Privacy rights are about to be challenged, and challenged by the operating systems that run our favorite devices. Beginning with iOS 11 this fall, users will be able to record everything on their screens. And when we say everything, so far at least, that means everything: FaceTime, Skype, Kik, WhatsApp, you name your favorite video conferencing app, and screen recording will record it. Google will also apparently be building this into their Android operating system as well, if rumors prove to be correct. Compounding the issue, Flash has been announced as end-of-life, and HTML 5 video streaming will become the standard, making any mobile device with iOS 11 or the new Android OS, capable of recording the video chat.
Beginning, early this fall, an iOS 11 user (after the upgrade), can simply swipe up on their mobile device into the new control center, and one-tap activate the screen recording feature, and a 3 second countdown begins. When the recording starts, everything shown on your screen is then recorded and saved to your photo library until you re-engage the control center and one-tap end the recording. Audio is only captured from the user’s microphone, and the microphone is muted when engaging in phone calls or video calls. However, the video is still captured, albeit on FaceTime, Skype or any chat protocol of your choice. This new technology could dramatically impact the already-struggling and ever-changing adult business negatively.
Because of the abundance of free porn sites such as YouPorn and RedTube that have taken over the internet, the vast majority of adult performers have had to take on webcamming to make up the financial shortcomings that come from the dramatic drop in production and pay rates. I spoke with three adult performers this morning and got their take on this new feature, and how it could impact them moving forward. It can and will dramatically change their livelihoods.
“All human beings have three lives: public, private and secret, and this technology is about to end that.” Speaking to adult star Sheridan Love (@SheridanLoveXXX on Twitter), whose income is heavily based on webcamming, where she began. Although Sheridan does shoot adult scenes as well, since she began on cam, she still relies on it for a lot of her day-to-day income. Her husband, Mr. Sheridan, is always heavily vocal on things he feels like could impact the adult business or his wife specifically. “It is another way for people to feel like it is ok to pirate adult content. How would Apple or Google feel if someone recorded their original content then shared it on tube sites (free porn streaming sites such as RedTube)?”
Alexis Monroe has a ton of social media presence. On Twitter alone, Monroe has 435,000+ followers (@AlexisMonroeXXX). She can command high-dollar for private Skype shows, and this is making up half of her income right now alongside performing in adult scenes, her membership site and feature dancing. Her camming is worth 50% of that income, and this could potentially be a huge hit for her. “Screen recording, in my personal opinion, is going to not only diminish the value of our one-on-one time with our fans, it will also scare them away.”
“The value of Skype, webcamming, FaceTime, etc. is to have that alone time with your favorite star. To see live action and ask all those questions you’ve been dying to ask but may be too shy to voice over social media.” Monroe explains, “If our fans fear being recorded, they aren’t going to subject themselves to these types of situations. This means less income for all adult performers. I understand where in some areas this feature may be useful, but I do not think it is should be a mandatory feature in the new update.”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t need to be mandatory for this feature to impact the adult business. Only one person in a two person conversation needs to have the screen recording feature, and that person will have the ability to record and later distribute these private chats. Legally, there will be challenges the first time these are distributed, but the legality is questionable since both parties are consenting to a video conference by signing up for the service or downloading the app in the first place. But without a doubt, someone will challenge the legality.
Speaking with AVN Hall of Famer and former Adam and Eve and Digital Playground Contract Star Teagan Presley (@MsTeagan on Twitter), she echoed a concern that is outside the scope of even the impact to adult stars and their incomes: the potential for blackmail and extortion. Many adult stars and Instagram ‘models’ have outed many an athlete by that athlete simply “sliding into their DMs.” This could get a lot more serious and certainly more interesting for the general public.
“Imagine a NFL player or even a normal guy, hits up his favorite adult star or model, and that model agrees to have a Skype session with that play for the purpose of sexting. It happens every day.” Presley adds, “You will see some of the more scandalous girls threaten to release screen recordings of their text conversations, and more importantly, their video chats. It could happen with a normal girl or guy, not just someone famous. This could ruin lives.”
The impact goes further than adult and social media stars. If someone is having an online affair while they are married, if that relationship goes badly, revenge porn will become one-tap away, with forward thinking cheaters recording every move on their phone or tablet.
While the benefits of this feature are many, the scary side of it needs to be addressed and thought about as well. It is nice for a gamer to be able to record their gaming session to broadcast later on Twitch, and certainly for the business traveler who FaceTimes their small child from the road, the ability to save that video means memories for a lifetime.
This is not a technology that will be stopped since it will be supported shortly on every operating system, but the warning signs are there, and people need to be aware of what that innocent Skype or FaceTime session could mean down the road. With greater technology comes greater danger.