What Anisa Salmi’s photo leak tells us
By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
An open letter published on October 1 to opnlttr.com by University of British Columbia graduate Anisa Salmi has brought into question police handling of cyber defamation. Salmi’s letter was in response to discovering nude photos of her had been published without her permission to US gossip site thedirty.com.
Salmi had previously shared the photos with a boyfriend who, following their breakup, allegedly posted the photos online, along with slanderous statements about Salmi. In her open letter, titled “Cyber-libel: What is Canada doing to protect Canadians?” Salmi stated she had repeatedly sought government assistance after finding out about the photos from a friend in September. Salmi began looking into specific laws, and felt she qualified for seeking charges based on “defamation/cyber-bullying, breach of privacy, and violation of copyright laws.”
However, after Salmi contacted a non-emergency police line, she was told to try small claims court; small claims court stated “defamation and privacy” were covered by the Supreme Court. When Salmi returned to the police to report her ex-boyfriend specifically, she was told there were no laws regarding her situation.
By this point in her open letter, Salmi states, “The question that was fired at me the most was, ‘You shared the photos with this person willingly?’ This statement implies that the upload of my private photos on a public Internet forum is somehow my fault.”
Since the publication of Salmi’s letter, Salmi has received public support and has spoken to a number of news outlets. “It was horrifying. I just felt like my life was over,” Salmi told CBC in an interview.
“I just felt violated and exposed,” she shared with Metro News. “The photos were up there without my consent.”
Just over a week later, Salmi was able to get the photos removed from thedirty.com with some outside help. Global reported that Salmi spent around $2,000 in fees to have a company finally make thedirty.com take down the photos and entry on Salmi. Salmi was ultimately protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, based on the fact that the photos published online were taken by her.
Although Salmi was able to get the photos removed, she has been vocal about her experience with the legal system. “I’m just disappointed in that I had to advocate so hard for myself when I know there’s been a crime that’s committed against me,” Salmi told Global.
“I think it’s outrageous that in this country my rights were not protected and no action was taken against this crime.”
Website thedirty.com has been around since 2007, and has an active forum community based out of BC. Despite numerous allegations made against the website, founder Hooman Karamian, also known as Nik Richie, often defends the site and actions of its users.