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Revenge porn: Is it time for a statutory privacy tort?

Revenge porn: Is it time for a statutory privacy tort?

By Roshaan S Raina

Legislation Social Media Torts 


Should a federal tort for an interference in privacy be established to provide mechanisms for victims to deal with revenge porn? Revenge porn is the malicious disclosure of sexually explicit material without the consent of the victim by a vengeful ex-partner.1 The explicit material is initially created and shared within the confines of an intimate relationship, with a reasonable expectation of privacy. The meaning of “revenge porn” in the media has since broadened.2 Opportunistic hackers3 can compromise computers4 and steal material from databases, or hijack a user’s webcam5 – secretly capturing such images or video. In these cases, perpetrators are not always motivated by vengeance – but instead act out of a “desire for profit, notoriety, or entertainment”.6 On 17 June 2015, more than 400 women and teenagers from South Australia became victims of non-consensual pornography (more commonly but sometimes inaccurately known as “revenge porn”) when hundreds of explicit images appeared on an American forum without their permission. On 23 June 2015, more than 700 women from Queensland similarly found themselves victims.

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