How Microsoft Is Waging War Against Revenge Porn

23 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

After Google, Microsoft cracks down on revenge porn as well.

Microsoft then says it will remove any links to the offending content through its bing search engine as well as remove it completely if its shared on OneDrive or Xbox Live. “Clearly, this reporting mechanism is but one small step in a growing and much-needed effort across the public and private sectors to address the problem,” said Jacqueline Beauchere, Microsoft’s child online safety officer “It’s important to remember, for example, that removing links in search results to content hosted elsewhere online doesn’t actually remove the content from the Internet – victims still need stronger protections across the Web and around the world,” she said. “We’ve heard many troubling stories of “revenge porn”: an ex-partner seeking to publicly humiliate a person… or hackers stealing and distributing images from victims’ accounts,” Google search vice president Amit Singhal said in a blog. Some point out that there are already laws that can be used against revenge porn – but these don’t always apply – victims don’t necessarily own the copyright, for example, and there’s often no attempt at extortion – or even an intention to harass.

The form requires your name, the URLs you want removed, and an honest answer about whether you provided consent for distribution; other details like additional documentation and contact information are also requested. Revenge porn refers to the sharing of intimate photographs online without the consent of the person in the photographs in an attempt to humiliate the victim. In the most severe and tragic cases, it has even led to suicide.” And while Californian ‘revenge porn kingpin’ Kevin Bollaert was jailed for 18 years in April after running a website that hosted more than 10,000 explicit photographs, the rise of blackmailing – particularly of women – online, where their emails are hacked for nude content only to be broadcast online, is still growing. This is intimate content uploaded on porn websites by disgruntled partners (can be both former or current) with the intention of humiliating the other person. In the case of revenge porn, those posting it often include identity markers, links to social media profiles, addresses, etc to ensure that the victim is truly discovered and shamed on the site.

Google last month implemented a similar program, promising to honor requests to remove from search results nude or sexually explicit content shared without consent. Microsoft remains committed to continuing to work with leaders and experts worldwide on this evolving subject, and we expect to learn a great deal as the process moves forward. In most cases, the intimate content, which includes sex tapes, naked pictures, were taken at the time of the relationship and when the relationship fails, the former partner resorts to sharing this content online to shame their ex-spouses.

In the meantime, our hope is that by helping to address requests and to remove these extremely personal photos and videos from our services, we can better support victims as they work to re-claim their privacy, and help to push just a little further in the fight against this despicable practice. Twitter, meanwhile, recently introduced new rules for user behavior, adding to sections concerning “private information” and “threats and abuse,” and making it clear that the microblogging site frowns heavily on posting inappropriate images without third-party consent. Earlier this year, the FTC banned revenge porn site operator Craig Brittain from posting risqué images without people’s consent, and ordered him to destroy his collection. A month later, revenge porn purveyor Hunter Moore pleaded guilty to hacking and identity theft charges, admitting he paid someone to break into private email accounts and steal sexually explicit images.

Where revenge porn laws in the US are concerned, there’s not a lot of clarity on the subject as this John Oliver video explains and that women have to go through a convoluted process to even file a complaint. So while Microsoft and Google have done well to disable search links to such videos, photos, the law too needs to make sure that victims can even begin to fight for justice. Google has continued resisting calls by European data protection regulators to delist right-to-be-forgotten content globally, limiting link removal for these requests to European sub-domains. It has also lobbied hard against the principle of the ruling, despite not objecting to processing removal requests for copyrighted information and other data it deems ‘sensitive,’ such as bank account details.

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