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Revenge porn: definition

The victims are primarily young women and, in many cases, the perpetrators are ex-partners or others who wish to humiliate and damage the reputation of the victim by publishing this material.

In recent years, the increase in activities such as sexting (sending of sexually explicit personal images) has also led to a rise in cases of revenge porn.

Revenge porn is a crime that is punishable in law

In Spain, the Data Protection Agency warns that blackmailing or threatening to spread explicit images, videos or audio of a partner without consent is a form of gender-based violence. Anyone responsible for the publication or sharing of such material may be liable to fines and prison sentences ranging from three months to a year (article 197.1 of the Spanish Penal Code).

As such, anyone publishing explicit images of another person -taken with or without consent- is commiting a crime of sexual abuse as, although there is no physical violence, there is psychological harm, which is punishable by law. Revenge porn can be reported to the relevant agencies, such as (in Spain) the National Police, or the Digital Crime Agency of the Civil Guard. There are also websites like Protección Online, focused on increasing awareness of this type of activity.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that came into force in the European Union in 2018 refers specifically to this type of crime, which has led to additional measures being adopted in national legislation.

How to protect yourself

  • The simplest way to protect yourself is not to appear in compromising photos. Once an image is digitalized, there are inevitable risks that arise: publication without consent, theft of devices or hacking, etc. Nowadays, all smartphones, tablets and computers pose a risk, as they are all connected to the Internet at some time or another, and most of them do not even have basic protection.
  • Anyone sending images or files should take basic security measures. It is advisable to encrypt data at least, to make it difficult for third parties to access it.
  • You should install a smart security solution on your devices that protects specifically against intruders.
  • Don't keep compromising images of others on your devices. Whether they are videos recorded among friends as a joke, photographs of the family on holiday, or ex-partners. And if someone has such images of you, make sure they are deleted.
  • Victims of revenge porn are often young people or teenagers. As with many other problems, it can arise from their online activity so it is important to have good communication between parents and children not only to prevent problems, but also to resolve them.
  • Never post sensitive information on social networks, dating sites or instant messaging platforms. If you discover that someone has shared images of you on any of these sites, you have the right to directly contact the administrator and demand their immediate withdrawal.

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