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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’
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Millennials deal with consequences of revenge porn

As Millennials become increasingly tech-reliant in all facets of life — including relationships — some are facing unfortunate consequences.

Three out of four college students will be in a long-distance relationship at some point before graduation, according to a study in the Journal of Communication. Sending nude photos to a partner may be one way to maintain the passion.

In fact, a 2011 University of Rhode Island study found that 56% percent of students had received “sexually suggestive images.”

But what happens when a relationship dissolves and a heartbroken ex has a library of nude photos of their former partner?

For some, the answer is “revenge porn,” or posting someone’s sexually explicit image online without their consent.

The action is legal in 48 states — excluding New Jersey and recently, California — and protected under one’s First Amendment rights.

Holly Jacobs, a revenge-porn victim and founder of EndRevengePorn.com, says that this issue uniquely affects Gen Y.

“I would venture to say that most victims that contact me are of the college age,” says Jacobs, who found herself on a revenge porn site as a grad student at Florida International University in 2009. “It’s the Millennials who have grown up with technology and have integrated it into their lives.”

On Tuesday, the governor of California approved the criminalization of revenge porn. “Distributing private images with the intent to harass or annoy” may be punished by up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine on a first offense.

However, the statute does not protect victims who took the photos themselves, a group that makes up 80% of revenge porn victims according to a survey by the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative. The law applies only to images that were captured by someone without knowledge or consent of the victim.

Former revenge porn mogul Hunter Moore told tech publication The Register that he doesn’t think the government can stand in the way of websites like the one he started in 2010 — the now-defunct IsAnyoneUp.com.

“This doesn’t stop anything. If you read the bill it is just for peeping toms, not for selfies, which is all revenge porn really is,” he told the Register. “These stupid old white people are even more stupid to think they can stop it … It will just make revenge porn bigger by driving traffic, because people are talking about it.”

Moore added that the Communications Decency Act of 1996 is still in place, a law that protects owners of interactive websites from responsibility for content their users post.

As a victim, Jacobs points out that the California law also specifies a motive — emotional distress of the victim — that can be difficult to prove in court.

“Sometimes people post [revenge porn] to gain acceptance or notoriety on the internet, or even just to make money,” she says, explaining that a victim who initially consented to being photographed would have to prove she was emotionally distressed to win her case.

Gene Policinski, senior vice president of the First Amendment Center, says that civil lawsuits are one option for victims, although they can cause embarrassment and financial burdens.

He added that while California’s recent legislation indicates that the law is catching up with technological advances, lawmakers should be careful not to trample on First Amendment rights.

“Citizens have a right to be concerned anytime a government moves to restrain or punish speech, even if it’s repugnant,” he says. “What may be repugnant to one may not be to another.”

Meeghan Falls, a former Lamar University student, would not have been protected under a law like California’s.

Within a two-year relationship, Falls says she sent countless sexually explicit photos to her boyfriend at the time, a fellow Lamar student.

“After a year and half, you think, ‘I’m going to be with this guy forever,'” says Falls, now 21. “I didn’t have any problems sending these kinds of photos to him.”

The couple eventually split, and about two months later, Falls says she received a Facebook message from a stranger informing her that her photos and other identifying information were on a revenge porn site.

“My stomach dropped. I started shaking. I started crying immediately,” she says. “I felt like the whole world had seen me naked.”

Falls says she is currently in a civil lawsuit against her ex that includes three other women whose images he distributed on revenge porn sites.

Jacobs says that in a world where technology and sexuality overlap so heavily, she rejects the notion that preventing revenge porn means abstaining from taking sexual images.

“When people say that, it’s absolutely another version of blaming the victim. It’s the same thing as someone telling someone who’s been physically raped that they shouldn’t have been wearing that skirt,” she says, adding that she hopes to see further state and federal legislation.

Falls says telling her story is difficult, but she hopes it can prevent her experience from happening to someone else.

“I trusted this man … foolishly, but I trusted this man to keep [the photos] private, confidential,” she says. “As long as we can stop other girls from doing this and having this done to them, as long as something positive can come out of this, it would be just wonderful.”

Falls, who is now engaged to be married, says the betrayal she experienced hasn’t made her cynical.

“I don’t want people to think that they shouldn’t trust anyone, but just be careful who you do trust,” she says. “Make sure they’re worthy of it.”

Millennials deal with consequences of ‘revenge porn’ – USA TODAY
https://news.google.com/news/feeds?hl=en&gl=us&authuser=0&q=revenge+porn&um=1&ie=UTF-8&output=rss
revenge porn – Google News… Read the rest

Revenge porn victim devotes life fighting to change nation’s laws – Fox News

Holly Jacobs Revenge Porn Victim

Holly Jacobs, 30, is fighting to change the nation’s laws after private nude images of herself were posted on so-called “revenge porn” websites, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend, without her consent or knowledge. (M.A. Williams)

 

When Holly Jacobs sent nude photographs of herself to a long-distance boyfriend she loved and trusted, the 23-year-old woman never imagined the horror that would befall her.

In August 2009, less than a year after the pair mutually ended their three-year relationship, Jacobs did a Google search of her name and discovered the naked photos on a so-called “revenge porn” website.

“I just went completely into shock,” said Jacobs, who hired a lawyer and eventually changed her birth name from “Holli Thometz” to Holly Jacobs.

“This is cyber-rape,” Jacobs, now 30, told FoxNews.com. “It’s all about the guy having control over the woman and exploiting her in a sexual way — the same way real-life rape does that. It violates you over and over again.”

What came next was perhaps more shocking to Jacobs. Police in Miami, where she lived at the time, took no action. They told her that “because you are over 18 and you consented, technically they are his property and he can do whatever he wants with them,” she recalled.

Jacobs, a 2005 graduate of Boston College who managed to earn a Ph.D during her ordeal, channeled her pain into advocacy for women similarly victimized by ex-boyfriends, who — without their knowledge or consent — posted photos meant to be private in the most public and humiliating way. Jacobs created the website “End Revenge Porn” and formed the group Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI), under which she serves as CEO and executive director.

With the advancement of technology, millions of people — mostly teens and young adults — turn to “sexting” pornographic or inappropriate photos to their boyfriends or girlfriends, with little or no foresight into what may one day become of them.

“At this time, 49 states do little or nothing to stop malicious individuals from endangering lives and reputations by distributing sexually graphic pictures of people without their consent,” said Mary Anne Franks, a professor at University of Miami School of Law. “Both state and federal criminal laws are needed to prevent and address this form of sexual abuse.”

For Jacobs, the initial discovery of nude photos on a website called “AmIHotOrNotNude.com” was only the beginning of her nightmare.

The young woman hired a lawyer, who wrote a letter to Jacobs’ ex-boyfriend, Tampa resident Ryan Seay, to “just kind of scare him.” The photos immediately came down, Jacobs said.

In November 2011, Jacobs began dating someone new, and posted a picture of the two on her Facebook page. Hours later, she was bombarded by emails from strangers saying, “There are pictures of you all over ‘revenge porn’ websites.”

“My material went viral within three days. It was on over 200 websites, with my full name, my e-mail address, the school I attended, and a link to where I worked,” said Jacobs, who at the time was a teaching assistant at Florida International University.

And then a chilling e-mail arrived in her inbox from a fake Yahoo e-mail address that was created using her name. The writer told her to “get in touch concerning your photos” and warned her that a “nice video” was awaiting distribution, she recalled.

“Have your boss and co-worker seen it?” the taunting e-mail read.

The sender wrote that if Jacobs did not respond by a certain time, he would upload the video, titled, ““Masturbation 201 by Professor Holli Thometz.” And he did, she said.

According to Jacobs, the video was an old Skype interaction between her and Seay, which was recorded without her knowledge.

In April 2013, Jacobs filed a civil lawsuit against Seay as well as websites and servers that posted the photos and personal information. The lawsuit claims that Seay and the other defendants violated her privacy by posting such photos and information without her consent. The complaint also seeks a court order prohibiting additional publication by the defendant, and to retrieve or destroy all the photos in Seay’s possession, Jacobs’ Miami-based attorney, Patrick McGeehan, told FoxNews.com.

Seay, 28, could not be reached for comment. He has reportedly claimed someone hacked into his computer and stole the photos from him. In an e-mail to FoxNews.com, his attorney, Charles Arline, denied any wrongdoing by his client.

“At this time I can only relate that my client is eager to answer these charges and defend himself in the proper forum, i.e. the court system,” Arline wrote. “He adamantly disputes the allegations and is in no remote way affiliated with any type of revenge porn and has previously extended his support to Ms. Thometz or Ms Jacobs efforts.”

Click here to view the lawsuit  

“The laws have not kept up with technology, that’s the bottom line,” Jacobs said.

In New York, for example, such behavior would be criminal if the plaintiff could prove the video was secretly taken, according to legal sources.

“If a person was surreptitiously recorded or unaware that the video was being made, and the recording is then disseminated on one of these websites, this is a crime,” said Mark Bederow, a New York-based criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor. “In New York, posting a video made in such a manner would constitute Unlawful Surveillance in the Second Degree, which is a felony.”

“Even if the person was aware she was being recorded, dissemination of this material in a manner designed to humiliate may constitute aggravated harassment. Other states have similar statutes,” Bederow said.

But University of Maryland School of Law Professor Danielle Keats Citron notes that such dissemination would only be criminal if the defendant engaged in a “harassing course of conduct as an ongoing harassment campaign.”

“One posting, even two, as damaging as it will be, would not constitute a crime in New York and other states,” Citron said. “It can’t be an isolated event.”

New Jersey remains the only state that makes it a felony to share an individual’s nude images without that person’s consent.

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King, the Candy Crush Saga company, Sues 6Waves for Game Copyright Infringement

Farm-EpicKing, the company best known for the social-mobile juggernaut Candy Crush Saga, is suing game studio 6Waves for allegedly infringing on the copyright of two of King’s other games.

In a filing with the Northern District Court of California, King asserts that 6Waves is “blatantly cloning two of its most popular games.” Update 9:15pm PT: 6Waves responded to a request for comment with the following statement from Sharon Lau, the company’s director of Corporate and Legal Affairs:

6waves cannot provide detailed comments at this stage but we deny all allegations of the copyright infringement complaint by King.com Limited. Puzzle solving games and themes like farming and jewels are not unique and have been created by many other companies. Such popular gameplay and themes cannot be copyrighted.

The 6Waves games in question, Treasure Epic and Farm Epic (pictured above right), are available on Facebook, as are the games they are accused of copying, King’s Pet Rescue Saga and Farm Heroes Saga (pictured below left). Pet Rescue Saga is also available on iOS and Android.

farm-heroes-sagaAll four are puzzle-solving matching games in nature, but King’s claim extends beyond game mechanics: In the filing, the company asserts that the “theme, look and feel, game progression, game interface, map [and] graphics” of both of its games have been infringed upon, and that additionally the text of Pet Rescue Saga has been copied, too.

Starting on Page 18 of King’s complaint (which I’ve embedded below), the company walks through Pet Rescue Saga and Treasure Epic’s tutorial levels, which appear to follow the same beats, with cartoon characters appearing in similarly colored dialogue boxes using near-identical text to explain how to play the games. For example, where Pet Rescue says, “That’s great! Now try to remove as many blocks from the screen as you can!” Treasure Epic says, “Good job! Now try to remove as many blocks from the screen as you can!”

The complaint brings to mind EA’s copyright infringement lawsuit against Zynga over similarities between EA’s The Sims Social and Zynga’s The Ville. That lawsuit was quietly settled out of court in February under confidential terms.

King itself has been in this position before. “We also brought, and won, a case last year for copyright infringement against Playmonk regarding its game Sultan Bubble,” King CEO Riccardo Zacconi told AllThingsD. Playmonk appears to have shut down Sultan Bubble in March as a result of the lawsuit, and I was unable to find a currently active Web presence for the company itself.

Here’s King’s filing from earlier today:

6Waves_Complaint

King Sues 6Waves for Alleged Game Copyright Infringement. Here’s the … – AllThingsD
http://allthingsd.com/20130827/king-sues-6waves-for-alleged-game-copyright-infringement-heres-the-complaint/
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Lawmakers Aim To Limit Revenge Porn Postings

SACRAMENTO (AP) — State lawmakers are attempting to limit a distressing social media phenomenon known as “revenge porn,” where spurned suitors post intimate photos of their ex-lovers on the Internet for all to see.

The Assembly is set to debate a bill that would make such conduct punishable by up to a year in jail, while Gov. Jerry Brown is considering separate legislation that would make it a crime to impersonate or bully a domestic violence victim online.

The measures are forcing lawmakers to consider where to draw the line between unfettered free speech and privacy rights.

“Right now law enforcement has no tools to combat revenge porn or cyber-revenge,” said Sen. Anthony Cannella, a Republican from Ceres who proposed one of the bills. “Unfortunately it is a growing trend and there are a lot of victims out there, a lot more than I ever imagined. … It’s destroying people’s lives.”

Under his SB255, perpetrators who post identifiable nude pictures of someone else online without their permission with the intent of causing serious emotional distress or humiliation could be charged with a misdemeanor. They could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for a first offense, with a year in jail and a $2,000 fine for repeat violations.

Current California law allows victims to sue their virtual assailants in civil court, but it is an expensive and time-consuming option that does not seem to be much of a deterrent, he said.

That was the experience of Holly Jacobs, who sent intimate photos to her boyfriend during their 3½-year long-distance relationship.

In January 2009, a month after they broke up, a friend informed her that a nude photo was posted on her Facebook profile. By November 2011, a collage of photos of her went viral on more than 200 websites, accompanied by an explicit video from a web chat that she says was secretly recorded. The posts included her full name, email address and the name of the Florida university where she worked, forcing her to tell her parents and university officials. She began getting emails from strangers attempting to set up liaisons.

“Emotionally, the situation put me through hell and back,” Jacobs said in a telephone interview. “I just felt so alone and you blame yourself. You have a lot of people in your life that judge you and say this was your fault. … It took me a long time to realize I was the victim in this.”

She said she equates the judgmental reaction she received to the blame-the-victim attitude that rape victims often confront: “You shouldn’t have been wearing that outfit, you shouldn’t have been drinking, you shouldn’t have been walking alone.”

After spending months trying to get the photos removed, repeatedly changing her phone number and quitting a university job she loved, Jacobs eventually legally changed her name. In her darkest moments, she considered suicide.

Then she got mad and she got even, creating endrevengeporn.org a year ago, which sometimes records 1,200 hits in a single day. Jacobs said she has been contacted by women in similar circumstances around the world.

From her home in Miami, she now lobbies for states to adopt laws to criminally punish revenge porn.

Aside from Cannella’s bill awaiting action in the Assembly, lawmakers already sent the governor AB157 by Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose, which would outlaw stealing the online identity of domestic violence victims. It lets judges issue protective orders barring abusers from impersonating a victim online, and came in response to the concerns of judges who worried that doing so would violate free speech rights.

Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, who carried AB157 in the Senate, said state law has not kept pace with technology.

“Advances in technology and the increased communication on social networking websites have enabled abusers to get around restraining orders,” she said.

The Legislature has attacked the problem piecemeal as loopholes have been discovered in the state’s original 2006 cyberbullying laws.

A 2010 law made it a misdemeanor to impersonate someone on the Internet to intimidate, threaten or defraud them. Campos authored a law last year that lets schools suspend or expel students who harass their classmates on social networking sites, as well as a 2011 law targeting bullying on social networking sites such as Facebook.

Her bill this year was approved with no dissenting votes, while Cannella’s legislation had just one opponent in the Senate — Democratic Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco. He and the American Civil Liberties Union fear the bill could interfere with free speech rights.

“For me it was more an issue of the definition being overly broad. We just really have to be careful of that slippery slope,” said Yee. He said a better approach would be to educate Internet users, particularly children, about the irreversible harm that can be done online.

Florida’s legislature rejected a similar bill this year after First Amendment concerns surfaced there, while Missouri’s supreme court last year cited concerns about free speech in striking down part of a 2008 law enacted after a teenager who was teased online committed suicide.

Cannella believes that’s not an issue with his bill.

“This is intimidation, this is harassment, this is bullying,” he said. “This goes way beyond free speech.”

 Lawmakers Aim To Limit ‘Revenge Porn’ Postings – CBS Local

revenge porn – Google News

Please go to EndRevengePorn.org to sign the petition. Help us make the spread of revenge porn a crime.

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Bang With Friends app sued for copyright infringement by Zynga

Zynga claim that the app’s name abuses the ‘With Friends’ moniker they use for their family-friendly games. Bloomberg reports that Zynga are accusing the app’s developers of selecting “the name Bang With Friends for its casual sex matchmaking app with Zynga’s game trademarks fully in mind.”

Launched in January, Bang With Friends works by signing into Facebook. Users select the friends they’re “interested” in and if those lucky individuals have also installed the app and already selected them, then both parties are sent an email.

Forbes writer Kashmir Hill has already pointed out that the app doesn’t live up to its own promises of anonymity, as users who go to add the app on Facebook will be told if any friends of theirs have.

Until recently the founders of the app had chosen to be anonymous, though in June this year, CEO Colin Hodge was interviewed by Business Insider. Hodge revealed that the app currently has more than 1.1 million users and has created more than 200,000 “successful matches.”

Hodge says he simply wants to “make dating more honest and a lot more simple.”

Casual sex app ‘Bang With Friends’ sued for copyright infringement by Zynga – The Independent
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/casual-sex-app-bang-with-friends-sued-for-copyright-infringement-by-zynga-8740070.html
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Kim Dotcom might sue Twitter, Google and Facebook over copyright infringement

Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom. File photo via AFP.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said Thursday he was considering taking legal action against tech giants such as Twitter, Google and Facebook for infringing copyright on a security measure he invented.

Dotcom, who is on bail in New Zealand as US authorities seek his extradition in the world’s biggest copyright case, said he invented “two-factor authentication”, which many major sites have adopted as a security feature.

Twitter became the latest major player to introduce the measure on Wednesday following a series of cyber-attacks which saw hackers take over the accounts of high-profile targets such as media organizations and send out fake tweets.

“Twitter introduces Two-Step-Authentication. Using my invention. But they won’t even verify my Twitter account?!,” Dotcom tweeted.

“Google, Facebook, Twitter, Citibank, etc. offer Two-Step-Authentication. Massive IP (intellectual property) infringement by U.S. companies. My innovation. My patent,” he added.

To back his claim, the 39-year-old posted a US patent describing the authentication process filed in 1998 by Kim Schmitz — Dotcom’s name before he legally changed it — and published in 2000.

Dotcom said he had never sought to enforce copyright on his invention but was now reconsidering in light of the US case accusing him of masterminding massive online piracy through his now-defunct Megaupload file-sharing site.

“I never sued them. I believe in sharing knowledge & ideas for the good of society. But I might sue them now cause of what the U.S. did to me,” he said.

However, he said a more productive approach would be if the tech giants helped cover his legal bills to fight prosecution under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA), which he estimated would exceed US$50 million.

“Google, Facebook, Twitter, I ask you for help. We are all in the same DMCA boat. Use my patent for free. But please help fund my defense,” he tweeted.

“All of our assets are still frozen without trial. Defending our case will cost US$50M+. I want to fight to the end because we are innocent.”

The authentication process works by sending a text message containing a verification code to the user’s mobile phone when they login, which must be entered to gain access to the account.

The US Justice Department and FBI want Dotcom to face charges of racketeering, fraud, money-laundering and copyright theft in a US court, which could see him jailed for up to 20 years.

He denies US allegations the Megaupload sites netted more than US$175 million in criminal proceeds and cost copyright owners more than US$500 million by offering pirated copies of movies, TV shows and other content.

The German national is free on bail ahead of an extradition hearing scheduled for August and launched a successor to Megaupload called Mega in January this year.

 

Kim Dotcom might sue Twitter, Google and Facebook over copyright infringement – Raw Story

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