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YouTube Sensation Opens Up About Her Revenge Porn Legal Battle

 

(NEW YORK) — Chrissy Chambers is one half of the YouTube sensation “BriaAndChrissy,” a singing duo whose message of LGBT empowerment has earned them hundreds of thousands of followers.

But it was a different kind of attention that suddenly spun Chambers’ world out of control. One day, she started getting disturbing comments like these from followers calling her a “slut,” a “hypocrite” and “disgusting.”

Chambers said she had no idea what was happening, but eventually she discovered that a sex tape of her with her ex-boyfriend had been posted online.

“It was single handedly probably one of the hardest moments of my life,” Chambers said. “I found out after Googling myself it was just — it was such a horrific pain like to be hit with a baseball bat. … I literally just collapsed on the floor.”

It wasn’t just the shock that a sex tape had been made public. It was also that it existed at all because Chambers said she has no memory of making the video.

Chambers said her ex-boyfriend secretly taped himself having sex with her while she was passed out drunk then allegedly released the video online three years ago. She calls it an online attack.

“I had been assaulted because I was unconscious when the videos were filmed,” she said. “Someone was posting on our channel links to the videos to our fans and we couldn’t even keep up … that this person you cared about so much could betray you in such an intense way. It was horrific.”

Chambers said the trauma surrounding her alleged cyber assault impacts every aspect of her life.

“The biggest thing I feel I lost in my life was the feeling of control … control over my own body, my image, it was just so damaging in so many ways but that invasion of privacy is such a sharp sword,” she said.

And with a public career built around sharing her life with fans though posting videos online, it was those viewer comments she said that cut deep.

“It was really hard because after the videos came out we heard from some of our subscribers, you know, ‘I’ve been watching for a while but I can’t respect somebody who would do this, or is a slut and a whore, I can’t look up to you,’ and it broke our hearts every time we read something like that,” Chambers said.

Chambers said she is one of many victims of revenge porn, which is a form of non-consensual porn or the distribution of sexually graphic images without consent.

Carrie Goldberg, a New York-based attorney who handles Internet privacy and sexual consent cases, said revenge porn “could be a rape video that’s gone viral or pictures that were originally created and distributed with the context of an intimate relationship.”

There are an estimated 2,000 websites dedicated to revenge pornography worldwide — websites where often jilted exes post intimate photos or video at a former lover’s expense. It’s a cyber-threat that’s difficult to track and even harder to prosecute.

“The biggest frustration that I hear from clients is, I mean, everyone wants their images taken down, and they want to sue the website,” Goldberg said. “There are actually federal laws that immunize online service providers for content that other people post.

“It’s still oftentimes really, really hard to get law enforcers to take complaints seriously and to get investigators and detectives to use their limited resources to investigate these cases, and to get prosecutors and judges to also see these cases through the end,” she added.

Goldberg said 80 percent of her cases are related to revenge porn.

“When clients contact me, they are in the middle of a tornado. It’s a crisis moment,” she said. “They’re often hysterical, crying. They can’t see beyond this and so they think for the rest of their life they’re always going to be exposed on the Internet.”

For Chrissy Chambers, the road to justice has already been long and hard, complicated in part because Chambers said her alleged offender posted the footage in England, forcing her to file suit overseas. ABC News’ efforts to reach the ex-boyfriend were not successful.

“They didn’t have a revenge porn law yet and just felt like we were getting shunned and pushed away. We felt so helpless,” Chambers said. “They would say, ‘I’m so sorry this happened to you, but we can’t help because we don’t have a revenge porn law,’ or ‘since he was in another country that was just too much. It’s out of our hands.’ And while it was in enraging it was just more devastating.”

England and Wales have a revenge porn law on the books now, but the law doesn’t apply to Chambers’ case because her alleged assault happened before their law was in place.

Attorney Ann Olivarius and her team plan to bring a civil suit against Chambers’ alleged offender. While a civil suit is often an option in the United States, it would be the first of its kind in England.

The fight against revenge porn has come a long way in recent years, spurred on by other advocates, with 27 states and the District of Columbia passing specific criminal laws to protect against it. Activist groups like the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative are working for victims to provide online resources, legal support and even a crisis helpline. Tech companies like Twitter, Google and Microsoft now offer tools for users who wish to de-link or remove images they claim to be revenge porn.

Chambers and her girlfriend Bria Kam have been chronicling their journey on their YouTube channel, and there are also notes of hope. Some viewers have commented that they sympathize with Chambers’ situation.

“It’s just incredible how, like we have seen the darkest side of the Internet. But we’ve also seen the most beautiful side of the Internet,” Kam said.

Chambers has also used their YouTube channel as a platform to encourage reform and her quest for change has also led her to petition for a federal law to criminalize revenge porn.

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State lawmaker goes 3rd try on ‘Revenge Porn’ law

FOX10 News | WALA

PHOENIX (KPHO/KTVK) –

Arizona lawmakers hope the third time is the charm for a so-called “Revenge Porn” bill. Revenge porn is when someone posts sexually explicit photos of a former mate without that person’s consent or knowledge. A revised third version of the bill passed the Arizona House on Wednesday. That bill will likely pass quickly in the Senate, potentially on Thursday.

The ACLU initially opposed the law, saying it was written too broadly. Librarians, photographers and artists, for example, could be unfairly prosecuted the civil rights group feared. Meanwhile, victims have had no way to get justice.

The bill is a bipartisan measure that would protect a growing number of victims, but it has struggled to leave the State Capitol.

“This is the third session dealing with this issue,” Rep. J.D. Mesnard, LD-17, said. He is sponsoring the bill.

House Bill 2001, a proposed revenge porn law, has been hanging in the balance for eight months.

“We’ve had, I think I identified about 10 cases for you, where we weren’t able to prosecute under the law as written,” explained Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

The first version of the bill passed in 2014 but county prosecutors couldn’t enforce it after the ACLU sued over concerns about how the law may infringe on First Amendment rights.

Mesnard then revised it.

“We sent it over to the Senate,” Mesnard said. “You can ask them why they neglected to vote on it. It was probably just a mistake.”

Ultimately, the bill that would have made revenge porn a felony missed out on a vote before the last legislative session ended.

“I felt extremely frustrated because I know that there are victims out there,” Mesnard said.

Mesnard was referring to victims like “Nicole” who described for us last June how an ex-boyfriend humiliated and harassed her using intimate photos.

“He got angry after the relationship ended and he posted them online without my permission and without my knowledge,” she said.

Will the third time be the charm?

The bill is fast-tracking through the Legislature and specifically spells out what it means to digitally humiliate or harass an ex.

“What the ACLU wanted was a ‘motive’ behind the sharing or spreading of the photo, as well as an expectation of privacy when the photo was originally shared with the person who then spreads it,” Mesnard explained.

The bill has an emergency clause, meaning it goes into law as soon as Gov. Doug Ducey presumably signs it. County attorneys will certainly be checking cases they’ve been unable to prosecute to see if they can now bring charges.

http://www.fox10tv.com/story/30961269/state-lawmaker-goes-3rd-try-on-revenge-porn-law… Read the rest

Revenge porn: Law needs to catch up to technology, legislator says

Revenge porn: Law needs to catch up to technology, legislator says
TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press
When it comes to “revenge porn,” the law needs to catch up to technology, a state legislator says. A recent Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling, dismissing a criminal case, said existing laws don’t address the emerging cybercrime. So Minnesota Rep.
Minnesota legislator says ‘revenge porn‘ law needs to catch up to technologyDL-Onlineall 5 news articles »

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First Conviction Since Revenge Porn Law Passed In Colorado

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The first person convicted under Colorado’s new revenge porn law was sentenced

The revenge porn law targets those who post intimate videos and/or images of former romantic partners with the intention to harass them.

Michael Clasen was sentenced to three years probation on Friday. He had been facing up to 90 days in jail.

Clasen, 25 years old, was charged with six counts, including felony stalking and criminal mischief.

It is the misdemeanor charge that’s receiving focus, the ‘revenge porn’ law, that Clasen reportedly violated the very day the law went into effect.

Based on court records, Clasen slashed the tires of his 19-year old ex girlfriend and her mother. Subsequently he reportedly set spike strips in their driveway. He then posted private images of his ex-girlfriend online.

For more information on Colorado’s ‘revenge porn’ law, read more here:

http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2014a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/B8622059E18D26C687257C9A005794F0?open&file=1378_enr.pdf

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Illinois Passes Revenge Porn Law

Illinois Passes Revenge Porn Law With Teeth: ‘Other States Should Copy’

Sixteen states have now made it a felony to publish so-called revenge porn — sexual images or video of someone without his or her consent. But Monday, [state] what many say is the country’s strongest anti-revenge-porn legislation yet. The law would take effect June 1.

New York lawyer Carrie Goldberg, who advocates for victims whose privacy has been invaded by technology, spoke with International Business Times Tuesday about what might surprise people about revenge-porn laws, why the Illinois law is a step forward, and what needs to be done to end what she says is a violation of the disproportionately female victims’ civil rights.

“I’m very pleased with the legislation,” Goldberg said. “It was a hard-earned battle that was in legislation for a long time. It’s a testament to [state] Rep. [a Highwood Democrat] [a Highwood Democrat] who was a real champion.”

What the new law does

The Illinois discounts motive for posting intimate images of someone without his or her consent. Revenge porn is classically thought of as something vengeful exes do to humiliate and punish their ex-partners after a breakup, but the Illinois law gives priority to the harm done to victims. It also makes it a crime to disseminate someone’s intimate selfie without his or her consent. An earlier [state], which has since been amended, was criticized by victims’ advocates for applying only to images taken by someone other than the victim. The images that would fall under the [state] also don’t have to be nudes — they can be images of sexual activity that don’t necessarily require the exposure of intimate parts, for example images of the victim performing a sex act.

The Illinois law doesn’t exempt those who publish intimate images if they received them secondhand. It takes into account a “reasonable person” standard and considers most people can determine if an image is private and the person depicted would not consent to have it disseminated. The price to pay for posting revenge porn is also significant under the Illinois law: It’s a Class 4 felony punishable by one to three years in prison, a possible $25,000 fine and restitution to victims for costs incurred.

Free speech versus ‘private speech’

And although the Illinois law accounts for free speech — for example, by not limiting the reproduction of “voluntary exposure in public or commercial settings” — Goldberg offered food for thought to those who fear anti-revenge-porn legislation will violate First Amendment rights.

“So much is said about how laws butt up against [state],” Goldberg said, “but if we lose the expectation of privacy in taking images meant only for someone we trust, then we lose another valuable form of speech: our private speech. There is nothing wrong with taking pictures of yourself that are meant only for another person you trust.”

Revenge porn is everywhere

Although there are dedicated revenge-porn sites — such as the now-defunct IsAnyoneUp.com, created by Hunter Moore, “the most hated man on the Internet,” revenge porn exists on the Internet in many other incarnations.

“There are so many people who do this,” Goldberg said. “We think of this in classic form as something an ex does to get revenge after a relationship goes sour, but that’s not always the scenario. Some people don’t even know the victim, as in hacking cases.”

Revenge porn is ubiquitous. Some amateur porn found on porn websites has been uploaded without a person’s consent. Revenge porn can be found on sub-Redditts or disseminated on social media. And some revenge porn has moved to “Tor” networks, or the underground Internet. Some people who see revenge porn are consumers — others, targeted loved ones, friends and colleagues, who are emailed or texted the porn or who see it on the victim’s Facebook page.

Federal law protects revenge-porn websites

What might surprise people about the Hunter Moore case is that he was indicted on federal charges for hacking, that is, paying someone to obtain the images he posted on his revenge-porn site — and not for publishing the images. That’s because publishing revenge porn isn’t a federal crime — something Moore knew when he was interviewed by [a Highwood Democrat] in 2012 and said under Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act (CDA) he was protected from publishing intimate images of people without their consent.

He wasn’t wrong: The CDA states website owners aren’t liable for content submitted by other users.

“People often say, ‘Go after the website,'” Goldberg said, “but you can’t. State [state] doesn’t trump the CDA. There would have to be a new federal criminal law to make a real dent.” She and other victim advocates at the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative are advocating for a federal criminal law, one of which has been drafted by University of Miami Law School Professor Mary Anne Franks. This law, which Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., is preparing to introduce, could co-exist with the CDA while holding operators of revenge porn sites criminally responsible.

But for now, revenge porn websites get pulled for hacking, publishing underage porn or trying to extort from victims. Criminal charges for revenge porn, however, are made “indirectly,” Goldberg said, through the violation of other criminal laws. The CDA also protects websites from being sued in civil court.

Protecting women ‘a [a Highwood Democrat] issue’

Although laws are far from perfect, Goldberg said she is heartened by the Illinois law. In her practice, she has had women from all walks of life — students, professionals, mothers with children — call her in suicidal states of despair after they became victims of revenge porn, and in half the cases, their images accompanied by identifying information — names, addresses, social media handles — which opened them up to harm from harassers and stalkers.

“Other states that haven’t passed or have sub-par laws should follow Illinois as a model,” she said. “Revenge porn is a form of domestic violence and the harms are significant and enduring. Women are disproportionately the victims and the harms are more intense — harassment and social judgment are horrendous, worse than for the male victim.

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

In what has become an increasingly common phenomenon, a Milwaukee woman had to face having nude and seminude photos of her posted on the Internet in April as collateral damage of a messy breakup.

Her ex, Keslin Jean Jacques, told her there was nothing she could do to stop him, according to a criminal complaint, because Gov. Scott Walker had not yet signed into law a bill aimed at outlawing the practice.

Apparently he hadn’t been keeping up with the news.

Walker had signed the bill 12 days earlier, and Jean Jacques, 31, of Milwaukee, became one of the first people charged under the new law on April 22.

The offense — posting or publishing a sexually explicit image without consent — is a misdemeanor punishable by up to nine months in jail and $10,000 fine.

Jean Jacques’ case is scheduled for trial Wednesday.

It was initially set for August, but a committee was still working on the standard jury instructions for the new charge.

Revenge porn involves the publication of intimate photos that were once shared willingly, often with identifying information, even an email address or phone number of the subject, almost always a female.

The first inclination of many victims and their lawyers is to try to get Internet service providers or social media sites to take down the images, or to hold them liable, but the federal Communications Decency Act largely provides immunity to platforms for what their users do.

The practice has been charged as cyberstalking or harassment in some states.

Other victims have tried personal injury actions against ex-lovers who post the photos. Some scholars have even suggested copyright law might be an effective tool, since many of the explicit photos are “selfies,” taken by the subjects themselves.

California was the first state to pass legislation specifically aimed at revenge porn, and prosecutors won the first conviction under that 2013 law last month.

About a dozen states have tried to follow California’s lead and outlaw the practice but have run into First Amendment concerns (except when the subjects are minors; then child pornography laws apply).

In Arizona, booksellers challenged a 2014 law that made revenge porn a felony as overbroad and likely to make criminal books that contain certain nude images that really don’t fit the intent of the law.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn this week signed into law a measure that bans the practice of revenge porn, according to the Chicago Tribune. The law makes it a felony to post sexually explicit videos and photos of another person online without his or her permission.

Wisconsin’s law prohibits publication of “private representation” without the consent of the person depicted.

It defines “private representation” as a nude or partially nude image intended by the subject to be “captured, viewed or possessed” only by the person intended by the subject.

It does not require any intent by the publisher to embarrass the subject; an ex-boyfriend who claims he was publishing the photo to bring the subject compliments would be just as guilty.

The Wisconsin law also provides an exception for posting a private image “that is newsworthy or of public importance.”

Woman’s ex headed for trial under new Wisconsin revenge porn law – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
revenge porn – Google News

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Arizona court puts revenge porn law on hold

PHOENIX — State officials have agreed not to pursue anyone from booksellers to Internet posters under a new revenge porn law, at least not for now.

The order signed late Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton gives Rep. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, a chance to re-craft the controversial measure to see if he can address challenger concerns the law violates the First Amendment. If he can, the lawsuit goes away.

Mesnard said he already has some ideas in mind.

But he said some of the concerns raised by the American Civil Liberties Union and others are “pretty far-fetched.” And Mesnard said he does not want to dilute the legislation to the point it is no longer meaningful.

The law approved earlier this year makes it a felony to “intentionally disclose, display, distribute, publish, advertise or offer” a photo, video, film or digital recording of someone else who is naked “if the person knows or should have known that the depicted person has not consented to the disclosure.” The legislation covers not just images of nudity but also anyone engaged in any sex act.

Offenders could end up in prison for up to 2½ years — or 3¾ years if the person is recognizable.

The target is so-called “revenge porn” where someone may have taken a compromising photo during a relationship that was not meant to be shared with others. Mesnard said it becomes an entirely different situation when the relationship ends, often badly, and the images get posted online.

The ACLU and a private law firm representing booksellers sued, charging the law would make criminals out of those who sell, display or simply show images of others who are naked but have not granted specific permission. ACLU attorney Lee Rowland said the result is a “chilling effect” on merchants, causing them to pull books from their shelves for fear prosecutors will use the law against them.

Rowland said the law is so broad that a mother who shows a naked photo of her baby to a neighbor could be charged.

The deal approved by Bolton is based on a promise by Robert Ellman, the state’s solicitor general, not to use the new law while efforts to rework it are underway. The attorneys for 14 of the 15 counties also signed the agreement; Yuma County is expected to join the pact after Thanksgiving.

One possible change might be a more restrictive definition of “nudity” to exclude some images that otherwise might result in criminal charges.

Mesnard also said he will explore a “public interest” exception.

In essence, anyone whose publication or distribution of an image that would otherwise fit under the law could escape prosecution if there is a legitimate public purpose. That would cover things like the news photo of a Vietnamese girl running down the road naked after her clothes were burned off with napalm.

But Mesnard said he’s not convinced all the issues raised by challengers are legitimate. That includes the claim that a mother could end up behind bars for showing off the naked picture of her baby.

“That’s an example of something that really wouldn’t apply,” he said, because the mother has authority to give consent.

Somewhat trickier is the question of books which may have photos or images of someone who is naked. But Mesnard said he believes challengers are looking for problems where none exist.

“The bill only applies when a bookstore knew or should have known they haven’t consent,” he said. “I don’t know why a bookstore would be expected to know that.”

“We’ve just got to be careful to where we don’t water this down to where the bill becomes meaningless and is simply a feel-good statement,” he said. “If, at the end of the day, we just put something in statute that has no teeth and has a net that’s so narrow that few, if any cases will ever come under it, well, then we’ve just wasted everybody’s time.”

State and court put revenge porn law on hold – Arizona Daily Star
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Revenge porn law in California could pave way for rest of nation

A bill that would criminalize revenge porn — nude or sexual photos, generally of former wives or girlfriends, posted online by an angry ex — could pave the way for other states to adopt similar laws, putting perpetrators in jail for six months if convicted a first time, and up to a year for repeat violations. The bill, already approved by the California Senate, is expected to go to the state Assembly as soon as this week, despite concerns from some lawmakers and experts who fear it could curtail First Amendment rights.

“It’s traumatized real victims; it’s a growing problem,” California state Sen. Anthony Cannella, told NBC News. “Technology moves much faster than our laws,” said Cannella, a Republican, who authored the legislation. “When we identify a problem, it’s our responsibility to deal with it.”

If passed by the Assembly, SB 255 will go to Gov. Jerry Brown for approval. It’s not clear whether Brown will support it. “Generally, we do not comment on pending legislation,” Brown press spokesman Evan Westrup told NBC News.

One supporter with whom Cannella has been working is Holly Jacobs, a Florida woman who founded End Revenge Porn after her own nightmare with the issue began more than four years ago.

Like many other couples, Jacobs and her boyfriend had private photos of intimate moments — photos not meant for public consumption. After their breakup, Jacobs saw her photos plastered everywhere on the Web, including on Facebook and several revenge porn sites. Her email address was part of what was shared, “so I had harassing emails constantly coming in,” she told TODAY’s Matt Lauer in May. “My work location was posted up and there, so I was terrified. I was so afraid that someone would physically stalk me.”

In the era of instant uploads, a slimy sub-industry of sites have emerged that are dedicated solely to such “revenge porn” shots and videos. It has become a money-making “sport,” of which one of the most notorious players is Hunter Moore, who was under FBI investigation for his controversial site, Is Anyone Up.

Though the sites often include personal information about the victims, including names, email addresses and even links to their Facebook profiles, the sites themselves are protected from liability because of Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, which says that websites and Internet service providers can be treated as a publisher for “any information provided by another information content provider.” With little legal recourse, these victims are left feeling helpless and humiliated.

Jacobs’ fear turned to anger, and she decided she would no longer be a victim. She filed criminal and civil charges against her ex. The ex, through his attorney, has denied the charges against him, contending he is just as much a victim as Jacobs, and that the reason the photos and video were shared is that his computer was hacked.

Those who might think, “Well, you shouldn’t have taken those photos … ” aren’t living in the real world of what has become, especially for a younger generation, a cultural-technological phenomenon as normal as tweeting and texting.

“It’s absolutely just a new version of victim blaming,” Jacobs said in May. “What I would say to victims when they hear that is, just hold on to that little voice inside of you that says, ‘This is not right.’ What’s happening to me is not OK, and there need to be laws in place against this.”

The California legislation, Jacobs told NBC News, “is so important because it has the potential to set a precedent for other states considering to criminalize revenge porn.”

Precedents and objections
The state that comes closest to doing that now is New Jersey, which since 2003 has had an invasion-of-privacy law aimed at video voyeurs, people who secretly videotape others naked or having sex without their consent, according to a spokesman for the Office of the Attorney General in that state.

That law was one of those used to prosecute Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi, found guilty last year after setting up a webcam to spy on his gay roommate, Tyler Clementi, in 2010. Ravi livestreamed the video and tweeted about his roommates’s activities. Clementi, 18, committed suicide after learning about the public humiliation.

“Legislators did not discuss the issue of ‘revenge porn’ in passing this law” in 2003, Peter Aseltine, a spokesman for the New Jersey attorney general’s office, told NBC News. “Nonetheless, the language of the statute is quite broad and arguably applies to allow prosecution of an individual in a ‘revenge porn’ situation.”

Other revenge porn law efforts could soon be underway in Texas, Wisconsin and Georgia, Jacobs said.

While most everyone will agree that the revenge porn practice is reprehensible, crafting legislation that doesn’t inadvertently restrict free speech is the challenge.

In Florida, where Jacobs lives, an attempt at a revenge porn law failed this year partly because of concerns the way the law was written could interfere with free speech. Jacobs cited another concern: a requirement that personal information, such as the victim’s name and email address, also be posted as part of the photos or videos shared.

“I’m sure the revenge porn posters would have easily found a way around this,” she told NBC News. “Our personal information is already posted when our faces are in these pictures.”

Florida State Sen. David Simmons and state Rep. Tom Goodson, both Republicans, plan to try again with a new bill with different wording next spring when the legislature is back in session.

Jeff Hermes, director of the Digital Media Law Project at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, said a “balance needs to be struck properly,” and he is not sure the California law will do that.

“You need to be extraordinarily careful in criminalizing privacy law because of the risk you’re going to deter legitimate speech,” he told NBC News. “With the California bill, I don’t see an exemption here for material that’s legitimately newsworthy.”

Take for example, he said, “circumstances where photographs exist of a political candidate who has run their campaign on their squeaky-clean image,” but there are photographs of that candidate in a compromising position.… Read the rest