Unsuspecting Australian men are being targeted by underground bloggers stealing and recording revealing private moments and sharing them online.
News Corp reports some men have been snapped without their knowledge with their children and even in public toilets. The pictures are then shared on blogs alongside sexual explicit hashtags and comments.
One man told the outlet he only discovered his pictures had been shared by a stroke of luck when another man contacted him out of the blue with a warning.
“They recognised one of the photos of me and brought it to my attention,” he said.
“They sent me a link and said to check it out.
“I felt pretty violated, objectified, it actually really emotionally affected me where I felt like I couldn’t trust anyone.”
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The image in question had been taken from his Grindr account, a dating app aimed at gay men, and he found out when he was contacted by a stranger through a similar app, Tinder.
While governments around Australia have been passing laws aimed at the seedy practice known as “revenge porn”, in which ex-partners share private images without the subject’s consent, the practice of stealing photographs from social media platforms is legally tricky.
While images involving children are more straight forward for police, images involving adults can fall into different categories.
“If the image depicts an adult, there are potential offences but the criminality generally revolves around the circumstances of how the image was produced (eg: hiding a video camera in a bathroom or bedroom and capturing those images without the consent of the victim),” a NSW police spokesperson told News.com.au.
“It can be difficult to investigate matters where adult victims are involved who have consensually sent naked images of themselves to others.
“Once these images are online or in someone else’s possession, it’s out of the control of the person in the photo — and the image can be used or shared by others.”