How to protect yourself from "revenge porn" - AmericaNowNews.com

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How to protect yourself from "revenge porn"

Vindictive ex-lovers are posting personal videos and private pictures. It's happening to a lot of people. Here's how to protect yourself from "revenge porn."

The back-and-forth exchange of sexy pictures and videos between couples may seem like romantic fun, but what happens if the relationship sours? For a growing number of women, those images are coming back to haunt them as their spiteful exes post them to pornographic web sites.

Charlotte Laws is a women's rights advocate who is working to make revenge porn a crime. It's more common than people realize because victims tend to not come out. They don't want that information disseminated further.

It seems that anyone is vulnerable. Charlotte says, "We have executives. We have people with children. And the pictures are sent out to their kids and their kids' schoolmates. I mean, kit's really, really horrible because a lot of people are affected. Not just the person but also their entire family."

Holly Jacobs was a teaching assistant when her boyfriend of three-and-a-half years engaged her in an explicit webcam chat that he secretly recorded. She says, "I completely trusted him. And I loved him, and I thought he was someone I could spend the rest of my life with."

But when Jacobs ended their relationship, her ex got even by posting that webcam video on sites specifically created to defame ex-wives and girlfriends and they went viral.

"It was terrifying," Holly explains, "There's so many emotions that you go through when this happens. I guess the best way I can put it is you just go into complete shock and just want to hide."

Jacobs was stunned to learn her ex didn't do anything illegal. That inspired her to create EndRevengePorn.org because the police kept turning her away saying there were no laws against it.

It's not just ex-wives and girlfriends who are being victimized. Complete strangers are hacking into computers and cell phones of women to steal private photos and then sell them to revenge porn sites. It's that kind of scenario that prompted Charlotte Laws to take action of her own.

Charlotte says, "My daughter had taken some photographs in her room with her cell phone. And she wanted to put them on her computer. So she sent them through her cell phone to her computer. A week later, one of these pictures ended up on a revenge porn website. And I did ask the website to remove her photo and the website operator refused."

Laws discovered forty other women whose photos were stolen by the same hacker. So Laws contacted them, compiled a stack of evidence, and took it to the FBI.

Laws says the best way to protect yourself is to register your digital pictures in bulk with the U.S. copyright office, which you can do online for $35 dollars. Charlotte explains, "The only time you really have strong recourse is if you own the copyright to the pictures. And the reason why you might want to do that is if you're going to have a lawsuit, a civil case, then you need to register them first."

Laws says in the digital era, it's getting harder to safeguard your privacy and that's why she's pushing hard for legislation to protect women who, like her own daughter, have been scandalized and humiliated online.

If you or someone you know becomes a victim of "revenge porn," you can find legal options and emotional advice at WithoutMyConsent.org.

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