John Oliver Is Very Mad At The Internet

Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
John Oliver took a stand for women everywhere last night when he ranted against the state of the internet — and the laws that govern it — regarding sexual harassment and revenge porn. "The internet has become integral to modern life," Oliver said. "Unfortunately, it's also become a haven for harassment."

"This does not just affect women in gaming," Oliver added. "It could potentially affect any woman who makes the mistake of having a thought in her mind and then vocalizing it online." (In other words, all of us.)

Oliver eulogized the internet of yore — back when everyone, particularly those invested in selling the service, made us feel like it would be productive. According to Oliver, those times are long gone. He featured several cutting examples, from female gamers losing their sense of security to the disturbing death and rape threats received by Pacific Standard journalist Amanda Hess to the ongoing controversy surrounding revenge porn and its lack of regulation by the government.
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If you're unfamiliar with the idea of revenge porn, it's the shaming process of distributing nude or otherwise sexually explicit images of someone without that person's consent — like what happened to Jennifer Lawrence last year. Currently, there is no federal law protecting women against this sort of retaliation. Until one is enacted, the issue is being left to the discretion of the states; a September 2014 map by the New Republic showed just 13 states having passed specific revenge-porn bans.

While the law lags, Google has made moves to rid the internet of revenge porn: In a blog post Friday, senior vice president Amit Singhal announced that the search engine would begin removing items identified as revenge porn from its results.

"Our philosophy has always been that Search should reflect the whole web. But revenge porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging, and serve only to degrade the victims—predominantly women," Singhal wrote.

That was a promising start, but Oliver wants the world to know: We're still not safe.
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