It’s not uncommon to see some personal and very intimate pictures, or videos being shared online for unintended eyes to see. In most of these cases, a person’s reputation is severely impacted by the sharing of these deeply personal photos or videos on the internet.
Not surprisingly, in many cases, these very intimate, personal pictures or videos were shared by people once considered to be close friends, coworkers and sometimes even family. To make matters worse, often the photos or videos were taken years earlier, long forgotten and long before a current marriage, relationship or employment.
In today’s world where you can Google anything and where social media has replaced water cooler gossip, it’s easier now to connect your identity to intimate pictures or videos that have been posted online.
While we cannot ultimately stop what has already happened we would like to shed some light on this to prevent it from happening to you (again) or your family or friends.
7 Steps To Avoid Having Compromising Photos Of You Published Online
- Do NOT take pictures (or videos) of yourself in any compromising position especially in various stages of undress. When a picture or video of you is being taken, always try to imagine your loved ones, employers or respected peers viewing this image or video. Stop and think – Is this something you would be ok with them seeing?
- Given that you may probably ignore the first step, if you do take pictures (or videos) of yourself in the nude (or in various stages of undress) do NOT send them to anyone – period. The risk is simply too high. Even if you completely trust the person. Think about
- What happens if their phone, or laptop or pc is stolen?
- What happens if their email is hacked? Your picture can be shared for the whole world to see.
- What happens when your relationship ends and this person decides to share your photos or videos with others?
- If someone takes an intimate, private, personal picture (or video) and If you are not interested in sharing this personal photo (or video) with all of your friends, family, co-workers, future in-laws or husband, then ask for it to be deleted.
- If the picture(s) (or videos) was taken by a professional make certain you own the copyright – no exceptions.
- If possible, use your own memory card for the photo shoot.
- Friends don’t let friends get photographed (or video’d) in compromising positions or in various stages of undress. Especially when partying. This is not funny. Put yourself in the same position. Remember everyone at the party you are at has a camera and that camera is connected to the internet.
- Do not post or upload intimate, personal pictures or videos onto any website. This includes all social media and dating sites. Even the sites with the greatest security can or have been hacked. No online site is safe and it’s just a matter of time before it’s compromised.
- Friendships and intimate relationships may not always last forever. Disgruntled friends, ex-boyfriends etc. are often the top offenders in posting undesirable images or videos. Even if you completely trust the individual you are sending the images to what would happen if their phone, tablet, laptop or pc were stolen? What if their email account was hacked? Your images could end up in the wrong hands very quickly.
- PARENTS (guardians, uncles, aunts and grandparents) talk to your children and pre-teens, about the dangers of taking these types of pictures. What they see as innocent play can quickly be turned into something undesirable and often with tragic consequences.
- No images or videos of your children or their friends in ANY state of undress, even jokingly is acceptable.
- How soon should you speak to your children about this? NOW. No seriously, pause reading this article and go talk to your kids….
And though we may think that the above steps are obvious, it still happens.
How can the Trinidad and Tobago Cyber Crime Unit assist?
If you’ve been a victim of cyber extortion or have been threatened to send (or continue sending) nude photos of yourself then here are some recommended steps to take to try to solve the problem:
- Get Proof – Screenshot or take video clips of conversations or requests that threaten you for nude photos
- Make A Report – Once you have proof that your life is being threatened or you are being extorted by another individual you can make a report to the nearest police station. An official police report is required before any action can be taken to the Cyber Crime Unit
- Insist that your report is shared with the CyberCrime Unit
If you need further follow up or action, CyberSafeTT can assist. Please contact us for further information.
What can you do if you find compromising pictures of you online?
- Respond and act quickly and get help if needed. Contact the necessary authorities in your area especially if you and or the people in the photo / video are underage.
- Find as many copies and versions as you can. You are the best person to identify this content. Make a list. If you can get at the source you can stop it from spreading. Often only one website was the source of the uploaded picture or video. It is important to get it removed from there and move on to the other sites, if there are any. Do not assume that once your photo or video is off one site e.g. Facebook that the issue is resolved. It could have been copied and uploaded somewhere else. The longer the content has been up the more likely it has spread to other networks and websites.
- Get help from a professional service provider. Taking down all copies of photos etc may be overwhelming (and sometimes almost impossible) however, sites such as http://www.dmca.com/ offer both free and professional services to help remove photos online Read more about their services here.