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Home Articles App Aims to End Revenge Porn

App Aims to End Revenge Porn

Consent from both parties is required before filming or viewing videos

App Aims to End Revenge Porn

Real talk: There are many people out there who like to capture their bodies on film in an adult manner.

And, in a healthy relationship, both parties might agree to record and share sexually explicit videos with each other. As long as it’s done in an atmosphere of mutual trust, and where each person respects the other person’s wishes and boundaries, this shouldn’t be a problem.

But in the hands of abusers, these videos can turn into ways to exert power and control. Abusers can threaten to share the videos with survivors’ families, friends and new partners and even distribute them widely, via social media or pornography websites. 

This type of threat or action can be called revenge porn (see “When Abusers Threaten Revenge Porn,” for more details on this), sexual shaming, sexploitation, sextortion, cyber harassment or e-venge. It happens to one in 25 Americans, according to the Center for Innovative Public Health Research. The effects on a survivor can be devastating, especially since some people can blame the victim, wondering why someone would allow these videos to be recorded in the first place. Survivors can find people questioning their motives and actions in their families, schools, workplaces and communities. 

In some situations, survivors never consented to the videos in the first place. They may have been coerced into participating or videoed without their knowledge or consent. 

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Starting from a Place of Mutual Agreement

In cases where both parties agree to participate in videos that they intend to keep private, a new app called Rumuki can help. Here’s how it works. 

Let’s say there’s a couple, Riley and Jessie. To film the videos, Riley and Jessie both have to give permission and the video is recorded and encrypted via two keys, stored separately on each of their phones. To watch the video, Jessie sends the key to a server, and the server sends a one-time playback to Riley (or vice versa). Each person has the option to not grant a playback, to revoke any playback grants or to delete the video.

Rumuki reports that it can’t see your videos, doesn’t track what you’re doing, doesn’t need to know who you are and doesn’t keep unnecessary information. It’s available for iOS devices on the App Store.

While the app is a good start at protecting yourself from revenge porn, it’s not foolproof. A determined abuser could record the video with another device, or simply be showing it to another person without their partner’s knowledge when their partner approved playback. 

Stronger state and federal laws can help people fight back against revenge porn, and people are taking note: 38 states and Washington DC now have laws covering revenge porn, up from 27 states in late 2016. 

What to Do if You’re Dealing with Revenge Porn

Revenge porn can be frightening and embarrassing, but you don’t have to face it alone. If an abuser or anyone has shared your private videos, or you’re worried that he or she might, you can: