which to pursue with criminal proceedings,” she said.
Also, the Office of the eSafety Commissioner has received funding to build a revenge porn tool for easier reporting online.
“We’re scoping what that might look like right now,” Ms Inman-Grant said. “I think initially it will be a reporting site, it will effectively become another complaints platform.”
The Commissioner expects phase one of the online portal to be open and available to the public by midyear 2017.
Lifeline offers 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services. Phone 13 11 14 or click here.
Published by Internet Removals, Gold Coast. More information contact Internet Removals on 1300 039 196.