In this day and age, the odds are high that someone, somewhere, has a picture of you in an awkward, embarrassing or compromising situation. But what if that person happens to be an angry ex?
Perhaps you live a life as pure as the driven snow, or maybe you have spent most of your existence living alone in a cave and don’t have to worry about such trivialities. For the rest of us mere mortals who don't plan on running for public office however, there is probably photographic documentation of illegal or ill-advised behavior that we would prefer not be shared in the public domain.
The bathtub pictures in your baby book that your parents show your friends on your birthday may be embarrassing enough, but they can't compare to the hot water you'll be in when revenge porn sites publish images of you from happier, sexier times, courtesy of a vindictive jilted lover. Not only do they publish pictures, but these purveyors of porn also share the subject's full name, address and even phone number.
In the U.S., hosting sites are protected by the Communications Decency Act, which holds those who created the content in the first place responsible. This is regardless of whether the photos were created for artistic or erotic purposes. If nobody is being physically harmed, and parties are of legal age of consent, there is technically no basis for retribution.
Dating back to as far as high school, I have at times been in the possession of explicit images of girls I have dated (not to mention the pictures on my iPhone at this very moment). Smartphones make the practice even more effortless and immediate than the 35mm cameras of old.
Despite being amazed at what some people will voluntary share and regardless of who initiated the breakup or how painful it may have been, I have never dreamt of circulating them. I don’t think this necessarily makes me a gentleman, but it does apparently make me part of the minority.
Clearly there is an element of trust involved when you let someone into this sacred territory, but as they say “All is fair in love and war,” so a degree of personal accountability is also required. If you don’t want explicit images of yourself circulated around the Internet for everyone to see, then ensure that such images are never created or shared in the first place. It isn’t rocket science.