Sexual Privacy

61 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2018 Last revised: 11 Sep 2018

Danielle Keats Citron

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law; Yale University - Yale Information Society Project; Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society

Date Written: August 17, 2018

Abstract

Those who wish to expose, control, and distort the identities of women, minorities, and minors routinely do so by invading their privacy. People are secretly recorded in bedrooms and public bathrooms, and “up their skirts.” Victims are coerced into sharing nude photographs and filming sex acts under the threat of public disclosure. People’s nude images are posted online without permission. Machine-learning technology is used to create digitally manipulated “deep sex fake” videos that swap people’s faces into pornography. At the heart of these abuses is an invasion of sexual privacy—the specific set of identity-enabling and equality-protecting rules and norms that protect access to and information about our bodies; intimate activities; and gender and sexual identities. Invasions of sexual privacy coerce visibility and invisibility, undermining identity formation, human dignity, and equal opportunity. More often, marginalized and subordinated communities shoulder the abuse. This Article explores how sexual privacy works, and should work. It shows how the efficacy of traditional privacy law is waning just as digital technologies magnify the scale and scope of the harm. We need a comprehensive approach to sexual privacy that includes legislation and updated privacy tort law. This would allow us to see the structural impact of sexual privacy invasions and prompt us to consider the privacy-enhancing and privacy-invading aspects of market efforts.

Keywords: sexual privacy, revenge porn, deep fake, section 230

Suggested Citation

Citron, Danielle Keats, Sexual Privacy (August 17, 2018). Yale Law Journal, Forthcoming; U of Maryland Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2018-25. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3233805

Danielle Keats Citron (Contact Author)

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law ( email )

500 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1786
United States

Yale University - Yale Information Society Project

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society

Palo Alto, CA
United States

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