Consumer Court: ‘In Flagrante Delicto’

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THIS week’s column heading comes from the Latin phrase “in flagrante delicto” meaning “while the crime is blazing” which refers to being caught in the very act of wrongdoing. Today it most often refers to being caught in an act of sexual misconduct.

The past few months have seen a number of local ladies finding themselves posted, by ex-lovers, in nude or in sexually explicit material on the social networks. This type of behaviour is referred to as “revenge porn” and even has websites where such material is welcomed, and Namibians joined this distasteful practice when a tertiary student posted a video of his ex-girlfriend on such a website.

I have five daughters who grew up around me and I had to from time to time remind them that certain behaviour is not “lady like”. Being in the field of information technology and having access to many of the ICT tools early on, led me to seek a better understanding of how these tools will impact on our lives and more practically, how we should protect our privacy in this new world.

One of the first “accidents” to happen with me and digital cameras was when one of my daughters took a picture of the other girls doing their hair. It was not any worse than seeing a picture of your daughter in a bikini, but seeing them take pictures with rollers in their hair was shocking. You see, in my Cape Coloured culture it is considered extremely impolite to be seen on the street with rollers in your hair.

Now this picture had been taken during some foolish playing around and they did not realise that digital cameras automatically upload pictures to a PC when plugged in. This meant they probably were charging their camera in my PC and thus inadvertently sent me a picture of them with rollers in the hair. I immediately made an effort to speak to each of them on the dangers of the digital world, and even more harshly about having anything on film that would make their father blush. Hopefully they have taken this to heart because once you have made those naughty pictures or videos there is unfortunately no way you can “unboil the egg”.

Revenge porn has become a new crime which still needs the legal framework to criminalise. In the meantime you can lay charges using existing laws regarding privacy, but they still leave much to be desired – and the pictures will be out there anyway.

So while we wait for consumer protection legislation, data privacy laws and criminalising of revenge porn, and you still feel the need to send sexy, nude pictures and sex videos, protect yourself by taking the following steps:

1) Keep your face hidden from the camera. The pictures are for special persons and they do not need to see your face, as they know who it is. Maybe even put on a mask if need be. Remember, if your better half actually does leak your pictures, it will be hard to prove that it was you in the pictures.

2) Use smartphone applications such as Snapchat. These photo-sharing apps allow users to set up a time limit for how long their pictures can be viewed before they are deleted from the receiver’s device and the apps servers. The time can be set for between 1 to 10 seconds.

3) Make sure your pictures do not have any identifying features such as a birthmark, a tattoo, self-made clothes or unique features in your home that will give away your identity.

Smile of the Week
The organisers of Independence Day celebrations for making sure there were tents over all the seating areas of the arena to protect people from the rain.

Frown of the Week
Taxi drivers who are choosy and picky when it is raining. If it were not that I was so happy for the rain, I would boycott you when the sun is shining.

 

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