Battling "Revenge Porn" with legal action

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It is called Revenge Porn, intimate pictures - usually of women - uploaded onto sites by angry ex-lovers or someone who has stolen their pictures. Some of the shots are consensual but the sharing of them is not. And once they are out there on sites that can add identifying details such as names, addresses, emails ... the subjects in the picture can do little about it. It is against that backdrop and that frustration that a Texas lawyer is attempting a class action lawsuit against one website. Today, we look at what the law can and cannot do in the U.S. and here in Canada.



Hollie Toups & her lawyer John Morgan

At first I felt like I had been hit by a train, I fell back in my bed felt like the wind got knocked out of my and I panicked and I was in shock.

That's Marianna Taschinger describing her feelings after discovering naked photos of herself on the Internet. The Texas woman had taken the pictures for a former boyfriend. Not only were they now on-line, they were posted on a "revenge porn" website.

The website Texxxan.com was a virtual bathroom wall, where jilted lovers retaliated by posting explicit photos of former partners. Eager to fight back, Marianna Taschinger turned to the courts. She and more than two dozen other women plan a class-action lawsuit against Texxxan.com and its host company GoDaddy.

Hollie Toups is one of those women. She and her lawyer John Morgan were in southeast Texas.

Professor at Santa Clara University's School of Law, Eric Goldman

We started this segment with Adam Steinbaugh, a former security abuse specialist for MySpace.com, with some ideas on how to scrub pictures from the internet.

As we heard earlier, Hollie Toups and Marianna Taschinger have the support of a lawyer ... but our next guest isn't convinced legal action is the best way to fight revenge porn.

Eric Goldman is a professor at Santa Clara University's School of Law. We reached him in Mountain View, California.

Associate Law Professor at the University of Ottawa, Carissima Mathen

In Canada, it may be hard even to be legally considered a victim of revenge porn. Carissima Mathen is an associate law professor at the University of Ottawa.

This segment was produced by The Current's Vanessa Greco.

To add to anything you hear on The Current, email us from our website. Or tweet us @thecurrentcbc. You can also download the podcast from our website.


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