Leaked photos - how to check them; How to prevent leaks

Imagine that you woke up some day and you find out that the Internet is full of your naked photos and a lot of strangers have access to your private life.

Leaked photos - how to check them; How to prevent leaks

Imagine that you woke up some beautiful summer day and you find out that the Internet is full of your naked photos and a lot of unnamed people have access to your private life. What’s more, you cannot control the circulation of those photos in any way.

So, you are in the 2014 “Fappening” nightmare of Jenniffer Lawrence, Kaley Cuoco, or any one of the 100 celebrities whose photos leaked to the Internet. Although this incident resonated widely across the world and we also hear about spectacular photo leaks every year, a lot of people still don’t control their personal pictures enough and struggle with illegal usage of their self-image. This applies both to revenge porn (nonconsensual pornography) and using photos to create fake identities.

You are here, so likely some of your photos may have been illegally exposed and you want to know what to do. Here is a possible scenario of your actions:

First of all, find out where your photos leaked. The most problematic pictures are those where your face is visible. That’s why you can use the PimEyes’ face recognition search engine to track down images with faces similar to yours.

PimEyes - a tool to find out if your photos have been leaked

PimEyes is an advanced face tracker. It focuses on faces and enables you to find even modified images with a certain face in them. It is an effective tool used in the case of a stolen identity or usage of a face to create e.g fake profiles on dating services.

Ready to begin a search? Upload a photo!

The best photos are those with a clearly visible face (e.g. an en face shots).

It’s worth mentioning that PimEyes crawls publicly available web pages like the news, media, blogs, company websites, etc. and collects only legally obtained data, consistent with the information on the website. That means it doesn’t crawl private profiles in social media like Facebook, Instagram, etc. because it’s against those platforms’ rules.

What to do with leaked photos?

When you are aware of where the photos were leaked, report their illegal use! Start with websites that declare “zero tolerance” to nudity, nonconsensual pornography, or illegal usage of images. To remove the photos from those platforms you will probably need mostly time and patience. These will also be useful during disputes with less ethical websites that host the photos. Removing pictures from the websites’ servers is the most important part of the fight against illegal use of your image. Without removing pictures permanently, the problem of illegal use might come back after some time (e.g. when a shady website moves to a different domain and its owner also transfers images from the server. The unwanted photos are still going to be on the Internet, but on the other website that you will have to track down).

The key to fight the leaked photos is to remove them from external websites' servers

How to remove leaked photos? Practical tips

On most websites, you can report illegal use of photos by reporting abuse, usually by filling in a proper form. The way of reporting abuse should be specified in the website’s “Privacy Policy”. Usually, the procedure is also described in the “FAQ” or “Help” section.

So far everything seems quite simple: if you want to remove the unwanted photo of yourself, you just need to contact the websites’ owner and report the abuse. Unfortunately, it might not be as simple as it seems.

On many websites, the information about the owner or contact emails are hidden. In cases such as these, you can try to find the information about who registered the domain on which the website is located. The tool for that kind of search is called the Whois database. Here is one of the websites with access to the Whois database: Just enter the domain name and you will get the information about its registrar and, sometimes, about a subscriber (person who is the “owner” of the domain and probably also of the website). The information about the subscriber is in the “Administrative Contact” or “Contact Information” section.

Unfortunately, there are 2 situations when a domain subscriber data is restricted:

  • when the subscriber is an individual,
  • when the subscriber (legal person, like e.g. company) has reserved the data.

Those 2 situations apply to most domain registries, but they can differ for local domains in different countries.

As you see, removing the photo from a suspicious website might be very difficult. We are aware of that, so we have prepared a service to help you enforce deleting the unwanted images. It is called “PROtect Takedown Requests”.

In the “PROtect Takedown Requests” service we will handle legal documents necessary to remove photos indicated by you - DMCA & GDPR Takedown Notices. We will find the website’s owner, send them the request on your behalf, and demand to respect your rights to privacy and data protection. Learn more on how to protect yourself with DMCA&GDPR Takedownn Notices from the article on our blog.

Upload a photo and find out where your face appears online. Choose our PROtect plan and remove unwanted images with the “PROtect Takedown Requests” service.

How to prevent further photo leaks?

Unfortunately, even when you remove all the unwanted photos, there is a chance that someone who already had your photo and has used it before, might do it again. That’s why you have to monitor your image on the Internet. PimEyes comes to the rescue in this case as well, giving you the opportunity to set an alert for your face. You will get an email notification every time we find a face with parameters similar to yours.