Archive for: February, 2014

Illinois Senate votes to outlaw revenge porn

SPRINGFIELD — Posting sexually explicit pictures of intimate friends or ex-lovers on the web would become illegal in Illinois under legislation the Senate passed Thursday.

Sponsoring Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Orland Hills, said the practice, known as revenge porn, represents “cyberbullying at its max.”

Under the proposal, it would be a felony to post nude and sexually explicit pictures of another person without his or her permission. The bill also would make it a crime to require a fee to get pictures removed from a web site. The maximum penalty would be up to three years in prison and a $25,000 fine, though judges would have discretion to impose lesser punishment.

Rep. Scott Drury, D-Highwood, will sponsor Hastings’ measure in the House, but has his own version and expects to meld the two together.

“Legislation like this is needed in Illinois,” said Drury, who noted similar bills have passed in California and New Jersey. “It’s needed everywhere and on a federal level. I think this is a big problem. It ruins people’s lives. So we need to do something to help.”

The move attempts to update statutes to address technological changes as social media advances on the Internet.

The Illinois chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has argued the bill would limit the First Amendment right to free speech, but Hastings said not all speech is protected in the U.S. Constitution.

“Anything that’s obscene in nature isn’t protected,” Hastings said. “I think that non-consensual explicit pictures posted online is obscene, and it won’t hold the same judicial standard as regular free speech would.”

The bill passed the Senate 52-0.

Illinois Senate votes to outlaw revenge porn – Chicago Tribune,0,6509340.story
revenge porn – Google News… Read the rest

Reports: Revenge Porn Website Lands Sand Springs Man In Jail

TULSA, Oklahoma –
A Green Country man is behind bars after prosecutors say he was running a, revenge porn website. Casey Meyering is being held at the jail waiting to answer to extortion charges in California.Meyering reportedly posted more than 400 sexually explicit photos and extorted $250 from victims to remove the photos from his website.Legal Blogger Adam Steinbaugh said,

“If they’re going out to Oklahoma to pick them up and drag them back to Northern California they’re serious.”

Agents from California paid a visit to Green Country; a special cybercrimes task force was looking for Meyering in Tulsa. After kicking in the door, agents found Meyering in a midtown hotel room.

California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris said Meyering, 28, owned a website called “,” that asked the public to post nude and explicit photos of people without their permission.

Meyering reportedly encouraged people to post the photos and identify their “win” according to city and state, sometimes using the victim’s name. The site is described as a “user supported website where you can trade your ex-girlfriend, your current girlfriend, or any other girl that you might know,” according to a news release from the California Department of Justice.

According to court documents, a victim found stolen nude photos of herself on Meyering’s site. The victim wanted the photos taken down, but prosecutors said she had to pay more than $200 to Meyering to get them taken down.

“It’s about pure profit, about lining his pockets off the embarrassment and the exposure of people who are victims and people who have no intention of having their privacy violated in this way,” Harris said.

Prosecutors traced money paid by the victims to a Tulsa bank account in Meyering’s name. Steinbaugh wrote about Meyering’s revenge porn website in June.

“So they’re profiting off of the embarrassment that these people experienced at their hands,” he said.

Steinbaugh said the arrest, regardless of where you live, shows California is serious about taking down these revenge porn websites.

“I think it’s awful what these sites do to people. I think it’s more awful when they hide what they’re doing; they try to extort people. That’s a terrible thing to do and that deserves criticism,” Steinbaugh said.

Meyering was arrested at the Trade Winds Motel in the 3100 block of East Skelly Drive in Tulsa. Police told News On 6 he refused to open the door and officers had to force their way into the hotel room.

He was booked on three felony complaints of attempted extortion. He is being held without bond for Napa County, California.

California has a revenge porn law on the books to prosecute these crimes but Oklahoma does not.

Reports: ‘Revenge Porn’ Website Lands Sand Springs Man In Jail – News On 6
revenge porn – Google News… Read the rest

Oklahoma man arrested in alleged revenge porn extortion

An Oklahoma man who allegedly blackmailed women with nude and sexually explicit photos on his “revenge porn” website has been arrested and faces charges in California, Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris announced Friday.

Casey E. Meyering, 28, of Tulsa, allegedly ran the “revenge porn” website known as WinByState that featured photos either stolen from victims or posted by angry former boyfriends, Harris’ office said.

In a kind of competition among states, the website encouraged men to post photos of women they used to date or of current girlfriends.

The website then required victims to pay $250 via a Google Wallet account to remove the photographs, the officials said. That financial account, registered at a non-existent Beverly Hills storefront, was eventually traced to Meyering.

“This behavior is the very definition of predatory and this website made a game out of humiliating victims for profit,” Harris said in a statement.

The attorney general began to investigate after a Northern California woman discovered stolen nude photos of herself on the site.  Officials said they found 400 postings involving California people and many more from around the country.

Meyering was arrested by California and Oklahoma law enforcement officers and charged with five felony extortion counts. He is resisting extradition to California.

In December, a San Diego man was arrested for allegedly operating a similar website and shakedown operation. Kevin Christopher Bollaert, 27, is awaiting trial on identity theft and extortion charges.

Oklahoma man arrested in alleged ‘revenge porn’ extortions – Los Angeles Times,0,6626166.story#axzz2tNJVi6hg
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Az lawmaker targets revenge porn, seeking felony charge

Some images are posted by angry exes, while others are circulated around schools. No matter how sexually explicit photos and
videos make the rounds, one Arizona lawmaker wants to make so-called revenge porn a criminal offense.“People have taken their lives because of the mortification that happens in these situations,” said Rep. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, author of HB 2515. The bill would make it a felony to knowingly distribute images showing a person who is nude or engaged in a sexual act without the written consent of the pictured individual. It carries harsher penalties if the individual is recognizable.

The House Judiciary Committee unanimously endorsed the bill Thursday, sending it to the House floor by way of the Rules Committee.

Will Gaona, system advocate at the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, told the committee that such images can be used by an abusive partner to trap a victim.

“Currently there’s few if any repercussions that people face for sharing these images,” he said. “We believe criminalization is both the most appropriate response and most effect deterrent for this behavior.”

California and New Jersey have both passed laws to fight revenge porn, and Utah lawmakers are considering a similar bill.

Rep. Lupe Chavira Contreras, D-Cashion, who voted for the bill, said he was concerned about how it would apply to minors who may not know better.

“There’s a lot of kids, high school kids, that are sexting,” he said.

Rebecca Baker, legislative liaison for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, noted that sexting by juveniles is a petty offense under state law. She said exempting juveniles from Mesnard’s bill could be a way to address those concerns.

Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, the committee’s chairman, questioned whether someone who has shared sexually explicit images of himself or herself is entitled to privacy.

“I think there’s some difficulty claiming you have a right to privacy because you sent it and it’s on the entire system,” he said.

“You can’t absolve someone of complete stupidity,” Farnsworth said.

Mesnard said not all sexually explicit photo exchanges occur between young people and questioned whether people would find sexting as inappropriate and stupid if it occurred between a married couple.

“I’m not sure we should be telling people what to do in a loving, healthy, possibly marital relationship,” he said.

“If we become a society where we’re so terrified of what someone might do when we trust them, that’s just sad,” he added.

Rep. Justin Pierce, R-Mesa, said that he’s concerned about sending the message that while sexting is stupid a person who does so will be protected if the images find their way to unintended viewers.

“By protecting the conduct too much we actually enable it,” Pierce said.

Mesnard said it’s time for Arizona to send a message that taking revenge in such a manner is unacceptable.

“In all honesty, I wish this bill wasn’t necessary,” he said.

Az lawmaker targets revenge porn, seeking felony charge –
revenge porn – Google News

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Copyright Law: Our Best Weapon Against Revenge Porn?

Titian/Rebecca J. Rosen

“Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the more a man’s nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out.” – Sir Francis Bacon

* * *

When federal agents arrested Hunter Moore last month, the Internet breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Dubbed the “Most Hated Man on the Internet,” Moore ran the notorious revenge porn website IsAnyoneUp. His site racked up millions of pageviews and thousands of dollars in advertising revenue by posting sexually explicit photographs and detailed personal information about the people he featured on the site.

According to the indictment, Moore relied on a co-defendant, Charles “Gary Jones” Evens, to hack into victims’ email accounts and obtain nude photographs to feature on IsAnyoneUp. The pair is charged with one count of conspiracy, seven counts of aggravated identity theft, and seven counts of “unauthorized access of a protected computer to obtain information.”

Moore allegedly obtained some of the photos through hacking, but bitter exes submitted many more.

The photos hosted by websites like IsAnyoneUp are often referred to as “revenge porn.” The phenomenon is [B]: One in 10 former partners threaten to post sexually explicit images of their exes online, and an estimated 60 percent follow through. (It’s also worth mentioning that upwards of 80 percent of revenge porn victims are women.)

The harms caused by revenge [B] are very real—people featured on these sites receive solicitations over social media, lose their jobs, or live in fear that their family and future employers will discover the photos.


The Origins of [B]

Moore may have been the “King of Revenge Porn,” but he wasn’t the first contender for the throne.

[B]In 1980, someone at Hustler Magazine had the idea to start Beaver Hunt, a contest that published reader-submitted images of naked women. Beaver Hunt photos were often accompanied by details about the woman: her hobbies, her sexual fantasies, and sometimes her name. Some of the photos were stolen. Exes submitted many more.

Throughout the ’80s, women sued Hustler for publishing their photos in Beaver Hunt without their permission. Several courts determined that publishing intimate photos without verifying whether the pictured women actually gave the go-ahead gave the false impression that all of the featured women felt comfortable with their pictures appearing in a “coarse and sex-centered magazine.”

Revenge porn websites have adopted many of the features that made Beaver Hunt notable: showing off user-generated content, submitted without the pictured person’s consent or knowledge, flanked by personal information.

There is one important difference between a nude photo appearing on a website or in the pages of a print magazine. The impact of the photo, even one featured in a popular magazine like Hustler, was still constrained by the fact that it was bound in print. Pages of the magazine could be torn out or photocopied, but the likelihood of a prospective employer coming across a Beaver Hunt photo through happenstance was slim to none.

The likelihood of an employer Googling an applicant and following up on a hit from a [B]? Significantly more likely. Throw links, cross-postings, and email into the mix, and it becomes all the more certain that revenge porn will be discovered.


Problems with Preventing Revenge Porn

In many ways, the lawsuits pending against revenge porn websites echo the privacy suits brought against Beaver Hunt. So far, though, victims have had limited success going after revenge porn uploaders and websites.

It isn’t because existing laws aren’t applicable. Victims who are photographed without their knowledge can use state voyeurism or Peeping Tom laws. Victims whose photos were Photoshopped or whose names were linked to naked images of other people may be able to use defamation law. Because an estimated 40 percent of non-consensual pornography was obtained through hacking, those victims can rely on the civil provisions of the federal hacking law—the same one used to prosecute Moore.

So why haven’t all these sites been shut down?

Many of the lawsuits against revenge porn websites are for tort claims like stalking, harassment or invasion of privacy. The problem is that most stalking and harassment laws are not applicable to revenge porn submitters because there is no repeated course of conduct or direct communication with the victim. False light claims for invasion of privacy—like those alleged by women who were featured in Beaver Hunt without their knowledge—may be successful against submitters. However, these laws don’t provide victims with a way to take down cross-posted, cached or linked versions of their photos on other websites.

That would require additional injunctions against additional parties, and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act renders most claims against websites dead on arrival.

Section 230 protects interactive service providers, or ISPs, from liability for user-generated content. That protection does not apply if an ISP is also an information content provider, meaning that the ISP hosts both original and user-[B]. Revenge porn websites aren’t creating the sexually explicit photos they post. In fact, more than 80 percent of revenge porn photos are “selfies.”

Getting rid of something like Section 230 may seem appealing—why shouldn’t revenge porn websites be held responsible for the salacious selfies they post?

Section 230 was enacted after Stratton Oakmont, the financial firm of The Wolf of Wall Street fame, [B] against the early ISP Prodigy. Congress was worried that allowing ISPs to be held liable for user-generated content would crush the Internet. Even in the early ’90s, enough people were plugged into services like Prodigy and AOL that policing every piece of user-generated content would have been impossible.

As broad as it seems, Section 230 doesn’t give websites carte blanche to host any and all user-generated content—immunity does not apply to violations of child pornography, obscenity, criminal or intellectual property laws. Narrowing Section 230, or getting rid of it entirely, would allow victims to hold revenge porn websites responsible for the content they host.

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Towson Woman Fighting Back After She’s Exposed Through Revenge Porn

TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — It’s called revenge porn, and it’s a growing problem, impacting thousands of lives. Couples trust each other with intimate photos, then become victims of the digital age.

A Towson woman tells Linh Bui how she’s fighting back after she’s exposed.

Annmarie Chiarini is a respected English professor, a single mother of two and a victim of revenge porn.

It’s a growing problem on the Internet, where former lovers get revenge by posting their ex’s racy photos that were supposed to be for their eyes only.

Annmarie’s problems start when she goes on Facebook and reconnects with a former boyfriend after almost 20 years.

“I was shocked and thrilled and it’s that whole, ‘Oh my gosh!’” she said.

Thinking he’s the one, Annmarie even lets him take explicit naked photos of her. But then, he starts to change.

“He was getting more and more manipulative and even more controlling,” she said. “He had threatened to sell the pictures that I had allowed him to take. He said, ‘I will destroy you’ and hung up the phone.”

With just a few clicks, he inflicts maximum damage, targeting her family, friends, students and bosses with links to her racy photos.

Reporter: “When you first saw that email and you saw that these pictures of you were out there for everyone to see, what was your reaction?”

Annmarie: “I had lost control. Somebody else was in the driver’s seat of my life and I was at his mercy. I realized this is my life and this is never going to end.”

Annmarie isn’t alone. Other victims have joined forces to make revenge porn a crime.

WJZ investigates, learning more than 1,200 victims have contacted the cyber civil rights initiative in the last six months and more than 45 websites are devoted exclusively to revenge porn.

“It’s either every day or twice a day victims get in touch with me,” said Prof. Danielle Citron, University of Maryland Carey School of Law.

Citron is an expert on revenge porn.

“It is creating so much social harm for victims, for society, for the kinds of expectations we have of each other. We can no longer trust one another,” she said.

Feeling betrayed and humiliated, Annmarie takes a handful of prescription pills to end her life.

“I questioned my ability to be a role model to my children,” Annmarie said. “I didn’t want to embarrass them, I didn’t want them to go through school saying, ‘Oh, your mom’s the one who’s naked on the Internet.’”

“I somehow needed to make sure that nobody else felt this way, that nobody else hit this low,” she continued.

When Annmarie finds out there are no laws to punish her ex-boyfriend, she comes to Annapolis and teams up with Delegate Jon Cardin to make revenge porn a crime.

“At the click of a mouse you can ruin somebody’s reputation, you can ruin their life, you can cause them significant psychological anguish,” Del. Cardin said. “We want people to think twice before clicking the mouse.”

“Until the law in Maryland is passed I won’t truly know peace,” Annmarie said.

Under Cardin’s proposal, posting sexually explicit material of someone without their consent would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Towson Woman Fighting Back After She’s Exposed Through ‘Revenge Porn’ – CBS Local
Towson Woman Fighting Back After She’s Exposed Through ‘Revenge Porn’
revenge porn – Google News… Read the rest

California bills to target ‘ghost guns,’ revenge porn

SACRAMENTO — It is still nearly three weeks before state lawmakers return to session, but some on Tuesday previewed the bills they plan to introduce, including measures involving revenge porn, ghost guns and oil taxes.

Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) said he would propose a bill to close a loophole in this year’s new law prohibiting revenge porn. The term is used to describe cases where men and women in bitter breakups post nude photos of their exes on the Internet to embarrass them.

Cannella’s proposed new bill would extend the prohibition to “selfies,” in which men or women photograph themselves while undressed and then send them to their significant other.

“I recognized that more could be done to protect a larger number of victims so I will present new legislation this upcoming session so the law will apply to anyone who distributes revenge porn regardless of who took the photo,” Cannella said.

Meanwhile, Democratic Sens. Noreen Evans of Santa Rosa and Mark DeSaulnier of Concord plan to introduce a new bill to tax oil pumped from the ground in California on a sliding scale of from 2% to 8%, with some of the money going to reduce tuition for those attending state universities.
Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) announced that he would introduce legislation to ban the sale, manufacture, purchase and trafficking of so-called ghost guns, including plastic firearms and other homemade guns that are not otherwise registered.

De Leon is concerned about the invention of 3-D printers that can make guns out of materials that do not show up on metal detectors.

“The threat of plastic and self-assembled firearms should not be underestimated,” De Leon said. “There is an emerging industry and market for untraceable and undetectable ghost guns.”

California bills to target ‘ghost guns,’ revenge porn – Los Angeles Times
revenge porn – Google News

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