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Brazilian gang rape goes viral on Twitter, etc. What can be done? (1)

Nigel Morris-Co...

A storm has been unleashed as the 16 year old victim of a gang rape filmed and broadcast, along with other photographs, via Twitter has given an interview to Brazillian newspaper O Globo in which it is clear: the rape and its subsequent broadcast are only a part of the problems she faces.
It's time to clean up the 'net, says Nigel Morris-Cotterill

While commentators wheeled out by mainstream media in the past two days have suggested that the actions of filming and broadcasting unacceptable behaviour is a new phenomenon, their words belie a deep failure to understand the nature of the problem and its possible solutions.

Let's be clear: nothing can ever justify or excuse the rape of a woman by one man, gang rape is even more heinous. But it's not new. Worse, the media-isation of it is to be expected.

Recording rape is not new: it is depicted in ancient art, as are orgies in which case many of the women were slaves and, therefore, their consent was not genuine and therefore the sex was rape.

The underground and illegal film industry has long relied on "snuff movies" and pornography involving unwilling victims, both as hard-core material and, simply by its discussion, as a gateway to milder, more socially acceptable and therefore more profitable pornography.

The filming of the rape of children has long been sold to subscribers either as download or, as faster internet speeds have reached into the slums and rural districts of the developing world, streamed with abuse being committed to order.

Several years ago, the mobile phone video craze, given the ridiculously cuddly name of "happy slapping" became widespread. And there are a number of so-called "celebrities" who have used porn-light and "viral-uplift" via social media to gain initial attention or to bolster a flagging career. This is not new, either: "leaked" photos or footage have long been the tool of both full time (one hesitates to call them "professional") and self-publicists.

The use of video for blackmail or revenge is long-standing, too. Again, we should have expected that to move to public platforms and should not be surprised, or indignant, that it has.

Gang rape has been a feature of life in nightclubs, colleges, slums, war zones and the drawing rooms of the supposed gentry for more than 100 years: a mix of power and some form of intoxication plus an acceptance of loutish behaviour has been a catalyst. But perhaps the most powerful driver to do ever-more outlandish or outrageous things is the desire to gain fame or infamy by being the biggest, worst or, in the argot of the streets, the "baddest." The fad of mainstream TV using videos found on youtube.com and similar services to demonstrate excesses of human behaviour increases the cult of trying to out-do those that have been broadcast. It started with kittens chasing balls of wool and it's reached publicly available broadcast of, the girl says, as many as 33 men forcing her to have sex.

It is important, therefore, to realise that the rapists and their associates were not doing anything novel, either in committing the gang rape or in their broadcast. And their broadcast of it was entirely predictable. The only uncertainty was not whether it would be done but which channel they would choose.

In the event, they chose Twitter's relatively new video channel, Periscope.tv which markets itself with the following slogan "Periscope lets you explore the world through the eyes of somebody else" and "Periscope is a live video streaming app for iOS and Android developed by Kayvon Beykpour and Joe Bernstein and acquired by Twitter before launch in 2015."

It is designed for the happy-slapping generation to point their phone at something and for it to appear, live, on the 'web. In this, then, it is different to services which require the upload of a completed video.

But, again, there is in principle nothing new: it's just a form of video conferencing which does not require viewers to have a log-in. It's a public channel which allows exactly the kind of streaming that kiddie-porn viewers pay to watch over the so-called "dark web." Persicope's Android App page says "Going live will instantly notify your followers, who can join, comment and send you hearts in real time." These can clearly be used to place orders for conduct and for encouragement for the perpetrators.

Part 2 is here: https://www.pleasebeinformed.com/publications/ChiefOfficersNetwork_com/b...


Read: Cleaning up the 'Net by Nigel Morris-Cotterill. Paperback.