Revenge porn reaching dangerous levels in Australia

15:29 Nov 26 2013 Sydney NSW, Australia

Rocketing smartphone use and the popularity of social media is allegedly causing revenge porn to "spread like wildfire'', with practitioners - often jilted men - publishing explicit images of former lovers online to embarrass, harass or blackmail their victims.

Some people have also had pictures stolen from social media profiles and maliciously posted to pornographic sites without their consent.

Dozens of websites around the world are hosting the material, often anonymously and well beyond the reach of victims who try to get highly compromising images removed.

Australian Federal Police acknowledges that revenge porn can be "devastating'' for victims and says it is aware of cases where images have been stolen from social networks and shared on websites.

But it insists it does not investigate revenge porn or malicious reposting, and recommends victims contact the websites concerned in the first instance.

That leaves state and territory police as the lead investigators in cases that usually span international borders and involve highly secretive website operators that law enforcement agencies around the world have struggled to combat.

Alleged revenge porn victim Bekah Wells, an American who runs the Women Against Revenge Porn advocacy group, says: "Revenge porn is spreading like wildfire but most people don't realise it because the majority of victims are not going to announce when they've been victims.''
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