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Groups stand up to Palm Walk site

 by Kristi Eaton  published on Monday, November 14, 2005


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Several women are taking a stand against a Web site that asks users to rank pictures of women as they walk ASU's palm tree-lined malls.

Two groups hope to raise awareness about PalmWalk.com, a site that asks users to rate women on a scale of one to 10 -- a site they say violates women's rights.

Ashley Mack, a political science and women's studies junior, created the Body Project, a group geared toward fighting for women's body rights through education.

"We fight for anything having to do with body rights -- from plastic surgery to reproductive rights," she said.

Mack said the group is primarily fighting for women's privacy rights in regard to the Web site because she considers the site video voyeurism.

Video voyeurism is the nonconsensual filming or photographing of people for lewd purposes, she said.

Department of Public Safety Cmdr. Mark Roberts told The State Press in September the Web site is probably not breaking any laws because Palm Walk is a public place.

"There's no expectation of privacy," he said.

Two sisters are also hoping to get the pictures of unsuspecting girls off the Web site using a different technique.

Jennifer and Tiffany Duening were so disgusted by PalmWalk.com that they started their own Web site, PalmShock.com, to voice their anger and allow others the opportunity to vent.

"The fact that anyone is taking pictures of anybody and rating them is appalling," said Jennifer Duening, a communications senior. "We just want him to get women's consent."

In an e-mail interview, Thomas McCarthy, the creator of PalmWalk.com, said he would not comment on the Body Project group but was pleased the Duenings started their site.

"The group has every right to voice their opinion, and I compliment the Duening sisters for speaking out," he said. "I'd also like to publicly thank them for driving more traffic to PalmWalk.com."

McCarthy, who has left ASU to focus on his membership in the Future Billionaires Association, would not say whether he planned to add more pictures to the Web site.

Jennifer Duening said they do not necessarily want PalmWalk.com shut down but want McCarthy to think about what he's doing.

Members of the Body Project have not been in direct contact with McCarthy, Mack said.

"The creator won't listen. I understand how they think it's OK," Mack said.

The fact that pictures are being taken is more worrisome for Mack than the ranking of the girls, she said.

Mack said she is researching state and federal privacy laws to learn about what can be done.

"Privacy laws are extremely complicated," she said. "Until I firmly understand the laws I don't want to create an unrest."

The group is searching for the girls in the pictures on PalmWalk.com so they can have McCarthy take their pictures off of the site.

Reach the reporter at kristi.eaton@asu.com.



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