Archive for: June, 2014

Governor Neil Abercrombie signs revenge porn bill into law

HONOLULU  –
Human rights activists celebrated a victory Friday, as the revenge porn bill was signed into law by Governor Neil Abercrombie.”I feel great. It’s a huge victory for victims of sexual assault. I think it’s important to remember that revenge porn is sexual assault” said Kris Coffield of the Imua Alliance.The law makes it illegal for anyone to record or disseminate images or video or a person in the nude or in sexual conduct without their consent.

“Spreading somebody’s naked image online for everybody to see without that person’s permission is extremely abusive and traumatic for that victim” said Kathryn Xian of the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery.

The crime has become more pervasive with the growth of social media, making it difficult to assess how widespread it is.

“Given that the internet makes the commission of cyber crimes like revenge porn so easy, the number of cases out there is going to far exceed our expectations” said Coffield.

Legislators pushed to make it a felony given the severity of the offense.

“He or she can be in jail for over 5 years, so this is pretty powerful. It’s pretty potent, so it will be a strong deterrent for those that want to do something like this” said State Representative John Mizuno.

Mizuno said it was difficult to legislate, given it deals with the free speech issues.

“However, if you’re going to attack someone, affect their career, humiliate then, hurt them mentally, provide personal information about them, you’re crossing the line”.

The offense is now a class C felony, punishable by up to 5 years in jail.

 

Related Links:

Governor signs 10 bills relating to Criminal Justice

Copyright 2014 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Gov. Abercrombie signs ‘revenge porn’ bill into law – Hawaii News Now
http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/25834081/revenge-porn-bill-signed-into-law
revenge porn – Google News… Read the rest

Kanye West Asks Judge To Drop The Copyright Infringement Case

Kanye WestKanye West may not be looking for a “Gold Digger” but according to the family of the late singer David Pryor, he might be one. The family claims the rapper stole music from their father for 2005 hit single featuring Jamie Foxx.The Pryor family hit Ye with a lawsuit last year for the track that also features samples from the late Ray Charles’ song “I Got A Woman,” claiming the rapper took lyrics from their father’s song “Bumpin’ Bus Stop.”Kanye as well as his co-defendants have asked the judge that the case be dropped. Based on the documents obtained by Radar Online he is only alleged to have copied “snippets of a mere one to five words e.g. “step,” “get down,” “step up” and “it’s the hottest things.”Defending lawyers claim that a few words are not enough to prove copyright infringement despite the family’s claim that Yeezy used more.

While the lawsuit specifically calls out the newly married Kanye, it is also suing Jay Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records and The Island Def Jam Music Group, as well as other companies linked to Island Def Jam label when song was released. Warner Bros. Entertainment, UMG recordings and NBC Universal as well as two other record companies have also been named in the case.

Ye is being sued directly while the record companies are being sued for 18 other recordings by artists such as Tupac, Gang Starr, Q-Tip, Madlib, DJ JS-1, Long Beach Dub Allstars, Madvillian and Beanie Sigel that the family says sampled their father’s work.

 

Kanye West Asks Judge To Drop The Copyright Infringement Case By Singer
http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/06/kanye-west-asks-judge-drop-copyright-infringement-case/
copyright infringement news – Google News… Read the rest

Cyberstalkers, revenge porn creeps, and other tales from the World Wide Hate

California Attorney General Kamala Harris had exhilaration in her eyes as she publicly announced in late 2013 that her eCrime Unit finally had shut down one of the most notorious revenge-porn websites in the world. The men charged were innocent unless proved guilty in court, but the website of stolen, pornographic and debasing photographs was something no one should have to endure, she said.

The website was considered so disgusting and destructive that a couple of detectives in two different countries had begged me not to mention its web address for fear of further humiliating and endangering the women whose naked photos had been posted by vindictive ex-lovers or “friends.”

Eventually, the police pulled the plug on the site, but what I saw before that happened is hard to forget: thousands of photographs — more than 10,000 it turns out — of women, teens, and underage girls captured in revealing positions never meant for prying eyes; of youthful drunken group sex; and of confident women in revealing lingerie whose partners would one day turn their personal information and photographs over to strangers as part of their hateful revenge campaigns. I cried the first time I found the site, plastered with the smiling, unsuspecting faces of girls and women, along with desperate pleas for mercy from the victims and their families alike.

“PLEASE HELP! I am scared for my life! People are calling my workplace, and they obtained that information through this site! I did not give permission for anyone to put up those pictures or my [and]. I have contacted the police, but those pictures need to come down! Please!” reads one post, which is now entered as evidence in an extortion case.

In another message posted to the now defunct website, a new husband begs the owner to show a semblance of humanity for his devastated wife. When her nude photograph — taken years earlier at a party — was posted, he said she lost her teaching job, which also hurt her students, who loved her. They fled their community after locals turned against them. (No word on what happened to the two naked men in the candid photograph.)

Revenge-porn victims around the world no doubt rejoiced when they heard Kevin Christopher Bollaert, a 27-year-old San Diego man, had been arrested in connection with the site. In court documents, police alleged Bollaert had set up a callous criminal scheme to capitalize on men’s desire to humiliate or harm women. Internet technology makes it easy for the angry, the vindictive, the mentally ill, and the intoxicated to shatter lives. There are many more sites online that routinely post stolen intimate photographs and videos, often of underage girls, but this particular site had an additional grim twist, police say.

He posed as a ‘good guy’ running a scrub website; in exchange for hundreds of dollars, he removed the very same photographs he’d solicited and posted

Bollaert allegedly got help from family and friends to set up the extortion website, through which he asked for images, but also personal details of the victims: full names, ages, addresses, telephone numbers, and [and] accounts, which, police say, he then made public. The scheme was to allegedly get other people to join in the harassment and tormenting of the targets. The more people harassed and stalked the victims, the greater the odds that they’d unwittingly turn to Bollaert. Why? Because he’d allegedly also set up a sister website, called changemyreputation.com. There, police say he posed as a “good guy” running a scrub website; in exchange for hundreds of dollars, he removed the very same photographs he’d solicited and posted. Police shut that one down, too.

Pleas for help from the women, like the ones that made me cry, were also entered into evidence by the California prosecutor: “I have gone to the police, I’ve had a restraining order put in place because of this site [and] my phone has been going off EVERY 2 MINUTES with strange men sending inappropriate things to me.”

Another woman posted: “It’s disgusting. Also, I’ve had to … have a sexual harassment charge put in place in court because of this. I don’t know what gets you off about ruining people’s lives, but I was underaged in the photos posted of me so, yes, you are showing child pornography.”

In the media, Harris announced 31 felony counts against Bollaert, and made it clear that she was on the warpath for more arrests. But minutes after Bollaert’s arrest flashed across the newswires, I checked the notorious site; it was “parked” on the French server, Gandi. So, it was still there, lying low, on standby. The website’s documentation shows Bollaert appears to have used his own name when registering both websites in 2012, and that he’d applied to the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a site trademark.


It’s remarkable that Melissa Nester will even talk about the last few years of her life spent in the Web net of an adult cyberstalker who cost her the career she loved, all her money, and the sense of security that comes from growing up in a privileged American family. Ironically, all Nester had wanted to do was share her good fortune with a woman in need. “No good deed goes unpunished, right,” she says when I reach her by telephone in northern California.

Nester’s nightmare began when the divorced mother of two, who at the time was working at a charity fundraiser, joined an online forum where women shared tips about kids, food, books, love, and life. “Mary” quickly came to the group’s attention. “She was kicked out on the street, had no money, said that she was starving, that she has no jewelery. She had these pets that were her only thing keeping her alive that she loves so much, and that her husband would beat her … and basically she might as well end it.”

Nester and other forum members stepped up, sending Mary cash and gifts, beginning in 2010.

Read the rest

Attorney Carrie Goldberg weighs in on proposed anti-revenge porn law

With days left in the legislative session, the New York State Senate passed a bill on Wednesday night that would criminalize the sending of revenge porn pictures without consent of the person in the image.

Websites like IsAnyoneUp.com or MyEx.com have been targeted by courts and lawmakers nationwide for posting not only posting private images without consent of the subject but also publishing sensitive information including name, location and social media links.

Brooklyn attorney Carrie A. Goldberg operates a private practice that has handled cases related to online-privacy-sex invasions and volunteers with revenge porn advocacy group End Revenge Porn. Goldberg said she was glad to see the state prioritizing recognizing revenge porn as a crime but does see more work to be done both online and off.

Why is this law necessary in New York State?
I think that New York is responding to the need that is rippling throughout the rest of the country. Distributing photos of people is really harmful to the victims and exposes them to irreparable humiliation. and until now, there’s nothing that deters that behavior.

What kind of humiliation do revenge porn victims typically experience?
They’re horrified and terrified. Most of the victims are in their early 20s; I’ve seen some as young as 13. Many are in the early stages of the their careers, and it’s foolish to think one can get a job without employers doing a Google search, and images from revenge porn sites are the first hits when victims’ names are typed into search engines.

They’re also really scared about the impact that the images might have on their family and other personal relationships. The victim-shaming is particularly extreme in religious communities — it has profound effects. And in all cases, victims express an urgency to get the images removed.

But does the proposed law help take down those images?
Federal copyright laws usually applies to take down images, but no this law doesn’t.

What are some of the other weaknesses that this law doesn’t necessarily address?
This law requires that the perpetrator have the intent to harass, annoy or alarm the victim, but we actually see some situations outside of that pattern where the perpetrator might not have a relationship with the victim. They either hack into computers or take the images off someone’s cellphone.

In hackings or when there’s a drive for financial gain, you don’t have that intent. That person might not be covered by the law, but the victim would be equally harmed.

There are actually other versions of revenge porn laws floating around in Albany that have exceptions where the law wouldn’t apply, like when distribution was for law enforcement and reporting crimes, or if nudity is voluntary in public or commercial settings or if disclosure serves a legitimate public purpose like in the Anthony Weiner case.

What does public purpose mean?
There are certain situations when the public has an interest in knowing if our potential elected officials are sending crotch shots to other people and publishing them online.

We don’t want Sydney Leathers to be prosecuted under this law because she was exposing something about an elected official that is of value.

Is there any advice you would offer to folks who might be victimized by revenge porn?
If this bill gets passed: report it to law enforcement and don’t leave the precinct until they take the report.

But my advice is more to the people who have naked photos of other people: don’t distribute them — get rid of them. It’s your obligation. There’s nothing wrong with people sending naked pictures to other people — the problem lies in what the recipients do with them.

Attorney weighs in on proposed anti-revenge porn law – Metro.us
http://www.metro.us/newyork/news/local/2014/06/12/attorney-weighs-proposed-anti-revenge-porn-laws/… Read the rest

Revenge Porn Bill Passes In Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – A new bill banning revenge porn has passed in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Tom Murt, would make it a crime to disseminate an “intimate image” of another person.

“This is a disgraceful practice that must be stopped,” Murt said in a release. “What we are talking about is cyber extortion and cyber humiliation, and it must end.”

House Bill 2107 would consider the crime a misdemeanor of the third degree with a fine of $1,000 or up to six months of prison time. Each violation would constitute a separate offense.

And those in support of the measure say prosecution would be allowed if either the victim or the perpetrator is located in Pennsylvania.

The bill will now move on to the Senate.

 

Revenge Porn Bill Passes In Pennsylvania House Of Representatives – CBS Local
‘Revenge Porn’ Bill Passes In Pa. House Of Representatives
revenge porn – Google News… Read the rest

Hearing for San Diego man accused in revenge porn case

SAN DIEGO – A woman testified Tuesday that she was scared and afraid after sexual photos of her taken by her ex-boyfriend ended up on a website owned by a San Diego man.

The woman testified during a preliminary hearing for Kevin Bollaert, who’s accused of posting thousands of explicit photos of women on a so-called “revenge porn” website without their consent, then extorting money from some victims who wanted the images removed.

Jane Doe 5 testified that she began getting nasty and racial comments after sexual photos of her were posted on Bollaert’s website, “ugotposted.com.”

The woman said she had no idea that her ex-boyfriend had taken the photos when they went on a trip.

She said she e-mailed “ugotposted.com” to take the photos down, but got no response. The pictures eventually were removed from the website a week later.

In addition to the photos, the woman’s name, location and phone number were posted on the website, prompting nasty calls and texts at all hours of the day, she said.

“It was just scary because all these people knew who I was,” the woman testified.

Bollaert, 27, was charged last year with 31 felony counts, including conspiracy, identity theft and extortion.

In December 2012, Bollaert created “ugotposted.com,” which allows people to create anonymous, public posts of private explicit photographs without their subjects’ permission, according to court testimony.

Commonly known as revenge porn, such images, generally of nude young women, typically are obtained consensually by the poster during a prior relationship, or are stolen.

Unlike other such online sites, on which those depicted in the photos are anonymous, ugotposted.com required that a poster include the subject’s full name, location, age and social-networking profile link, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.

Under California law, it is illegal to willfully obtain someone’s personal identifying information — including name, age and address — for any unlawful purpose, including with the intent to “annoy” or harass.

Between Dec. 2, 2012, and Sept. 17 of last year, Bollaert and unnamed co-conspirators posted 10,170 explicit photos without the subjects’ consent, according to prosecutors.

Bollaert also allegedly created a second online site, “changemyreputation.com,” which he used when people contacted ugotposted.com to request that content be removed from the site.

Bollaert allegedly extorted victims by replying with a changemyreputation.com email address and offering to remove the content for a fee ranging from $300 to $350.

Following the preliminary hearing, which resumes Wednesday, Judge David Gill will decide whether enough evidence was presented for Bollaert to stand trial.

Hearing for San Diego man accused in revenge porn case resumes on Wednesday
http://www.10news.com/news/hearing-tuesday-in-revenge-porn-case
revenge porn – Google News… Read the rest

David Cameron nanny sex pictures: Charities issue revenge porn warning

The caregiver for the Prime Minister David Cameron’s children is a victim of revenge porn who had at least five sexually explicit pictures posted on three adult websites without her permission, according to reports that emerged over the weekend.

It has raised concerns of a “worst-case scenario” whereby the nanny, who has accompanied the family on foreign holidays and is said to be close to Mr Cameron’s wife, Samantha, could have been blackmailed over the images.

Police have reportedly been called in to investigate the incident after the woman, who has not been identified, said she believed the pictures were posted by one of her ex-boyfriends.

The photographs appear on one site next to links allowing members to buy further access including videos and webcam chats, the Sun reported, though the woman’s real name and details are not featured.

While the leaked images highlight security issues for Downing Street, they also come as a high-profile example of the wider problem of “revenge porn”, where former partners post sexual images online and then often extort victims for more pictures, money or worse.

Laura Higgins, helpline manager at the UK Safer Internet Centre, said that cases can involve pictures posted with links to people’s Facebook profiles and messages to their families and employers – and that security was “clearly an issue here”.

She told The Independent: “I’m not saying that there was necessarily a risk to David Cameron’s children, but obviously this person is potentially going to use the fact that she is in job she’s in for their own gain.

“We regularly see extortion involved – and in this case it is clearly taking it a little higher – but really this can happen to anybody.”

Ms Higgins said her organization, a partnership of three leading online safety charities, had seen the issue of revenge porn “blow up really quickly” and that reported cases were likely “just the tip of the iceberg”.

She said that with much more to be done by the courts, police and Crown Prosecution Service on the issue, she wanted to take something positive from an incident “so close to home” for the Prime Minister.

“I hope this case starts a conversation,” she said. “I was personally involved in giving evidence following David Cameron’s comments about internet security last summer, and I was able to give them specific examples of why this is an issue.

“But I think the fact that this is happening so close to home means it might well move up the agenda – which is a good thing, because we need the Government to work with us on this.”

Downing Street refused to comment on the pictures, but a source close to the nanny told The Sun: “She’s horrified these profiles have come to light and is mystified at how they got there. She insists it was nothing to do with her and must be down to one of her ex-boyfriends.

“It is worrying that someone would go to such lengths. She realizes that the worst scenario could have been if someone had used the stuff posted on there to try to blackmail her.”

David Cameron nanny sex pictures: Charities issue ‘revenge porn’ warning – The Independent
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/david-cameron-nanny-sex-pictures-charities-issue-revenge-porn-warning-9512015.html
revenge porn – Google News… Read the rest

Michigan Senate Passes Bill Targeting Revenge Porn

LANSING, MI — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved a bill targeting revenge porn that would make it a crime to post sexually explicit images of a person online without their consent.

Individuals who post images obtained without permission or refuse to take down images given to them for personal viewing could be charged with a misdemeanor resulting in up to 93 days in jail and/or a maximum fine of $500.

A second or subsequent violation could result in up to one year behind bars and/or a $1,000 fine.

The bipartisan bills, sponsored by Republican Sen. Rick Jones of Grand Ledge and Democratic Sen. Steve Bieda of Warren, passed the upper chamber in unanimous votes and now head to the House for consideration.

“In a split second a sexually explicit photo can be uploaded to the Internet without the individual’s consent -– permanently ruining their reputation,” Bieda said in a statement. “The support Republicans and Democrats have shown for these bills is proof that cyber revenge will not be tolerated in the state of Michigan.”

The legislation would provide an affirmative defense in court if the accused took all reasonable steps to have the “photograph, drawing or other visual image” removed upon written request.

A handful of states are moving to criminalize “revenge porn,” according to USA Today. The newspaper last month reported the story of Holly Jacobs, who became the face of the movement after an ex-boyfriend posted sexually explicit photos of her online.

‘Revenge porn’ bill passed by Michigan Senate would criminalize unwanted … – MLive.com
http://www.mlive.com/lansing-news/index.ssf/2014/06/revenge_porn_bill_passed_by_mi.html
revenge porn – Google News… Read the rest

Colorado Revenge Porn Statute Is Good Law and Sound Policy

On Thursday, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law a statute criminalizing “revenge porn.” As professors with expertise in constitutional and criminal law, we commend the legislature and governor for their actions and hope other states will follow suit.

Revenge porn–more accurately known as “non-consensual pornography“–is the distribution of intimate pictures of another person without that person’s consent. One common scenario involves an angry former partner who wishes to humiliate. But roommates, landlords, voyeurs, and hackers have likewise obtained and distributed intimate pictures without permission.

Victims of non-consensual pornography suffer devastating harm. Unwanted publication of one’s intimate pictures can damage employment prospects, destroy relationships, and exact an immense psychological toll. Many victims experience intense harassment and threats to physical safety–both online and offline–as a direct result of the publication of the pictures. Several victims have committed suicide.

In recognition of these harms, twelve states, most recently including Colorado, have already criminalized non-consensual pornography. Legislation is pending in several others and at the federal level.

The new Colorado revenge porn law creates two misdemeanors. One applies when an individual posts intimate pictures to harass the victim by causing severe emotional distress; the other when the pictures are posted for monetary gain. Both offenses apply only to posting on social media either without consent or when the perpetrator should have known that the person depicted reasonably expected that the pictures would remain private. Neither applies to pictures related to a newsworthy event or to events related to public figures.

Some have questioned whether criminalizing non-consensual pornography infringes on protected expression. While this is an important concern, we believe that Colorado’s new law survives constitutional scrutiny. The First Amendment has never shielded all expression: the Supreme Court has held that the government can regulate certain unprotected categories of speech that, like non-consensual pornography, cause egregious harm and lack social value. Indeed, victims have already turned to civil remedies such as copyright law, which courts have repeatedly held constitutional. And the ACLU–typically critical of laws that infringe on expression–agrees that criminal laws can withstand constitutional scrutiny if they comply with requirements that the Colorado law meets.

It’s true that the Supreme Court has never explicitly addressed non-consensual pornography. But the Supreme Court had also never addressed obscenity until it addressed obscenity, nor had it addressed child pornography until it addressed child pornography. Technological developments enable both inspiring new forms of communication and awful new mechanisms of abuse. The First Amendment is subject to ongoing interpretation as the world it regulates continues to evolve. Non-consensual pornography closely resembles other forms of unprotected expression and should be categorized with them.

Others might object that non-consensual pornography–while repugnant–should not be criminalized because civil law provides adequate remedies. For example, copyright law allows some victims to sue for damages and have their pictures removed, and tort law permits suits for invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and similar claims. Such lawsuits play an important role, but they provide an incomplete remedy. Civil litigation is expensive, and not everyone can afford a lawyer. Copyright law only provides a remedy when the victim owns the copyright to the picture, which is often not the case if someone else took the picture. Some perpetrators of non-consensual pornography are insolvent, so victims would recover little or nothing. Most importantly, even large civil damages awards won’t solve the real problem. Once published online, non-consensual pornography is often downloaded and reposted innumerable times. Preventing initial posting is critical, and criminalization supplies an important deterrent.

The new Colorado crimes will be Class 1 misdemeanors, punishable by a maximum $10,000 fine and a year imprisonment. This category also includes such offenses as unlawful telemarketing practices, late payment of gambling taxes, and failure to present evidence of car insurance. The serious harm caused by publishing intimate pictures without permission deserves punishment at least as severe as these acts. Indeed, some states have made non-consensual pornography a felony.

The law is legally sound and good policy. We are glad to have it on the books in our state.

Colorado’s New Revenge Porn Statute Is Good Law and Sound Policy – Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ian-farrell/colorados-new-revenge-por_b_5427703.html
revenge porn – Google News… Read the rest