Consent

Yesterday Google announced it would stop its searches linking to “revenge porn” images if requested by a person whose image has been posted without consent.  We applaud Google for taking this important step.

We’ve been working to fight revenge porn, through representing clients like Chrissy Chambers and in campaigning, lobbying and giving speeches in the US and UK trying to make this practice a clear violation of the law both criminal and civil.   Google’ new policy clearly focuses on the consent of the person as the standard, which is better than the one used in many criminal statutes including the new one we worked to pass in Britain. They only punish the perpetrator if he intends to “cause distress” to the person depicted, and don’t offer any way to get the images taken down – leaving no practical recourse for someone whose images were hacked, or reposted for “kicks,” or because sites make money spreading them around.  Really, a better term than “revenge porn” for describing all of these cruel practices is “non-consensual pornography.”  By removing non-consensual pornographic images from its search results as Google has now agreed to do, it will help starve them of the oxygen they need to spread, and steer the internet away from permitting anonymous cowards to make people’s lives a living hell with impunity.

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