Inside the secret Marines Facebook group Once that kind of photo exists, it's all too easy for someone to send or post it without the subject's consent. That's what appears to have happened to hundreds of female service members, after explicit photos of female Marines and other members of the armed forces were found circulating online last week. So what can you do if this happens to you? First, preserve the evidence, says Carrie Goldberg, a New York attorney and a director of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative , an advocacy group for people whose images were distributed without their consent.
Take screenshots of the posts and relevant Internet search results for your name, and record URLs and messages. Save the information to a computer and print it out, the advocacy group says. Read More Then, consider the following avenues of redress: Prosecution for this offense specifically More than 30 states and the District of Columbia have laws against nonconsensual disclosure of sexually explicit images and videos.
That number grew quickly -- before , just three states expressly prohibited it, says CNN legal analyst Danny Cevallos. So you could seek prosecution for this specific crime in those states.
The rules and penalties vary. Some states, like Arizona , require proof that the distributor intended to harm, harass, intimidate or threaten the alleged victim. But proving the distribution itself is usually no trouble, Goldberg said.
Who's at fault over J-Law's nude photo hack? If you and the perpetrator live in separate states, where should you pursue the case? You could do it in either, but there tends to be less foot-dragging if you take action where the offender lives because her or she is more readily available for arrest, Goldberg said. Quandaries like these are partly why advocacy groups are pushing for a nationwide law. The organization was recently started by a female Marine veteran to bring stories of harassment in the service to light.
Prosecution for other crimes If your state doesn't have a law against this specifically, you might seek prosecution for other, related offenses. Marines create task force amid nude photos uproar "Often, distribution of images is in the context of greater violence," Goldberg said. He may be sending hundreds of text messages or showing up at work, threatening friends and family.
So preserve the picture evidence to help prosecute a larger harassment case, even in states that don't have laws against nonconsensual porn sharing. Civil lawsuits At least 12 states have civil laws that pertain specifically to nonconsensual image sharing. But a victim probably could sue, in all states, for the intentional infliction of emotional distress, Goldberg said.
If you took the image yourself, you own the copyright. That gives you the ability to force other sites, like dedicated revenge porn groups, to take down these pictures through what is known as a DMCA Digital Millennium Copyright Act notice.