These Female Hackers Want To Make It Safer For You To Share Nudes

Photographed By Lula Hyers.
If you don't want to be subjected to revenge porn, don't send nudes. You've heard it before. But a group of female hackers thinks that advice isn't so much advice as it is patronizing. That's why they've come together to form Coding Rights, a Brazilian group that's advocating for a safer way to send nudes that doesn't place the blame on the people in the pictures.

Two of Coding Rights' founders, Joana Varon and Natasha Felizi, wanted to bring light to human rights online, but then focused in on nude photos because they saw it as a way to address feminism and something that people deal with on a near-daily basis.

"We saw that many guides addressing digital security for nudes were very prohibitive, meaning the first advice would be 'do not share nudes,' and it was very patronizing and inadequate for this phenomenon because people are already sharing pictures," says Varon.

According to a study published last year, 10% of women under the age of 30 and 15% of lesbian, gay, or bisexual internet users in the U.S. reported that someone has threatened to post photos of them online. That figure started Varon and Felizi, who see sending nudes as a way to express yourself, explore sexuality, and more. In fact, during workshops held around the world, the two have even advocated for sending sexy photos of unexpected body parts, such as ankles, necks, and feet.

"Society tells us to hide our bodies and our sexuality so we will be safer — not to mention trans, queer, bodies of color that are basically told to just disappear," adds Felizi. "But that is not the kind of safety we are pursuing. When one advises a women or a QTIAPOC person to avoid showing images of themselves, to avoid showing their bodies in their sexual power, they are in a certain way telling them to refrain from producing self-representation or from being who they are."

In addition to empowering people to send a variety of "sexy" photos, Coding Rights is looking to establish a database of laws that will help those who have been threatened with revenge porn. According to The Establishment, judges are still not clear on "how to approach the non-consensual sharing of intimate images, sometimes known as 'virtual rape.'" Coding Rights hopes that it can create a resource for activists and the courts alike, so that the issue is taken more seriously.

Varon, who works in human rights in the digital world, says that people can express themselves without worrying about sexual abuse with a few guidelines. First, she insists that you should always obscure your face and any telling characteristics, such as tattoos and birthmarks. She and Felizi also recommend using an app to cut the metadata from your photos, which include things like what device you were using, when you took a photo, and where you did it. They suggest Photo Exif Editor.

They also recommend apps that use end-to-end encryption, like Confide and Wickr, because they can't be traced by emails, phone numbers, or real names. These apps also destroy photos after they've been received and block screenshots. Felizi and Varon don't recommend email or iMessage, since images sent through those channels can be downloaded. It may seem like a lot of work to send a simple snapshot, but Coding Rights insists that exploring your sexuality shouldn't come with the fear of blackmail.
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