Federal Take-Down of Revenge Porn Kings

 
On February 18, 2015, Hunter Moore, the owner and operator of now infamous revenge porn site IsAnyoneUp.com, pleaded guilty to unauthorized access to a computer, aiding and abetting unauthorized access of a computer, and identity theft.

The charges against Moore come in the wake of a string of federal take-downs of other revenge porn sites, including Craig Brittain’s IsAnybodyDown.com and Kevin Bollaert’s Ugotposted.com.

“Revenge porn” is the non-consensual publication of sexually explicit or nude images. Victims of revenge porn often find their images have been shared without their consent for money, or to harass or inflict emotional distress.

The individual’s name, and other identifying information are often intentionally included along with the photos, further ensuring the images appear in Google search results and come to the attention to anyone searching for the subject such as a potential new employer.

While Moore and Bollaert are facing considerable prison time, Brittain entered into a settlement with the FTC. Under the agreement, Brittain is banned from posting nude images without the express, written consent of the subject of the photo and must delete all pictures and information he has collected for his website.

These website operators often obtained images by impersonating the victims’ friends and then obtaining confidential information that would allow them to access the victims’ accounts. Brittain and Moore also offered ‘bounties’ ranging from a $100-$200 for submissions of pictures and private information.

Besides their revenge porn websites, Brittain and Bollaert owned and operated content removal services that offered to delete the images and content on their websites for a payment often upwards of several hundred dollars.

However, these revenge porn website operators were not brought in on charges for creating the online platforms for the revenge porn itself.  Instead, these individuals were charged with crimes such as extortion, identity theft, and hacking, absent a federal revenge porn law.

Prosecutors went after Moore because he paid a hacker to steal the photos from his victims. The FTC pursued Brittain for deceptive business practices after he posed as a female on Craigslist to obtain images for his website. Bollaert was charged with extortion after he charged victims hundreds of dollars to remove their photos from his website.

Although the federal government may have its hands tied for bringing charges for revenge porn, there is good news for victims of revenge porn in Colorado.

In 2014, Colorado passed legislation that not only criminalized revenge porn, but created a private cause of action. Victims of revenge porn in Colorado are now entitled to injunctive relief and a minimum of $10,000 in damages.

By Cassandra Kirsch, HopkinsWay PLLC. | © HopkinsWay PLLC 2015. All rights reserved.

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