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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 23 April, 2019
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Intimate photographs and personal details of young Irish women posted online without consent

The online group has grown exponentially over the last week or so.

Image: Reddit

AN GARDA SÍOCHÁNA has been informed by at least two women that their intimate photographs have been posted online without their consent. 

The forum on the popular website Reddit also includes sexually explicit commentary by its users. 

The content includes portraits of families, social media posts, and images of women walking in public or in the gym, but there are also nude photographs taken in more intimate settings. 

Details of where the women live and where they attend college or school are also posted on the site. 

Many of the images – featured on what is described as a members’ subreddit or sub – were taken in public but without the knowledge of the subject. Often, the picture is posted with commentary on the woman’s body or physical appearance. 

Users are also engaging in graphic, sexually explicit online chat in the comments section.

There have also been requests from members of the group for “nudes” of people from specific towns and areas in Ireland. 

TheJournal.ie has learned that at least two women contacted gardaí when they discovered their images were uploaded to the internet.  

One woman told TheJournal.ie that she was alerted to her image being used on the site when her male friend saw it being shared in a WhatsApp group. 

“I got a call from a friend of mine who said that my photo was being sent around lots of WhatsApp groups,” she said.

“I use Instagram a lot so I was annoyed but I wasn’t really surprised that someone could get the pictures. But when he sent me it, it was a photo I definitely had not put on Instagram. It wasn’t like, fully nude or anything like that, but it was a photo I didn’t want everyone to see.”

The woman said she had sent the photograph to a man she had been seeing at the time and a “very small” WhatsApp group with three of her closest friends. 

The woman said she has contacted the gardaí about the incident but has yet to make a formal statement. 

She said: “I went into my local station. And then I said to the guard on the desk, who was a woman, about what was going on. She said that I would have to make a formal complaint about what is happening but there wasn’t much that they could do unless I was underage. She advised me to get in touch with the group itself.” 

The group’s admin has published updated “ground rules” due to the group’s rise in popularity. 

A new updated statement reads:

Lads. This sub has grown exponentially over the last week or so. As it’s grown, there’s been a shift in the kind of things being posted, and that’s the reason this post was needed.

From now on, in no uncertain terms:

- we will be removing all posts that are paid content. Repeat offenders will be banned.

“You wouldn’t steal pictures from a local artist selling their paintings, and titties or not, the same logic applies here. What you get up to in private chats, other subs, or other messaging apps is out of our control.

“To any girls who see their photos being posted here, please shoot us a message and we’ll have them pulled immediately.

Thanks for understanding, you’re a sound bunch.

redrules1

A friend of another victim of this site told TheJournal.ie: “A friend of mine recently told me about a Reddit thread which is Ireland/Dublin specific. She had found pictures from her Instagram/Facebook had been posted to it without her permission.

“She’s embarrassed and doesn’t want to take it further but the thread has 100s of similar pictures, the majority seem to be shared without permission and a lot are clearly of under 18s.

I’m not under any illusions that these types of things go on in parts of the internet, but this is very Ireland orientated and I can’t get my head around the fact that it happens so blatantly on a mainstream site like reddit that has businesses advertising on it, etc. People are posting personal details on some pictures, names, addresses, etc.

“It’s not sitting right with me that these girls can be put in this type of physical/mental danger without them knowing especially given some of the other things in the news cycle in the last few days.”

Last year, Labour leader Brendan Howlin said that Ireland is lagging when it comes to dealing with the issue of revenge porn.

The Wexford TD said Irish laws covering so-called revenge porn – the posting of sexually explicit images of a person online without their consent – are not adequate, which is why his party are bringing forward their own Bill to tackle the issue.

The Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill, which provides for a six-month prison sentence upon conviction. It is still before the Oireachtas.

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