Italian Privacy Watchdog and Facebook against Revenge Porn

In an increasingly technological society, where information is disseminated at an unprecedented speed, the rapid exchange of data sometimes becomes a serious problem. This happens when the information concerns sensitive data of people who become real victims of a ferocious exchange, beyond any control.

In recent years there have been many reports of people (especially women) who have killed themselves after the illicit dissemination of their personal and sexually explicit images or videos. This is a real crime called “revenge porn”, consisting in the dissemination of images or videos with sexually explicit content. without the consent of the persons represented by those who created these images and by those who receive them and contribute to their further dissemination with the purpose of causing embarrassment or distress to the victim.

This is an advanced form of cyberbullying and the pornographic material can be stolen in several ways, including taking photos and videos of the victim during intimate moments through hidden cameras and hacking of the victim’s cloud space.

Against Revenge Porn, the Italian Privacy watchdog (an independent administrative authority established by the so-called privacy law) has decided to make an emergency channel available on its site.

People who are afraid of the possible dissemination of their photos or their intimate videos on Facebook or Instagram, will have the opportunity to report this risk and have the images blocked. The report can be made on a channel activated by Facebook last year in Italy, as a pilot program.

From 8 March, adults will be able to use the platform of the Privacy Guarantor to report the possible transmission of intimate photos or videos on the web, so as to have them blocked, avoiding any risk. The user is required to fill in a form to provide the relevant information to the Authority, subsequently it will be necessary to upload the images to the program through a link. Facebook will thus be able to encrypt the uploaded images through a “hash” code, making them unrecognizable before destroying them. But not only that, the photos will also become impossible to post on Facebook and Instagram.

This is certainly not a definitive solution, given that there are many other online and offline channels to spread private and sexual material, but it could constitute a reference model for many other platforms and social networks in use by millions of users.

If it is true that computer technology is in some cases a dangerous means, especially for young people, it is also true that it can also provide solutions to the problems that arise on the net.

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