Five ways to prevent unauthorised sharing of intimate videos, photos

By Peace Akinyode

As society advances in the digital age, the drawbacks of modern technology have become more evident, especially with the continued rise in cases of revenge porn.

Several well-known individuals in Nigeria have encountered the distressing situation of their personal photos or videos going viral online. In recent times, celebrities such as Tiwa Savage, Oxlade, and Empress have all experienced the unfortunate exposure of their private videos due to unauthorised leaks.

While most of these celebrities have been able to bounce back from the unpleasant situation, it goes without saying that a viral sex tape could have lasting consequences on a person’s reputation and career.

Here are five ways to avoid getting your intimate pictures or videos leaked on the Internet

1. Check out for spy cameras

While individuals might avoid taking intimate videos of themselves, unscrupulous partners can proceed to violate their privacy by installing private cameras in private spaces. Therefore it is necessary to always check such spaces such as hotel rooms, before engaging in intimate activities.

A way to check for spy cameras is to cut off all light sources from a room. Then switch on your smart phone’s camera and check around the room. Focus on clocks, lampholders, bulbs, and windows. Most cameras use Infrared light, if present in the room, it will appear as a red dot on the screen of your phone.

2. Encode files

Another way to prevent nudes from leaking on the Internet is to encode such pictures or video files. Set strong passwords for the folders in which these are stored to prevent access by unwanted parties. You can also make use of encryption applications which turn your files into unreadable code that can only be accessed with the appropriate encryption key. This adds an extra layer of security, making it harder for unauthorized individuals to access and share your private files.

3. Strengthen device security

If you store private videos or pictures on your devices, endeavour to set strong passwords, passcodes, or biometric authentication methods such as fingerprint or facial recognition. Also, ensure two-factor authentication for social media accounts to prevent your private messages from being accessed by unwanted parties.

4. Avoid sharing explicit pictures and videos

Another effective way to prevent leaks is to not share explicit files with anyone in the first place. Several people become victims of revenge porn because an intimate partner violates their trust. It is always important to note that once nude pictures or videos are shared, you lose control over how these files are used, even if you trust the recipient.

5. Digital Safety

Practise preventive digital safety measures to ensure unwanted parties do not gain access to your devices. Do not share passwords to your accounts or devices. Be cautious of visiting websites, downloading apps or clicking on suspicious links, from unknown sources. Always ensure to protect your devices with antivirus software to prevent attacks.

However, it is important to note that sharing a person’s explicit videos or pictures on the Internet is a crime in Nigeria. The Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc) Act 2015 penalises the sharing and publication of messages that are “pornographic or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character” in order to cause “annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety” to another person.

Section 24 of the Act provides that; (a) Any person who knowingly or intentionally sends a message or other matter by means of computer systems or network that is grossly offensive, pornographic or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character or causes any such message or matter to be so sent; or

(b) he knows to be false for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another or causes such a message to be sent: commits an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not more than N7, 000,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of not more than 3 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.”

Hence, a victim of revenge porn can report such a perpetrator to the police and also contact sexual assault referral centres for support.

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