UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
Violations of intimate privacy can be never ending. As long as nonconsensual pornography and deepfake sex videos remain online, privacy violations continue, as does the harm. This piece highlights the significance of injunctive relief to protect intimate privacy and legal reforms that can get us there. Injunctive relief is crucial for what it will say and do for victims and the groups to which they belong. Injunctive relief would have content platforms treat victims with the respect that they deserve, rather than as purveyors of their humiliation. It would say to victims that their intimate privacy matters and that sites specializing in intimate privacy violations are not lawless zones where their rights can be violated. For victims, the journey to reclaim their sexual and bodily autonomy, self-esteem and social esteem, and sense of physical safety proceeds slowly; the halting of the privacy violation lets that process begin. Lawmakers need to first, recognize that courts have the power to order injunctive relief for intimate privacy violations, and second, amend Section 230 so that platforms enabling those violations can be sued for such relief. The crux of my proposal is straightforward: Lawmakers should empower courts to issue injunctive relief directing content platforms enabling intimate privacy violations to remove, delete, or otherwise make unavailable intimate images, real or fake, hosted without written permission. Legislation also should permit the recovery of attorney’s fees. I also encourage market developments that can provide relief as we wait for the law to protect intimate privacy as vigorously and completely as it should.