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Woman Sues Search Sites to Remove Name After Revenge Porn Incident

Revenge porn, or posting an ex's sexually explicit photos or videos on the internet, is a nasty and sometimes illegal business. And while state laws and courts have begun cracking down on those who post and facilitate revenge porn, protections for victims are far from perfect.

Take the case of one New York woman, who, while successful at getting surreptitiously recorded sex tapes removed from porn sites, is having a harder time scrubbing her search results from Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Now she is suing the search sites in the hope that removing her name entirely will finally keep the more promiscuous search results from popping up.

Hell Hath No Fury

The Harlem woman, a college student, was horrified to find her ex had posted video of their sexual encounters to several porn websites along with her name. Having a unique, four-word-long West African name, this meant that the revenge porn came up every time her name was searched, to the tune of four pages worth of search results. She asked the sites to remove the content, and they complied, but that had little impact on the search engines themselves.

"If you Google her name, everything is right there," Ryanne Konan, the woman's attorney, told The New York Post. "She can't even get an internship." So she and Konan sued Bing, Google, and Yahoo, seeking an injunction that would compel the companies to "remove her full name from their search engines."

Recourse for Revenge

Unfortunately for the victim, there is little, if any, precedent for her request. Google has made an effort to keep non-consensual nude and sexually explicit postings from its search results, and all three search companies allow victims to report non-consensual pornography and request to have it removed from search results. But removing a person's name entirely from a search engine would be a first.

And while many states have criminal statutes prohibiting revenge porn, New York is sadly not among them. So even though the search engine suit may be a long shot, it could also be this victim's last resort.

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