Microsoft Bing Accepting Revenge Porn Removal Requests

23 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

The Internet trend, in which sexually explicit content is posted to the Web without the permission of those involved, can threaten personal and business relationships, and has even led to suicide. “Much needs to be done to address the problem,” Jacqueline Beauchere, Microsoft Chief Online Safety Officer, wrote in a blog post. “As a first step, we want to help put victims back in control of their images and their privacy.” Redmond this week launched a new website, where people can report inappropriate content and ask for its removal from Bing search results, as well as OneDrive and Xbox Live. Falling in step with various recent industry moves, Microsoft has set up a formal process for removing links to so-called ‘revenge porn’ from its Bing search engine, allowing victims to notify it via a dedicated web form to have access to the content cut off.(CBS SF) — Along with a slew of websites and social media platforms, Microsoft is beefing up its policies around “revenge porn” and opting for a new system to help victims report abuse. 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.

And while search engine firms can’t remove this type of content from the Internet, they can limit access to it by making it harder for people to find online. 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.

Twitter, Reddit and Google all took action this year to either ban revenge porn or honor requests to take down links to sexually explicit images from search engines. 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. As Brian Fung writes, “we’re seeing now with Google and Microsoft, some companies are concluding that it’s much better to protect the privacy of their users than to adopt a maximalist view of free speech.” Catherine Garcia

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. 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. This law affords private individuals the right to requests that information associated with a search for their name is delisted from search results if it is outdated, irrelevant or erroneous.

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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