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VIOLENCE

CYBER VIOLENCE

REVENGE PORN

A very serious form of cyber violence is the dissemination of intimate photographs or videos online without the permission of the person being portrayed. This violence is committed mainly by ex-partners. Data shows that 90% of revenge porn victims are women. The number of cases is still rising and the age of both victims and perpetrators is significantly falling, often below 15 years.

These may be photos or videos that you shared with your partner because you trusted him or her, or those that were taken without your consent.

When a perpetrator shares such content online, the victim has no control about who sees it. Helplessness, breach of trust, and humiliation are feelings which leave a deep scar. In some cases, it even led to girls committing suicide, or endangered their chances for a meaningful romantic relationship in the future.

Once something appears online, it’s really hard to remove it forever. 

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HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF?

If someone is pushing or manipulating you into sending them an intimate photo, you really don't have to do it if you don't want to.

Manipulation and coercion are NEVER expressions of love. If anyone claims that it is your duty in a relationship or makes you feel guilty for not wanting to send nudes, tell them off. Love is not about enforcing obligations. You don't want to be in that kind of relationship. 

If you really want to send the picture, do it like this:

  • never ever send pictures which show your face too,

  • erase any tattoos, moles, jewelry, bedroom details, diplomas, or background pictures that could easily identify you

  • disable GPS on your phone when taking your picture, so the recipient does not suddenly knock on your door,

  • for older pictures, use apps which delete GPS data from photos (e.g. Photo Extension No GPS) that can delete the GPS data from older pictures. 

Be aware. There are apps that can bypass the temporary nature of Snapchat or Instagram, which lead you to believe the picture you sent will be deleted automatically after a few seconds. Any app can be bypassed, and once you send the picture, you lose control of it. These apps (tweak apps) will make sure your picture downloads automatically directly onto the recipient’s phone. Simply put, the picture will remain online even if you send it through apps promising to delete it within seconds. Anything sent from a smartphone can live forever online. 

FIVE RULES

1) When anybody tells you, they do not want to send you a nude, do not push it, do not manipulate them, do not blackmail. Such a refusal really does not mean they don’t trust you or do not like you. 

 

And if someone says “no” twice, it does not mean yes. The word “no” does not mean “maybe”. Simply, “NO” means “NO”.
 

2) Your partner showed a great amount of trust by sending you a nude. Do not send or show it to your friends. 

 

3) If you break up, it is ethical to delete all such pictures. 

4) Anything can happen in a relationship, do not let emotions control you and do not publish any pictures anywhere online. You would probably hurt you partner for the rest of their life. 

 

5) Just apply the golden rule: “Treat others the way you want to be treated”.

TWEAK APPS

Have you come across an app that looked normal but contained two little ++, as well? ++Apps or “the Tweak Apps” are a new app phenomenon. You will not find them in any established app store (Google Play or App Store). However, looking at the Google Play Store will give you few hints about other alternative app stores. These are correctly dubbed “alternative”, since they offer apps that are not always legal and often using them means breaking the law. 

They let users bypass all classic rules and, for example, download a picture that should have been available only for a few seconds and then delete itself. It is simply not alright if the sender doesn’t have a clue the picture remains in the recipient’s phone. 

 

You are, probably, a user of apps like Snapchat or Instagram that offer an option to send someone a self-deleting picture. Normally, when using Instagram and Snapchat, you will receive a notification in case someone takes a screenshot of your photo, but the ++ application will easily bypass that function. Moreover, these apps can make sure that their users will not show in the list of people who have watched someone's story or remove a notification that a message has been opened.

 

Imagine a situation: You chat on Instagram with a boy you like. You have met several times and you get on well. After a short time, he asks for a picture. You are sure you will see if he makes a screenshot. And you count on the self-deleting picture function. So, you send him one: a picture where practically no identifying information can be seen. He sends you one back. When you exchange ten pictures, you send him one with your face visible. If the boy is a bit skilful, it may easily happen that all his friends will see your pictures and sometime later, you find yourself on a webpage you would not like to be on for sure. Then, it’s up to the owner of that website what happens to your picture.

 

Always be careful, even when you are using networks and apps you know. And remember, everything you send, or upload remains online forever. 

DEEPFAKE

Deepfake is a technology that works on an artificial intelligence (AI) principle. It produces videos where real people say unreal things. It is really hard to recognize it’s a fake. 

It works like this: A massive amount of data is collected, such as pictures and videos of a real person. These are then altered by software. The easiest deepfake is to create some celebrity video since there are many pictures and videos of them available. After that, the software creates a detailed 3-D modelling of a face, including many facial expressions, skin structure, curves, and wrinkles. Thanks to that, you can later make this virtually modelled person smile, grin, or say anything that comes to your mind. And it is only one step from pasting this face onto someone else’s body. 

It is not hard to imagine the danger this technology presents. Watch this video, for example:

First the deepfake technology appeared in the porn industry when the faces of porn actors and actresses were replaced with celebrities. At least for celebrities, it is easier to prove that these videos are not real. 

But the more this technology becomes popular and available, the more people use it to get revenge, to humiliate and discredit women who only have a small range of public pictures and videos.  When a deepfake victim sees themselves in a video she did not shoot, it is particularly difficult to prove the falsity to their friends, family, or employer. 

Most public discussions about deepfakes have, until now, focused on potential political consequences this technology may cause in the future. What if a viral video appears in which the US president launches a nuclear strike on the North Korea? Could the real president respond soon enough to prevent a disaster?

It is a chilling vision but using deepfakes to humiliate women remains more probable. 

 

Offenders can simply force women to do things they don't want to do - at least virtually. The worst part is that the victim cannot protect herself or himself if he or she does not want to disappear from the online world completely.

 

But as more and more people realize what can be created with deepfakes, they will become more sceptical about what they see online.

DEEPNUDE

Deepnudes work similarly. Using an app, you can delete clothes from any uploaded picture. It breaks the victim’s privacy and if such pictures spread online, they may cause serious harm.

It's actually pretty simple: If you don't have a permission from someone to distribute their photos or videos, don't do it.

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CATFISHING

The term “catfish” in an online phenomenon when predators create online fake identities to lure people to relationships. 

If you spend a lot of time interacting with people online, it is possible that you have already encountered catfishing - as a victim or as a perpetrator.

A catfisher is someone who uses false information to create a fake online persona. This usually means using stolen or edited photographs obtained from a third party without the victim's knowledge. The perpetrator then creates an attractive version of his virtual self and initiates an interaction with another person (or people).