It’s been a while since I’ve written about porn, but some news happened the other day that I just couldn’t pass up. The government of Florida is in the process of passing a law that will prohibit “revenge porn.” It’s not a sub-genre I was familiar with, although it turns out the concept is probably readily understood by anyone who has spent time online.
Revenge porn happens when someone, usually a male, posts nude or sexual pictures or videos of an ex- on the net without that person’s permission. The sentiment is fairly easy to understand, although that doesn’t make it excusable – one party to a relationship is angry at another, so they seek to hurt, shame or sometimes even extort that person by publicly sharing what is otherwise private imagery.
A bunch of sites have sprung up to cater to such people, including IsAnyoneDown.com, Texxxas.com and Ugotposted.com (the first two look to be down and that last one is definitely not safe for work), with some getting hundreds of thousands of visitors a day. Some of them make good advertising money, while others supplement their revenue stream by charging victims a fee to remove their photos. Some also go a step further by including personal information about the people in the photos, such as their email addresses or links to their Facebook profiles.
It’s about as slimy as the internet gets. While the knee-jerk reaction for free speech, anonymity and general internet proponents is to bristle against the sorts of laws that Florida is proposing, this is the sort of thing that just doesn’t seem defensible. Read the rest of this entry »