How to act if we are a victim of the dissemination of intimate content without consent?
Imagine the following situation: you are on the street, you return home from work and you are too busy answering some messages with your mobile. So busy that you don’t realize you’re crossing a crosswalk without looking both ways to make sure you can get through. Due to your lack of caution and that of the person driving the car, you get run over. However,Can you imagine that person being told: “You deserve it, it’s your fault«? Probably, no one would make such comments, since it is the right of that person to go through the pedestrian crossing and it is the vehicles that must respect it.
This is the example that Ofelia Tejerina Rodriguezpresident of the Association of Internet Users and postgraduate professor at ICADE, exposes her students to link with the following: ¿why do we blame a victim that you have suffered an attack on your privacy with the dissemination of intimate content on the network?
Since the pandemic, the virtual sphere has, for some people, more weight than physical life. There are people who transfer behaviors that are exercised on the street to the virtual environment. According to Ofelia, these people take advantage of the anonymity of the Internet to carry out actions that they are not capable of doing in physical life. «They believe that they will never be found because of their attacks. but they are wrong“, it states.
Throughout this article we collect a conversation that we have had with the president of the Association of Internet Users to answer several essential questions. Since,how to help people who have suffered an attack on privacy?; Is it a crime to retweet this type of content? What mechanisms exist to help victims? among other.
How can we protect ourselves from the dissemination of private content without consent?
«With education from a very early age. There are many voices of experts who work with adolescents who have a diagnosed addiction to technology and say that, in some cases, there is a certain involution towards bad behaviors that we thought had already been overcome. 20 years ago we were shocked to see a photograph of pseudo erotic content in the middle of the town square and this, today, has evolved negatively with social networks.
When someone exposes that image and others consider themselves with the right to share and disrespect, a problem is created. No one has explained to them that attack on privacy and honor of a person is not legal. And that is where we are losing the battle. There is also the importance of education in consequences for the whole society. Many times I see young people explaining to them: do not record certain videos, do not share them with anyone, do not take certain photos, do not post them on social media profiles, etc., and if you do, know that these may be the consequences . For example, you can end up on pages or networks of sexual predators.
Obviously people are free to share what we want. But it is our job that of public administrations, educators, lawyers, etc. to explain that just as there are possible solutions; there are risks that can be minimized and even avoided by taking precautions«.
How can we help a person who has suffered this type of attack?
“Society has to understand that the person attacked he is not guilty of making that type of content and sharing it with whoever he wants. It is their right and these people are victims if someone uses it against them.
The Intimacy series deals with two cases of attacks on privacy with the dissemination of intimate content without consent. Being one of them, the real case of Veronica, an Iveco worker, who committed suicide when a sexual video of hers went viral. If at that time society had been aware that this woman was a victim and had helped and protected her from it, we would have done things right. In these types of attacks, psychological support is essential. Above all, when that person is young and does not fully understand that social networks are not his life. At least, they should not be so powerful, because life is outside, in the street.
The first thing to do in the face of this type of attack is to offer psychological support and, also, from society. Here, the role of journalists is key to transfer these news to us with headlines that make it clear that this person is a victim and, therefore, that they must be helped and supported.
What legal mechanisms in Spain protect victims?
“We have several possibilities: Administrative route; Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) through its Priority Channel; If we know the author of the aggression, go to a lawyer to file a civil lawsuit; Y criminal way, when we are before very serious cases. If they are minors then, in addition, they may resort to the Juvenile Prosecutor’s Officedepending on the case.
Another very practical option is hire a cybersecurity expert, which locates where the contents are in order to request that as many as possible be removed. You can also exercise known as, “right to be forgotten” before Google. To do this, you must enter the form that this specific search engine has for these cases and point out the links where the contents are so that the company, with its process for processing this type of claim, confirms whether or not it is removed from the search results. It must be made clear that this does not delete the content hosted under a web page, only the result is deleted. That is, if someone searches for the person’s name, that content will not appear in the list. To remove it from the hosting, you must go to the administrator of the web, the social network, etc.»
How can we encourage a victim to report?
“When that content circulates on the Internet we have to think about this scenario:I have consented to record that video? Yes.I have consented for a third person to have it? Yes.I have consented for that third person to spread it privately or openly? Yes. If you do not have the 3 consents you cannot spread.
Here, filing a complaint is such a personal decision that the only thing that can be done is to guide and indicate the complaint options that exist. The first thing is do not immediately delete evidence. You have to try to get as many as possible to demonstrate aggression: what has been published and where. Screenshots, impressions of web pages where the contents are, etc. Once we have all this information, the complaint will be made to work on cutting that diffusion in the bud.
The fastest option, approximately one month, is to put yourself in the hands of the Spanish Agency for Data Protection. For their part, the social networks have complaint channels. Once they receive it, they make their decisions about whether or not the content seems illegal and, therefore, whether to remove it or not.
It seems that more and more people are encouraged to report because society is understanding that They are victims and they are not to blame for what has been done to them. They have not consented, they did not want that damage. The news that is published in this sense must make it clear that people have the right to make an erotic video and pass it on to our partner. Who does it wrong is the person who spreads it. We hope that taking the step and denouncing it will become normalized and, above all, that more and more people do not share this illegal content.
What is the penalty for people who exercise this type of aggression?
“There are many cases and types of crimes, some are even the sum of several actions. A single action can lead to several types of crime. For example, we cannot talk about cyberbullying without thinking about all the behaviors that are committed up to that point.
The article 197 of the Penal Code establishes the penalties for the crime of discovery and disclosure of secrets as a violation of the privacy of another person without their consent. Specifically, point 3 says: “the prison sentence of two to five years will be imposed if the data or facts discovered or the captured images referred to in the previous numbers are disseminated, revealed or transferred to third parties.” Also, if it is between couples it can have the aggravating circumstance of gender violence. Therefore, that penalty may be higher.
Sometimes, people who carry out the dissemination of intimate content without consent also stalk the victim. In other words, they follow and monitor a person with a repetitive behavior causing the victim to be intimidated through the networks and, sometimes, on the street. The crime of harassment is included in the article 172 of the Penal Code with sentences of 1 to 2 years. All this depends on how they have acted, the evidence they have and how many people have participated.
Is it a crime to retweet this type of content?
“Right now, article 197 of the Criminal Code includes a section that says: the penalty of 2 to 5 years if revealed to third parties the data or facts discovered or the images captured, knowing that their origin is illicit and without having taken part in their discovery. So, if I am a necessary part of the chain: spread, reveal, give away, etc., those data or facts discovered, I could be charged and convicted.
Now, can we frame this in retweets? It seems complex to me. First you will have to see the degree of contribution to the damage. Having 100 followers is not the same as having thousands of followers. In that case, I believe that some type of sanction could be applied. But, this is the decision of the judges, in specific cases, since they are the ones who see and decide the degree of participation of the person or persons. In the end, It is not easy to create a law for those people who share illegal content through a retweet. The theory is that we all want people who do harm to pay, but executing this in the reality of the Internet involves looking at too many complex issues, such as censorship or automated interactions without intention or will.
Drafting standards is a very complex thing.how do we apply it to technology when it is so changing? You have to see all the possibilities that exist.
Visibility to stop the spread of intimate content without permission
As Ofelia has explained, the Internet is the perfect place for people who want to attack the image, honor and privacy of another individual. There are cases of public figures such as Olvido Hormigos or Santi Millán, but, unfortunately, there are more that are unknown. Spain, located within the European legal framework, is one of the countries that most protects victims under the law.
The most important thing is that people who have suffered this type of aggression know that they are not alone, that we all understand the fact that they suffer, that what has been done to them is illegal and that they are victims. Should not they should not feel ashamed for an act performed by a third party. Therapy and support from your close circle is vital to be able to deal with this situation.
As Ofelia explained, you don’t have to erase evidence. Everything serves to demonstrate this aggression against privacy. Before spreading think about how it can affect another person. Because this is not a problem that only affects the victim, it is a problem that affects us all as a society. Let’s stop doing what we don’t want to be done to us.