Calgary Family Lawyers Providing Experienced Assistance to Victims of Revenge Pornography

As technology advances, so does the potential for new injuries to arise from our everyday inclusion of such technology in our lives. Readily accessible cameras and video recorders on our phones, the use of text messages and email for the exchange of digital files, and the extensive use of social media as a platform for sharing our experiences all lend themselves to an increased risk of our private lives being widely distributed and shared with the public, without our consent.

The outcome of such a breach of privacy and trust can have the effect of ruining a person’s life.  Victims are exposed to online and workplace harassment, cyberstalking, and severe emotional and psychological harm.  Additionally, given the ability to download and copy images and videos from the internet, it is exceptionally difficult to completely remove any media from the internet once it is posted online.  If the photos or videos are posted alongside the victim’s identifying information, it can also have longstanding effects on a victim’s ability to obtain employment given the common practice of employers conducting online searches of potential employees. For any person facing these circumstances, urgent action from an experienced lawyer is key.

In the past few years, Mincher Koeman has worked with numerous clients to quickly and effectively put a stop the spread of these images and mitigate the reputational damage that can result. Our lawyers are experienced in handling the technical aspects of a revenge porn matter, such as the identification of IP addresses and working with the police and IT professionals to minimize the exposure of the images on the web. The firm’s founding partners, Lynsey Mincher and Andrew Koeman, both had extensive experience practicing in criminal law before dedicating their careers to family law. They have experience before all levels of the Alberta court system and their practice has been specifically designed to enable them to act with urgency in time-sensitive matters necessitating emergency court filings.

What is “Revenge Porn”?

Revenge Porn is the uploading of intimate and private photos and videos, of a sexual nature, to publicly accessible media or websites without the consent of all the individuals depicted in the photos and videos.  Such acts have recently made headlines with hackers stealing sexually explicit photos and videos from celebrity cell phones, and reposting the images online. However, it also commonly occurs in the context of relationship breakdowns, where one individual shares or uploads photos and videos of their ex-partner to publicly accessible webpages. Notwithstanding the risk, those in an intimate relationship often continue to share such photos with each other or participate in the production of homemade films and photographs of an erotic nature.

What are my Options if I Become a Target of “Revenge Porn”?

In Alberta, the courts have historically failed to recognize a common law tort of invasion of privacy, instead holding that if damages are available for such a breach of privacy, action must be taken under the Personal Information Protection Act.  However, this Act is intended to govern the collection and disclosure of personal information by an organization and does not provide remedies for the disclosure of private information by an individual, such as an ex-partner.  Numerous other provinces in Canada have developed legislation that creates torts, or common law offences, for the breach of privacy, such as revenge porn, by an individual; however, Alberta has failed to create such legislation at present.

Given the nationwide awareness of the prevalence of revenge porn, the recent handling of similar issues by courts in other Canadian jurisdictions, and the evident long-term damage that revenge porn can cause to its victims, we believe that the courts in Alberta will be ready to accept and develop a common law tort of invasion of privacy for victims of revenge porn. In the meantime, our lawyers will act quickly to send Cease and Desist letters to the senders and additional third-party recipients of the images or videos in question if they refuse to delete the images. We also have a wealth of experience executing strategies to assist with reputation protection, via filing takedown notices in different jurisdictions, de-indexing the images and videos from search engines, and working to reduce the page ranking of the images in online searches.

Contact Mincher Koeman for Skilled and Efficient Resolution to Matters Involving Revenge Porn in Calgary

If you are or have been the victim of revenge porn, you should contact the police immediately to report the offence. You should then seek legal advice to determine your options for civil remedies against the offender, and Mincher Koeman can help. If you are considering a prenuptial or cohabitation agreement, you can ensure greater protection for yourself in the event of a breakdown of your relationship by drafting an agreement that includes provisions to protect and compensate you should your partner ever post videos or photos of you online. Please contact our office to make an urgent appointment to discuss your matter with one of our lawyers by calling us at 403-910-3000 or by contacting us online.

A team above all. Above all a team.

1300, 707 7 Ave SW
Calgary, AB, T2P 3H6

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