It takes just seconds to transmit information online. In the case of nonconsensual pornography, more colloquially known as “revenge porn,” sexually explicit images of an individual are distributed online, without consent, instantaneously. And in a flash, an individual’s most private moments are exposed and disseminated for the public to examine, comment on, and dissect.
Online posting of private images generally occurs in one of two circumstances. Recent events illustrate the first: the hack. A hacker breaks into someone’s private information and either the hacker or someone else then uploads compromising photographs or videos to public websites. Victims of a hack are not always as famous as Jennifer Lawrence, but the recent hack of celebrity photos has brought this to light in the past few weeks, during which a slew of female celebrities were unwillingly exposed in this manner.
The second route to online distribution is seemingly more vicious because it involves personal betrayal. It occurs when a relationship goes bad, and an individual who had been trusted with sexually explicit photographs distributes those images online without the consent of the pictured individual. Usually the perpetrator is a bitter ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, or a scorned ex-lover who takes what had been shared with them in secret and thrusts it into public view.
Either way, victims are exposed. They are not only publicly humiliated, but are often threatened, stalked, and tormented. Many have trouble finding work or keeping up with school; some even get fired from their current jobs or asked to leave their current schools. In some extreme cases, victims of nonconsensual pornography have been unable to cope with the severity of the online sexual abuse and harassment and have committed suicide.
The Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project was born when two attorneys at K&L Gates recognized an epidemic and realized they could help. David Bateman is an attorney with over 20 years of experience in Internet, technology, and intellectual property law. He is a nationally recognized leader in his field who has been lead counsel in hundreds of lawsuits against spammers, phishers, and other Internet offenders. Elisa D’Amico is a senior associate whose practice focuses, in part, on Internet marketing and general commercial disputes. She became heavily interested in the revenge porn epidemic earlier in 2014 and through her work with the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, Professor Mary Anne Franks, and Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI), she recognized a need for a nationwide (and global) revenge porn pro bono project.
Naturally, Bateman and D’Amico put their heads together, and with the overwhelming support of K&L Gates, the Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project was born.
The Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project is a global resource for victims of revenge porn and its presence will change lives:
First, the Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project provides legal services to individuals who otherwise could not afford legal help or did not know where to obtain an attorney. This is a civil rights pro bono project that aims to rectify serious cyber civil rights violations. Because of its national and international presence, the project has the ability to touch the lives of countless victims without regard for their socio-economic status.
Second, K&L Gates has a prominent cybersecurity and cyberlaw practice, including experienced cyber forensic investigators, among other talented individuals. And the firm also has accomplished intellectual property attorneys as well as lawyers that specialize in other areas. Because all Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project attorneys are K&L Gates attorneys, each client will have access to all of the firm’s legal resources, including much-needed cyberforensics.
Third, the Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project founders are located on opposite sides of the United States (Seattle and Miami). But project attorneys are located throughout the United States and overseas. So, clients across the country (and across the globe) can benefit from the pro bono services the project has to offer. This is the first national and international pro bono project dedicated to helping victims of revenge porn.
The Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project is not seeking financial recovery for itself. It is not seeking glory or fame. It is just trying to help give victims a voice and to bring them justice.
Just take a step back and ask yourselves, isn’t it about time to end the revenge?
Visit http://www.cyberrightsproject.com/ for more information about the Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project including how to reach out to them for pro bono legal services.