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Forget being a victim. What to do when revenge porn strikes – CNET

The Internet is a terrible place sometimes, but thankfully there are now organizations that can help people who become victims.

When illicit photos of Anisha Vora began showing up online, she didn’t know what to do. She contacted Facebook, Twitter and other companies hoping they’d do the right thing and take the photos down. But soon, there were too many places for her to deal with on her own.

What happened to Vora happens to all sorts of people. Students, college graduates and professionals. People have lost their jobs because photos were published online without their consent. Most of the victims are women, though not all.

As the threat of revenge porn has grown, companies, organizations and even lawyers have sprung up to help victims.

Figure out the size and scope of the problem

The moment your photos begin circulating online, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. You’ve been violated, and suddenly your name, phone number, address and naked images are being published on sites around the Web.

If someone posted these images to Facebook, Twitter or another reputable site, it’s relatively easy to report the images and begin the process of asking the sites to take them down. Read More…

http://www.cnet.com/news/forget-being-a-victim-what-to-do-when-revenge-porn-strikes/

 

What happens when you report a post to Facebook. Mark Hobbs / CNET Read the rest

Kansas City man gets 18 years for threatening to post teen’s nude photos

Dennis Aguilar

A Kansas City man who admitted he threatened to post nude photos of a 16-year-old girl if she wouldn’t have sex with him was sentenced Tuesday in Platte County Circuit Court to 18 years in prison.

Denis Aguilar, 23, pleaded guilty in February to attempted child enticement and attempted statutory sodomy for the threats he made in April 2014.

According to court records, the victim and her mother alerted Kansas City police after Aguilar requested nude photos of the teen. After the girl sent him photos, Aguilar threatened to post them online, said Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd.

The girl told investigators that she was on a social network website that she thought barred users over 18. The teen and Aguilar met on the website and began communicating through other social media sites, Zahnd said.

Aguilar told the girl he was 18 and repeatedly asked her to send him nude photos. She said she sent him a photo thinking he would “back off” and then stopped communicating with him. However, Aguilar continued to send messages to her and became angry when she wouldn’t respond.

He then threatened to post her photo if she didn’t send another nude photo. She sent a topless photo of herself and then he said he would post the pictures if she did not have sex with him, Zahnd said.

The victim allowed investigators to use her online identity. The detective soon began communicating with Aguilar.

Using the victim’s online identity, the detective portrayed himself as another girl, this one 14. Aguilar asked to meet the 14-year-old for sex.

They arranged to meet last June 25 at a McDonald’s restaurant in Kansas City, North. Police arrested Aguilar moments after he arrived.

Texas Passes Revenge Porn Bill

revenge porn bill passedTexans who post nude or sexually explicit pictures on-line to hurt another individual, usually an ex-spouse or ex-partner, would be subject to civil and criminal penalties under a revenge porn bill unanimously accepted on Tuesday by the Senate.

“This bill gets at a very disturbing Internet trend, the posting of nude or sexually explicit images without the consent of the affected person and with the intent to harm,” Garcia said. “In many instances, the images are posted by an ex-partner seeking revenge or to cause harm, and indeed this does cause immediate and irreversible harm.”

She noted, once an image is posted online, it is extremely hard to take down. “This is a very intimate violation of a person’s privacy and no different than the trauma caused by sexual violence, harassment or abuse,” the senator said. “More often than not, the victim is a woman.”
Civil and criminal penalties could be assessed under the bill against not only the perpetrator, but also the owner of the website that publishes the images.

All women senators joined as co-authors of the legislation. “This is an important piece of legislation for the women of Texas,” asserted Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston. The measure now goes to the House.… Read the rest

Al Franken Urges FBI To Prosecute Revenge Porn

Sen. Al Franken is urging the FBI to more quickly and aggressively pursue and prosecute revenge porn, marking a rare burst of attention on a controversial topic about which Congress has typically been quiet.

In a letter to FBI Director James Comey, the Minnesota Democrat asked for more information about the agency’s authority to police against revenge porn, or the act of posting explicit sexual content online without the subject’s consent, often for purposes of humiliation and extortion. Its popularity has ballooned in recent years, and victims are disproportionately women.

“The digital age has brought many benefits for free speech, commercial activity, and the sharing of information, but new technologies can pose significant threats if bad actors are not held accountable to our nation’s laws,” Franken wrote in his letter.

“As technologies rapidly advance, it is our responsibility to ensure that our nation’s laws keep pace with those technologies. But it is also our responsibility to ensure that existing laws are strictly enforced.”

Franken—the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s privacy, technology and the law panel—asked Comey to explain all the legal authorities at the FBI’s disposal that can used to investigate and pursue revenge-porn cases. The privacy hawk also is requesting statistics on how those authorities, ranging from hacking and identity theft laws, have been used “to combat conduct of this nature.”

In addition, Franken wants information on any limitations within current law that may have impeded the FBI from carrying out investigations or making arrests. Franken, who asked for a response by May 8, is exploring whether legislation may be necessary to combat revenge porn, his office said.

Lawmakers in Congress have been reticent to weigh in directly on revenge porn, despite the growth of the industry in recent years. Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, has for the past year been working on a bill that would criminalize revenge porn, but no bill has yet been introduced.

Open-Internet advocates generally oppose legislation that would expand criminal penalties to allow authorities to go after operators of revenge-porn websites. At the heart of the debate is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which generally protects websites such as YouTube from being legally liable for the third-party content. Exceptions are made for copyrighted material and content that violates certain federal criminal law, such as child porn, but websites still are able to avoid liability if they adopt reasonable takedown policies.

Absent federal action, several states have passed revenge porn laws of their own that make the practice a crime.

Franken applauded technology companies for becoming increasingly diligent in policing against revenge porn, citing recent steps taken by Twitter and reddit to make such content easier to flag and remove.

“I am hopeful that these recent developments and the increased public attention to the problem will lead to a more concentrated federal effort to combat this growing threat to Americans’ privacy and safety.”

Al Franken Urges FBI to Crack Down on Revenge Porn… Read the rest

Woman’s ex headed for trial under new Wisconsin revenge porn law

Seattle man sentenced for posting revenge porn of women

A 31-year-old Seattle man was sentenced to one year in jail on Friday for posting nude photos of women on two different websites in a bizarre case of “revenge porn.”

Jeremy “Silo” Walters, a photographer and computer technician, pleaded guilty to first-degree computer trespass and four counts of cyberstalking, a gross misdemeanor charge. He faced a standard sentence of up to 90 days behind bars, but agreed to an exceptional sentence for abusing the trust of one victim and to avoid prosecution for a domestic-violence charge involving a woman he apparently dated for a time.

According to charging documents, Walters was hired by a woman in June 2011 through an ad posted on Craigslist to transfer data from an old computer to a new one. Included on her hard drive were several hundred explicit photos a friend had taken of the woman, along with nude “selfies” she had stored for her personal use, the papers say.

More than two years later, in December 2013, the woman began receiving threatening phone calls from Walters, the papers say. He threatened to send naked photos of the woman to her family and friends if she refused to “play along,” then threatened to rape her and gang rape her with his friends, charging papers say.

After calling police, the woman received a message from a friend in England who said nude photos of the woman were posted on the revenge-porn site myex.com, the papers say. The following day, she got another phone call and Walters again threatened to send the photos to her loved ones if she refused his sexual demands, according to the charges.

In the days and weeks after the first post to myex.com, he sent links to the photos to her friends and family, charging papers say.

A friend conducted a forensic examination on the woman’s computer, determined that her machine hadn’t been hacked and concluded the photos had been stolen directly off her hard drive, the papers say.

In February, the woman picked Walters’ photo out of a montage, telling police he was the man she paid $60 to transfer her data, according to the charges. In June, Seattle detectives served a search warrant on Walters’ apartment near North Seattle College, and police say Walters admitted to posting the photos because he was angry at the woman and gave detectives an external hard drive where he had stored the photos, the papers say.

He was charged with first-degree computer trespass, a felony, and cyberstalking on June 27.

In August, he was charged with two additional counts of cyberstalking for posting nude photos of two other women on myex.com around the same time he posted photos of the first woman, court records show. The documents don’t provide information about how he obtained the other victims’ photos, but one of those women appears to have been a former girlfriend — and the charge pertaining to her carries an allegation of domestic violence.

On Monday, the same day he entered his guilty pleas, Walters was charged with a fourth count of cyberstalking for posting a nude photo of a fourth woman on Craigslist in January, the court records say. Those charging papers don’t provide details on how Walters is suspected of obtaining that photo.

 

Seattle man sentenced for posting ‘revenge porn’ of women – The Seattle Times (blog)

Seattle man sentenced for posting ‘revenge porn’ of women

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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

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

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

Former Will County Board member alleges revenge porn

In a court filing this month, former Will County Board member Kathleen Konicki provides further details regarding her lawsuit against two former boyfriends, accusing one of them of distributing “damagingly embarrassing” photos of her.

Konicki filed a sworn statement in Will County Circuit Court on May 16, describing photos of her distributed by her ex-boyfriend as revenge porn.

In the lawsuit filed in December, Konicki says Timothy Rathburn, her former boyfriend and an attorney, distributed offensive photos of her in a “damagingly embarrassing and intimate nature” to Will County officials, including Circuit Court Judge Gerald Kinney and State’s Attorney James Glasgow.

Konicki, an attorney, also names another former boyfriend, John Bassett, in the suit, alleging that he gave the photos to Rathburn.

She’s representing herself in the lawsuit and says in the new filing that she tried to retain several attorneys to represent her, but two admitted they would not because of the peripheral involvement of the judge and the state’s attorney. In her affidavit, Konicki said former Will County Judge Roman Okrei, who was advising her as an attorney, encouraged her that Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow would vigorously prosecute her case.

Okrei told her Glasgow might see her case as a “timely and appropriate vehicle for himself as an elected official to step forward into the public fray of revenge porn and take the lead,” the affidavit said.

“He said that my timing couldn’t be better, because the problem of vindictive men lashing out at women by posting intimate pictures on the Internet (‘revenge porn’) was widespread and on the verge of getting public attention and publicity,” Konicki wrote. “He said that women from all walks of life, across the nation, were being targeted with revenge porn.”

The state’s attorney’s office never did take up Konicki’s case—she said Okrei told her “Glasgow has been advised not to get involved, since he, himself, had been sent the pictures,” the affidavit said.

Konicki declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying she was not seeking media attention. Rathburn did not return a call for comment.

The suit seeks damages in excess of $50,000 and alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation and invasion of her right to privacy.

Ex-Will Board member alleges ‘revenge porn’ – SouthtownStar
http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/27730289-418/ex-will-board-member-alleges-revenge-porn.html
revenge porn – Google News… Read the rest