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NYS AG warns of increase in 'Revenge Porn' reports

New York State Attorney General Letitia James issued a warning to New Yorkers about invasions of privacy while engaging in intimate online conversations.

NEW YORK — More and more people are going virtual to connect to others while having to social distance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Because of that, New York State Attorney General Letitia James issued a warning to New Yorkers about invasions of privacy while engaging in intimate online conversations.

According to the AG's office, some users are taking screenshots or recordings of partners without their knowledge or consent and then threaten to disclose these intimate images. This act is known as 'Revenge Porn'.

“Revenge porn is a vicious form of humiliation and control that disproportionately affects women, and we will continue to fight this cruel form of degradation in New York state,” said Attorney General James. “As New Yorkers continue to social distance during the coronavirus pandemic, we urge all who are sharing intimate and private pictures to follow these tips to protect themselves. We also warn anyone thinking of sharing revenge porn and exploiting their partners to think twice, as we will work with local law enforcement to prosecute all individuals engaging in the illegal act to the fullest extent of the law.”

The Attorney General released the following tips to protect yourself from Revenge Porn:

  • Do not include identifying details in any intimate image or chat: 
  • Exclude your face and any identifying features, such as a unique tattoo or birthmark, in intimate images. Some users can keep their face off-screen in such images, while others can utilize a blurring or cropping feature.
  • Exclude identifiable information in your image’s background, including anything with your name or your employer’s name or logo on it. 
  • Exclude identifiable information from your profile, such as your email address or the handles to different social media accounts. Some users even create separate email addresses or social media accounts to use only with dating profiles.
  • Use dating apps or websites that have safety features. While these features cannot prevent a recipient from recording the screen with a second device, they do offer some protection, including: 
  • Providing warnings that notify you if a recipient has taken a screenshot of an image you shared or of your chat history. 
  • An “unsend” option for pictures or messages. 
  • The ability to delete images or chats from a recipient’s messages.

New York State passed a law that criminalized Revenge Porn. You could face up to a year in jail, as well as civil damages if found guilty.