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22 June 2015

Google Acts on “Revenge Porn”

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On 19 June 2015 Google issued a  public policy  advising that, contrary to their previous practice, they have now decided to honour requests from people to remove nude or sexually explicit images shared without their consent from Google search results. Google advises that in the coming weeks they will put up a web form people can use to submit the request.

Revenge porn is typically posted by former partners and names the person the subject of the images and shares the images with their friends and relatives. The images can then find their way to porn sites.

Google cannot remove the images from the websites on which they are displayed.  The effect will be simply to prevent anyone finding the website through a Google search.

This is good news for people, usually women, who are the subject of these attacks. Clearly photos such as these were never intended for public consumption and the making public of them is designed to humiliate, offend or harass.

It would be much more effective if the laws in Australia were amended to make it a criminal offence to distribute nude or sexually explicit images without the consent of the subject.  Whilst there are certainly existing laws which can be interpreted to prosecute the publishers of revenge porn  there are few prosecutions and victims are left having to approach website after website to try and get the photos removed. This is not always successful.

Google are at least making a start on limiting the damage this type of conduct can do.

Please contact us for an appointment with one of our solicitors if we can be of assistance to you in your family law matter.

 

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