Revenge Porn App Could Put An End To It

Revenge Porn Could Become Thing Of The Past If App Developer Has His Way

Revenge porn is a phenomenon that most in the pre-internet age did not have to worry about, and now an app developer is hoping his creation will end it once and for all.

As the World Wide Web started to develop, data connections became more powerful and smartphone devices with audio and video capabilities made it easier than ever to discreetly spy on others. This has led to a significant rise in reporting.

A study in 2015 reported by Metro found there are more cases of revenge porn being turned in to police than at any other time.

Most allegations came from people under the age of 30, with eight women for every one man reporting, and almost every case involved a former partner.

In an especially disturbing turn, victim ages ranged from 11-year-olds to retirees, the news site noted.

In the United States, one in 25 individuals online have been victimized by revenge porn, or at least threats of it, according to a 2016 study released by the Center for Innovative Public Health Research.

Enter Nathan Kot, a 24-year-old New Zealand-based software engineer. Kot’s app is called Rumuki, and while it likely will not snuff out every instance of revenge porn, it can significantly scale back the problem.

Kot explained how it works in a recent interview with Vice.

The app’s name comes from the Japanese term for “room key… because using it is a bit like checking into a hotel room,” Kot said, adding that the “only people who have access to that room are the people with the room keys.”

The app, Kot said, uses encryption technology to record videos to a user’s phone. For videos to be filmed, all parties have to grant permission. Playback is only possible by using a randomly generated key, which is in turn is protected by the devices’ passcodes and a third passcode in the app, “in case either person leaves their phone unlocked,” he explained.

Where Rumuki will do the most good, Kot said, is in cases of consensual videos or images later finding their way into distribution without one party’s consent.

Using the app, should one party decide to delete the video, they can simply delete their key code, and that will prevent anyone from ever seeing the video again.

Carolanne Marcantonio, a New York-based social worker and sex therapist, told
Vice that the idea was a good one given the tendency people have in the modern world to film themselves.

Marcantonio said people do so without thinking of what “might happen if there’s a breakup, or if you send someone a video.”

“We still live in a sex-negative culture, and sometimes there are these consequences you never think about when you’re just having fun,” she added.

Kot acknowledged to Vice, however, that his creation is still a work in progress and that he fears users will think that by using Rumuki to stop revenge porn, they might feel a false sense of security.

One of the wrinkles Kot is still needing to work out is the ability to notify users of when their partner takes a screenshot of the video. He also acknowledged that a user could find an “analog workaround” like playing the video and then recording it from another device during the playback.

According to the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, 34 states and Washington, D.C., currently have laws specifically targeting revenge porn.

What say you, readers? Should this be considered a felony nationwide, and would you be more or less likely to film intimate encounters with an app like Rumuki that attempts to fight revenge porn? Sound off in the comments section below.

[Featured Image By Lolostock/Shutterstock]

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