About the Project

The project examines the non-consensual distribution or sharing of intimate or sexually explicit digital images of adults, colloquially known as “Revenge porn” (Revenge pornography), focusing on its nature and impacts, as well as implications for Italian legal responses. It is, however, a highly misleading expression, which has many stigmatizing implications towards the victim of the diffusion of the images and it would be better, therefore, not to use it (for a more detailed study, among the materials of the project, read this paper)

The new phenomenon of Non-consensual pornography shows the difficulties in the law trying to keep up with constantly evolving information technologies, in particular the areas related to social networks. Thus, it raises multi-faceted issues and present many challenges for law enforcement agencies, police, prosecutors, judges, scholars and, lastly, community. 

The interdisciplinary approach allows coping with the complexity of the research questions and the involved areas (law, computer science, psychology, social sciences, policy). The project brings together national and international scholars, academic experts of different disciplinary fields and faculties, as well as relevant actors of the local territory to reflect on adequate responses to the serious legal and social problem of revenge pornography. Moreover the project aims at reflecting on how the state of the art in Information Technologies can be used to mitigate the negative impacts on potential and actual victims.

The interdisciplinary approach enables the handling of the complexity of the research questions and the broad variety of involved areas (law, computer science, psychology, social sciences, policy making). The effort to integrate different types of knowledge and methodology represents one of the main challenges of this project, and that is exacerbated by the notorious difficulty of bridging the gulf between the humanities and the sciences. 

Using an interdisciplinary and mixed-methods approach, the research aims at achieving goals in three different areas: 

• Law and Law enforcement • Information Technology • Prevention and community education.

More in detail, the research aims at: 

– studying the phenomenon known as “Revenge porn” and outlining the themes associated with the non-consensual sharing of intimate images; 

– studying the prevalence of “Revenge porn” in Trentino – South Tyrol; 

– investigating the motivations of perpetrators, the impacts of “Revenge porn” on victims and specific issues affecting them;

 – categorising high risk victims, risk factors and risk indicators; 

– investigating how existing technologies and state of the art in internet security and electronic trust management can be leveraged to: o mitigate the damages for potential victims; o support victims to report and stop abuses; o support the work of law enforcement agencies to prevent and stop abuses; o support the work of prosecutors in identifying and sanctioning legal liabilities;

– examining the existing legal framework, considering criminal law approaches and options for legislative reform; 

– considering civil law and tort law remedies; 

– examining the types of responses that have been introduced in other jurisdictions; 

– identifying potential policy responses and recommending appropriate and effective legislative responses; 

– analysing and disseminating best practices on the use of social networks and sharing of confidential media; 

– considering broader responses to non-consensual sharing of intimate images beyond legislative approach.