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Crime Politics

Al Franken Urges FBI To Prosecute "Revenge Porn" 306

mi contributes this excerpt from National Journal: "Sen. Al Franken is urging the FBI to more quickly and aggressively pursue and respond to reports of revenge porn, marking a rare burst of attention on a controversial topic about which Congress has typically been quiet. In a letter to FBI Director James Comey, the Minnesota Democrat asked for more information about the agency's authority to police against revenge porn, or the act of posting explicit sexual content online without the subject's consent, often for purposes of humiliation and extortion. Its popularity has ballooned in recent years, and victims are disproportionately women." Here's Franken's letter.
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Al Franken Urges FBI To Prosecute "Revenge Porn"

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  • c'mon (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Friday April 03, 2015 @06:38PM (#49401441) Homepage Journal

    ts popularity has ballooned in recent years, and victims are disproportionately women.

    It makes no difference if the victims are disproportionately any group; it would have to be UNIQUE to that group. Otherwise, if it's bad for people, it's bad for people, and no distinction need be made about age, gender or any other subgroup. It's not equality if we only consider some of the people, is it?

    • by kick6 ( 1081615 )

      It makes no difference if the victims are disproportionately any group; it would have to be UNIQUE to that group. Otherwise, if it's bad for people, it's bad for people, and no distinction need be made about age, gender or any other subgroup. It's not equality if we only consider some of the people, is it?

      It's cute that you think it works that way. Guarantee'd if it was predominantly men, or hell even an equal split, that suffered from this.. not even Franken would care.

      • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

        It's cute that you think it works that way.

        It's cute that you assume I think it works that way. It should work that way, and in order to effect any change it should be presented group-neutral. I am simply pointing out the defective assumptions and language that are complicit in making it the way it is as a matter of backlash against stupidity.

    • That's not the way things work today. All genders are entitled to equal protection under the law, but some genders are more equal than others.
      • Re:c'mon (Score:5, Informative)

        by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday April 03, 2015 @07:45PM (#49401795) Homepage Journal

        All genders (and indeed all gender self-identifications) are entitled to equal protection, but not all genders *require as much*. As women move into representative numbers in jobs and supervisory positions, that situation is changing.

        My wife once worked in a division of a state agency where the division and departmental management happen by chance to be women; a few years earlier the leadership had been entirely men but they'd moved on and the agency promoted from within. One day she was recounting how she and another scientist coworker had good-naturedly teased one of their male colleagues for having a habit of "man-splaining" (something which in my experience female geeks do as well). "Wait a minute," I said. "You can't do that anymore. It's called 'creating a hostile work environment'."

        Now some men are still not willing to be seen complaining about higher ranking women taking the piss out of them, but the number of sexual harassment suits filed by men has been on the rise, doubling from 8% of all cases in 1990 to 16.4% in 2010. If that guy who'd been teased for "man-splaining" had complained the women could well been disciplined. Telling somebody their long-winded explanations sound condescending is being assertive and it's a good thing. Attributing their behavior to their *gender identity* is harassment.

        • Would +1 if I had modpoints.

        • All genders (and indeed all gender self-identifications) are entitled to equal protection, but not all genders *require as much*.

          That sounds very much like a gender-based stereotype. Exactly which genders don't require equal protection, and why?

          • Re:c'mon (Score:4, Informative)

            by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday April 03, 2015 @09:52PM (#49402307) Homepage Journal

            That sounds very much like a gender-based stereotype.

            I don't think you quite understand what that word means. A stereotype is a simplistic model that is held as if it were true of *all* members of some group. So if I say, "blacks are poorer than whites in the US," that's not a stereotype, it's a statistical assertion about differences in economic attainment between groups in aggregate. But if I say "Blacks are poorer because blacks are lazy," that's using a stereotype because it attributes something inherent to blackness. Likewise if I say "Bob can't own that Mercedes because he's black," I'm implicitly stating that all blacks are too poor to own a Mercedes so that's a stereotype. If I were to say "the rate of Mercedes ownership is lower among blacks than whites" that is not a stereotype but a (made-up) statistical assertion.

            So now I'm ready to tackle your question. Hitherto, men have not requires as much protection from sexual harassment as a group, because they have as a group dominated positions of authority and indeed all jobs except in a few professions like teaching and nursing. There have been cultural attitudes that give preference to men in hiring and salary, all other things being equal.

            However that's a far cry from saying no man hitherto has ever needed legal protection for sexual discrimination or harassment. For example, it is legally possible to be harass or discriminate against people of the same sex. If your boss pressures you for homosexual sex, that's still sexual harassment.

            • That's the EXACT brand of bullshit that denies women commit half of all domestic violence (incl. severe violence) against men because men "have power" or similar nonsense explanations.

              Men being a majority of managers has fuck all to do with whether or not they're sexually harassed or need legal protections from exactly that, just like men being bigger than women on average has fuck all to do with whether or not they're abused or raped by women.

            • Re:c'mon (Score:4, Interesting)

              by preflex ( 1840068 ) on Saturday April 04, 2015 @02:37AM (#49403191)

              That sounds very much like a gender-based stereotype.

              I don't think you quite understand what that word means.

              I don't think you quite understand what that word means.

              A stereotype is a simplistic model that is held as if it were true of *all* members of some group.

              Ok. I'm with you there.

              So if I say, "blacks are poorer than whites in the US," that's not a stereotype

              I disagree. See your own definition above. You just demonstrated a simplistic model, being held as if it was true for all members of the group. There are some fabulously rich black people in the US. Your statement is not uniformly true.

              it's a statistical assertion about differences in economic attainment between groups in aggregate

              You didn't assert any statistics. If you had, then it would have been such an assertion. Besides, such an assertion would make a good foundation for a stereotype. (Stereotypes aren't always bad, or unjust. That's just a stereotype about stereotypes.)

              But if I say "Blacks are poorer because blacks are lazy," that's using a stereotype because it attributes something inherent to blackness.

              No. It's two stereotypes. 1. Blacks are poorer. 2. Blacks are lazy. They are both stereotypes because they are both general simplistic models of a group.

              Likewise if I say "Bob can't own that Mercedes because he's black," I'm implicitly stating that all blacks are too poor to own a Mercedes so that's a stereotype.

              If you're simply viewing Bob and stating your opinion about him driving his Mercedes, that's prejudice. Furthermore, if Bob does own the Mercedes, your prejudice is also false. It's related to stereotypes, but different. Prejudice is "a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience." The basis for prejudice is often stereotypes.

              On the other hand, if you're refusing to sell Bob a Mercedes because he's black, that would be discrimination. Discrimination is often the result of prejudice, which is often the result of stereotypes. Discrimination can sometimes be against the law. AFAIK, there are no laws in the US against holding stereotypes or prejudices, so long as you do not discriminate.

              With regard to your other points, I agree.

            • Your posts are a rare moment of intelligent empathy in a thoroughly depressing set of ./ comments. Some posts really do bring out the worst aspects of this community.

        • the number of sexual harassment suits filed by men has been on the rise, doubling from 8% of all cases in 1990 to 16.4% in 2010

          Except the men are actually suing men since women didn't build the companies, they've got no skin in the game. This is like claiming that kicking your dog teaches the fleas a lesson, but parasites don't react until the host is dead.

    • In theory you could be correct, but in the real world we find people being victimized because of the specific groups they belong to. This ranges from abject coarseness to subtle but still rather potent. I agree that the law should be written to protect everyone equally, and more attention should be paid to that, but the inspiration to get laws passed can still involve specific groups with specific grievances.
  • Which crime? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kohath ( 38547 )

    The letter didn't mention what Federal criminal code violation he wanted the FBI to use to justify such a response. After a quick search, I found no such law.

    • The letter didn't mention what Federal criminal code violation he wanted the FBI to use to justify such a response.

      No, but it did mention the case of former revenge-porn king Hunter Moore [wikipedia.org], who was convicted of conspiring to hack into victims' accounts, and subsequent identity theft.

      IANAL. The actual posting of "revenge porn" may or may not be a violation of Federal criminal codes. But the manner in which the material is obtained may be a violation of those codes, and apparently was for the case of Hunter Moore.

      I would assume a victim of revenge porn would have access to civil courts to seek redress. But the bite of Fede

    • The letter didn't mention what Federal criminal code violation he wanted the FBI to use to justify such a response. After a quick search, I found no such law.

      You Google Foo must not be very strong then.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revenge_porn#Criminal_prosecutions [wikipedia.org]

    • The letter didn't mention what Federal criminal code violation he wanted the FBI to use to justify such a response. After a quick search, I found no such law.

      Well he is a US Senator. So the lack of a law should not be too much of a problem since he is one of the very very few people in the country that can write and submit a new law to the US Congress.

    • The letter didn't mention what Federal criminal code violation he wanted the FBI to use to justify such a response. After a quick search, I found no such law.

      Right in the post is says (emphasis added):

      In a letter to FBI Director James Comey, the Minnesota Democrat asked for more information about the agency's authority to police against revenge porn, ...

      IOW, Franken's asking them what they can do about it. I suppose if it turns out they can't do much that might lead to Franken introducing a bill but at this point he's just gathering information.

    • After a quick search, I found no such law.

      Why not criminal copyright infringement? Surely those laws have to be good for something, right?

  • The problem here is a knee jerk response by an individual who should know better. When writing news laws care should always be take with, how reliably facts can be obtained about the action, how readily can the law be defrauded, how difficult will it be to be reliably prosecuted and how does the harm occur. The biggest problem with revenge porn is it underlies a basic deceit, about how differently people act in private compared to how they act in public and who they pretend to be. Those who feel the most v

  • Obviously, I am not a lawyer, but if someone gave consent to be taped during sex, they don't retain the rights to what happens post-production (unless you have California-style copyright regime where you can copyright saying "hello" with an accent). Because movies are their business and SAG is so influential there, you can probably control who and why sees your performance even after you gave consent. This isn't about Al Fraken defending women. He doesn't give a damn. It's about Al Franken trying to cr
    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      The whole "what people do with the video" isn't the problem in itself. Its that a specific subset of usage of said video squarely fall into various categories of sexual harassment, extortion, etc. This wouldn't get prosecuted as a copyright case.

      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        Bingo. It's not a copyright issue at all. Sure, the person taking the photo or video "owns the copyright". All that grants him the right to limit copying activity by others. But if a photo happens to contain confidential or private information, owning the copyright doesn't automatically grant you any additional rights to do things with that confidential information. You can well own copyright to photos that you have no right to redistribute for any number of reasons.

  • If Franken were serious about this, he would have just sent the letter to the FBI, but not made it public. By publishing the letter, he's saying "Hey look at me! I'm the glorious defender of the innocent! Vote for me! Vote for me!
    • He was recently elected; he isn't getting any points for doing this now - if that were the case he'd wait many years before doing this.

      He needs media attention to create pressure and build momentum plus we have the worst congress probably in our history so stuff like this is all that has a chance of passing. It still won't end up with a law during this congress.

    • If Franken were serious about this, he would have just sent the letter to the FBI, but not made it public. By publishing the letter, he's saying "Hey look at me! I'm the glorious defender of the innocent! Vote for me! Vote for me!

      Exactly. How dare a United States Senator make government business visible to the public.

  • If you let me take naked pictures of you when we're in a relationship... then you can't retroactively withdraw your permission to have those pictures.

    So... I have every right to have them.

    The question then becomes, do I have the right to put them on the internet without your approval? That is a little dicey because I don't think the legal system gives you more right to naked pictures of yourself then just pictures of yourself period. They're both just "pictures".

    I think the big mistake is having naked pictu

  • Cyberbullying in general needs prosecution. It is not just revenge porn that they need to go after but all the cyberbullies. Currently there is no way to deal with these criminals because you would have to bring a lawsuit in their local court against them which costs a great deal. The police show no interest in dealing with the problems. It crosses state lines. It's a national and international problem, work for the FBI at least for the state by state cases.

  • I can see three categories here:

    1) Victim is underage. Child porn laws apply, obviously.

    2) Victim did not consent to be photographed. I don't know what the law says here, but I could see the justification for making this a criminal offense if it's not one already. A reasonable expectation of privacy would be a standard - being photographed by a spy cam in the bathroom isn't the same as being photographed sunbathing on a nude beach.

    3) Victim did consent to be photographed, but did not consent to have the

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