Do you know what cyber exploitation is? If not, after today, you will. Cyber exploitation is the non-consensual distribution or publication of intimate photos or videos online.
Yesterday, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) launched #EndCyberExploitation at a morning press conference and CALCASA was in attendance. AG Kamala Harris pointed out, that “cyber exploitation is a new crime” and the launch of the OAG cyber exploitation web hub provides the tools and information for the public, law enforcement, and tech companies to fight back. Additionally, a digital public awareness campaign #EndCyberExploitation was revealed to engage the public and increase awareness, specifically to highlight newly developed resources for victims of this crime.
This launch is a culmination of the work of 50+ public and private sector members of the AG Cyber Exploitation Working Group. CALCASA has been an instrumental partner in leading the Education & Prevention Committee of the Working Group to ensure that victims know where the resources are to get help and increase the public’s awareness of this digital crime that impacts real people, most often women. As part of our role on the Education & Prevention Committee, CALCASA developed an infographic and other tools to better understand cyber exploitation and its impact on victims.
According to a survey by Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, 90% of respondents were female victims whose lives have been affected emotionally, academically, economically, and socially from cyber exploitation. Perpetrators of cyber exploitation use extortion, fear of victims’ friends and families being exposed to the non-consensual distribution or publication of their intimate photos or videos and many other forms of abuse that may include sexual violence to further exploit their victims. Because this crime is perpetrated using technology, the tech industry is advancing efforts to ensure that cyber exploitation victims are empowered to take steps to remove their non-consensual, illegal content from the digital space. John Doherty from TechNet solidly expressed, “cyber exploitation is abhorrent to our (tech) industry” as such, has worked alongside other big tech companies on the Technology Industry Best Practices to address cyber exploitation.
With increased knowledge and awareness to #EndCyberExploitation, California rape crisis centers are enhanced to assist victims of cyber exploitation in connecting them to resources and creating support networks. As Los Angeles Police Department Captain John Romero stated, “cyber crimes (in this case cyber exploitation) hurt real people.” Let’s all do our part to #EndCyberExploitation so that the digital space can be a lot safer for our communities.