HomeNewsSex tapes: Digital footprints that don’t just vanish

Sex tapes: Digital footprints that don’t just vanish

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RECENTLY Thabiso Phiri was forced to relinquish the prestigious Miss Zimbabwe title after her naked pictures were allegedly leaked on the Internet by an ex-boyfriend.

REPORT BY CECILIA KAMUPUTA

Thabiso Phiri
Thabiso Phiri

But Thabiso is not the only one as there are more sex-tapes and nude pictures of Zimbabweans finding their way to Internet platforms more than ever before.

Mobile Revolution

This has been necessitated by the rise in the use of smart phones and the general affordability of mobile broadband.

As mobile technology takes over our daily lives the world over, Zimbabwe is fast catching up with over 5,2 million people on the Internet and a 100% mobile penetration rate.

Communication is made more convenient as not just text, but videos, pictures and audio are becoming cheaper and easier to share.

In the early 2000s electronic communication was most via business emails and this had a limited number of reach, but the coming of social media — Facebook, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and millions of others, opened floodgates of mass internet-based sharing of content.

This — coupled with the invention of affordable Internet-enabled feature and smartphones — speaks to what can be witnessed everywhere, people spending more time on their mobile devices.

A recent report by Opera Software, developers of the popular Opera Mini browser, states that Nokia models X2-01and C3-00 are the most widely used devices in Zimbabwe, South Africa and most of African countries.

Rise in amateur porn sites

This mobile technology advancement and the subsequent surge in the number of websites specialising in African pornography — like Naija Uncut, XVideos among others, has seen a huge number of amateur porn videos going online.

A visit to Naija Uncut reveals they upload dozens of downloadable amateur sex tapes daily, some from Zimbabwe.

A Google search for African amateur porn gives nearly five million results, which shows how widespread the phenomenon is.

Some get famous . . .

While some of these leaks have catapulted some to fame — as it did for Pokello when her sex tape with former boyfriend and rapper Stunner leaked — others have been thrown into abyss.

Pokello
Pokello

This is not only in Africa as Armenian-American socialite Kim Kadarshian’s sex tape with rapper musician threw her into the limelight.

But for those who have not been so lucky, Tinopona Katsande was fired from her esteemed job as Zi-FM Stereo radio presenter when her sex tape was allegedly leaked by a former boyfriend.
In numerous cases, university students have been expelled after recording amateur porn and publishing it.

While some willingly post online their images and video, others are the victims who would not have intended to have their sex acts viewed by millions of people.

Revenge porn

Banned in the US and other countries including Zimbabwe revenge porn is sexually explicit media that is publicly shared online without the consent of the pictured individual.

Tinopona Katsande. Picture by zimeye.org
Tinopona Katsande. Picture by zimeye.org

It may be uploaded by ex-partners to shame or embarrass the pictured individual, or by hackers.

Apart from sexting, there is a trend that has swept Nigeria and other West African countries where porn websites buy sex tapes.

This has resulted in cash-crazy men or women recording their sex acts without the other partner knowing and posting these to the Internet.

Others go to the extent of drugging their partners with the aim of causing them to become disoriented, unconscious, or to lower their inhibitions to recorded sex.

Data back-up

Despite the risk of ending up a victim of revenge porn, most the
devices we use were designed with some default back-up systems that keep data even when one erases the file.

So, even when one sells, or loses a phone, some data may not be completely erased and the new owner may be able to retrieve the data and put it out to the public.

Recording of sex acts and sharing the content is illegal in Zimbabwe, but the biggest threat is that as soon as leaked pictures or video are on the net, hundreds of websites pick these items and aggregate them on their platforms.

While reputable sites like You Tube, Facebook and Twitter can pull down this content when someone makes a report; there are millions of websites all over the world that thrive on such content.

How to avoid sex tapes

Date-Rape-Drug

So, to completely avoid the risk of leaked nudes or sex tapes, simply do not take any naked pictures of yourself and avoid sending naked pictures to anyone.

It is important that when having sexual contact with a boyfriend or girlfriend be familiar with the environment and check for hidden cameras, phones and laptops that may be in the recording mode.

Talk about these risks and if possible, agree to switch off all recording devices.

To avoid being drugged, ensure you do not leave your drink or
beer in the hands of anyone and be the one opening your own drink and check if its seal is not tampered with.

When going out, it is always paramount to do so with people you can trust.

To erase back-up data, most phones have a function that allows one to restore factory settings and erase all the data.

This is important when one is disposing of the device.

For Android devices, make sure you do not authorise the auto-back App to automatically back up your content.

This can be turned off in the Applications manager.

Most important of all, technology is something meant to make
our lives easier and it is paramount to think beyond the moment and look at the implications of every touch that you make on your screen as not doing so can have serious consequences on our privacy like it did for Tinopona, Thabiso and many others.

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