Dr Ann Olivarius: revenge porn is not about freedom of expression

Revenge porn is not about freedom of expression, but about the freedom not to have your privacy invaded, said Dr Ann Olivarius, senior partner of McAllister Olivarius in the newly published RightsUp, a podcast from the Oxford Human Rights Hub.  The podcast offers perspectives from many of the world’s most distinguished experts on revenge pornography and cyber harassment.  This includes Professors Clare McGlynn and Erika Rackley – who were amongst the speakers at the first UK seminar on revenge pornography, co-hosted by McAllister Olivarius – and Professor Mary Ann Franks, who has drafted revenge porn legislation for multiple states in the US.

McAllister Olivarius operates both in the US and the UK.  Through her work with clients who have suffered revenge porn, Dr Olivarius has repeatedly seen the devastating consequences of this growing form of violence. While the new UK law criminalising revenge porn represents progress, she has criticised it for not going far enough to protect survivors.  A system of injunctions and a clear civil remedy is also needed that would require the payment of damages by perpetrators, as well as by website operators who intentionally host revenge pornography and refuse to remove it.  “Originally, the law was not designed to deal with hate crimes in cyber space and it has taken too long to change that.  Meanwhile, thousands of people watch their reputations ruined and human rights violated online.  A robust civil cause of action is one of the tools we need to stop this epidemic,” says Dr Olivarius.

The new podcast on revenge porn is the first in the RightsUp series, which aims to highlight the perspectives of experts, academics, practicing lawyers, activists and policy makers who are at the forefront of dealing with legal challenges in cyberspace.   The podcast is produced and edited by Kira Allmann, Max Harris and Laura Hilly, with music written and performed by Rosemary Allmann.