Revenge porn: accurate or misleading term?

If you clicked, I’m sorry. You’ve probably been threatened by someone online with the release of your private information and files. Of course, today, Microsoft’s main goal is to lead the cloud business, and we have companies like Snowflake that were valued at record stock prices in their IPOs… but nobody cares about the “initial public offering”. We’re talking about “initial private messaging”. There’s a big difference. You know, you meet a guy, he says hello and sends an emoji, the emoji isn’t a horny devil, he asks if you’re busy and sends a picture for you to make sure you know he’s real and looks decent (aka not like a psychopath). But some people operate differently. We’re in the midst of a discussion over making decisions about our bodies, for Christ’s sake. Except that Jesus Christ might be brought up for the wrong reasons, and when I say we, I mean women mostly, because I’m actually a dude. So let’s situate ourselves: we know some stuff about tech, but we wanna use simple mechanisms to communicate with people. Maybe a little more? The answer is a little more than conversation, not a little more tech; but it seems that this is where the lines are drawn.

Every girl looking for flirting in 2022 will look at what someone looks like before making a move. Girls make moves, everyone. But what kind? I can’t fail to mention that one time I was on Omegle and this young girl from Slovakia said she knew where I lived. This is way before I realized Jeff Bezos wasn’t worried about Wishlist privacy, but technology journalists were, and so they followed with investigations on Ring, which Vox reports: “[provides] information to government entities if the company believes that an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person, such as a kidnapping or an attempted murder, requires disclosure without delay”. Adult world. So it happens that every teenager on Snapchat is GPS trackable, and that’s never been controversial, has it? Now, about the report, here’s what you should expect from this blog: a bit of debunking.

Guys make moves. When I was laid off of a company that literally installed cameras inside classrooms just to send a signal that employers were watching our online activity (and only the first class employees caught on), you can imagine that I put on my best performance, but regardless, I turned my laptop on and went looking for girl profiles. Not on Facebook, of course. This would be an interesting debate if anyone’s interested to know how some people had over a thousand friends in the year of 2010 or so, but we’re over that, aren’t we? And honestly, depending on who’s reading the blog (because of how educational it is), what was your favorite brand of baby formula back then? Now, fast forward. While Ring, a home device from Amazon; Windows Hello, a not-so-new feature of Windows; and even big banks like Santander (and many others, mind you) use facial recognition as security, we fail to connect the dots. Facial recognition technology is reported to have been in use in smartphones since Android’s 4th version (released in 2011; but pay attention: in October), then it grew exponentialy in effectiveness with efforts from, guess what, the big four. The 3D capabilities were disclosed in 2018, but 4 years ago, nobody had a banking issue because of a hacked camera. Wait… they hack cameras? Oh my God! What’s next? Streaming with no permission? It’s *my* Fortnite! Mine!

Most people get confused by lack of context. Writing a pedagogical text in the field of journalism, in 2022, should be considered a great merit if successful. And that is to say the least. But that’s not even about me. The tech reporters saying back in 2018 that facial recognition capabilities were growing exponentially couldn’t have predicted that hackers with ethnic cleansing intentions could target the program. And that is hypothetical. Worth mentioning that EFF has contributed a lot to the facial recognition debate and you can see for yourself, but personally, I don’t have knowledge of all they’ve done, especially considering a federal lawsuit. But we started with something way more simple, way softer: revenge porn. It’s not that your ethnic group is deemed inferior by my ethnic group; it’s that the boy you were sexting has a smaller dick and I can’t believe you gave him attention instead of me. It’s that the girl you were videocalling while my message remained unanswered had such a ridiculously flat pair of tiddies, and mine are two big fucking Everest mountains. And with that sense of sexual tension in mind and at scale, would you look at what they can do with Hunter Biden. Do you really think both parties (men and women) are amicable and standardly trust-worthy? Is it the web? Where, how? And what are the contexts?

Investigating the context is essential, but the web is only getting bigger. A leak has been called a leak for a long time, but then came the GDPR (too little, too late). My criticism of GDPR will continue: everyone made us sign digital documents saying we agreed with terms of use that go against data protection: that is, not in our favor. GDPR is a legal loophole for data-driven companies to overperform with marketing operations that are arbitrarily defined by how much a client is paying. Simple, but hard to swallow — and we’re doing it in glowing fashion. But when a girl gets a nude leaked (which is likely to get her more followers, who happen to be potential harrassers) or a guy gets less opportunity (which is likely to be because of conversations, and you’ll have to excuse me, but I’m not the one to crack down why it works that way), we should be thinking: why do we share? This culture is the culture of people who have no respect for privacy. They’re the ones checking your every move; sometimes, with a higher motivation of control, at higher levels. The answer is not recording more and leaking more; the answer is ignoring surveillance, and making your words count. Say what you mean, mean what you say, everyone. Paraphrasing, we don’t mean half the stuff we say online. But what we do has consequences. I can rest in relative peace knowing I’ve never participated in leak culture. I’m glad for the journalistic investigations, sure. It keeps me informed, more aware, but it’s not going to make me a fan of a company or a State that protects user rights at all costs, because these simply do not exist. What I know is everyone should be able to protect their reputation, not live under the threat that the simplest mistake might ruin it forever. Back to my hook: everyone watches porn; some people even make it for a living. But revenge?

Revenge is an ugly concept. We’re supposed to believe in justice. Of course, the justice system has problems, serious ones (and I’ve talked enough about the tech issues; time to focus on the human side). If you call me names, I don’t care. If you started going out with a girl I used to hang with, I’m probably happy about it, if you’re cool. No big deal, seriously. Life goes on. But for whom? It seems some people’s lives don’t. Why? Because of revenge porn? No. Because of revenge. People want to make justice with their own hands, and that’s why law enforcement exists. That’s why facial recognition exists, that’s why GPS exists. Every technological tool we’ve created works for a better well-being, and if the percentages of it are not fairly distributed, we’re on our way to address that too. But taxing the rich is not revenge. It’s justice. Moving on from an abusive relationship is not revenge, and it has nothing or little to do with justice: it’s about self-respect, and a hell of a struggle. Getting over the fact that people like to talk about you is very far from this debate, and closer to a K-12 requirement now; but apparently, politicians want to pay for advertising so their own ideas about what education kids should have will thrive (kids that they teach to make gun gestures here in Brazil) and on both freaking sides of the aisle, they do it with teens too (whose lives they monetize with zero criticism and an odd mixture of freedom of speech and anti-imperialism, on TikTok). Imagine if teens didn’t have other people’s businesses to mind. Hard to believe that, right? But they’re not business owners. And the actual business owners will always, inevitably, have a hard time explaining how such and such thing was allowed on their platform. What they fear is not revenge (a lawsuit against them, a basic anti-monopoly federal hearing broadcast internationally, and so on); it’s userbase dropping. It’s the faithful cusstomer that they want. They don’t give a shit about the nudes. And when you look at the bills you need to pay, maybe you should consider having the same posture.

Image: Pexels

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