Twin Peaks Defense Attorney says District Attorney is using revenge porn to criminalize his client

The defense team for a Twin peaks defendant filed a motion Thursday to get Mclennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna removed from their client’s trial — citing “illegal and outrageous” government conduct.

Houston-based Defense Attorney Paul Looney demanded Reyna be replaced by a special prosecutor. He claimed Reyna was criminally victimizing his client — Cody Ledbetter and Ledbetter’s wife.

“We just want a trial, but instead, we’re getting revenge porn,” Looney said.

According to Looney, Ledbetter had images of himself and his wife engaging in sexual activity on his cell phone. After Ledbetter’s arrest, Looney said Reyna copied and distributed those images more than 150 times to counsel and staff for each of the Twin Peaks defendants.

“There’s nothing kinky, nothing weird, it’s a married couple engaging in married activities,” Looney said. “It has nothing to do with any theory, or any case dealing with Twin Peaks.”

Looney said he filed a private motion with 19th District Court Judge Ralph Strother to get those images back, but that was dismissed. He said he has no choice but to go public and hold the Reyna accountable.

“We can’t control the outcome, but we can control trying, and we’re going to try our damnedest,” Looney said.

The hearing is in three weeks. District Attorney Abel Reyna has not offered a comment on the claims yet. Ledbetter’s trial is scheduled for January. Looney said he has no plans to delay the trial.

© 2017 KCEN-TV

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Fake model scouts tricking UK girls into sharing explicit photos | Society

A growing number of teenage girls are being approached online by fake model recruiters who lure them into sending indecent images of themselves, which are later used to extort money.

Facebook and Instagram accounts are being set up in the names of leading model agencies such as Storm Model Management, which discovered Kate Moss and represents Cindy Crawford.

Girls receive messages from someone who claims to be recruiting for the agency; they are encouraged to send topless photos or conduct a Skype interview in which they are asked to remove their clothes or wear lingerie.

Sarah Doukas, the managing director of Storm, said that in the past two years the number of calls the agency had received about scam agents had risen from one a week to almost daily messages.

“The rise of social media has impacted greatly on why modelling agency scams are increasing,” Doukas said. “Firstly, a lot of young people’s Instagram accounts are not private, and consequently they are easy to approach. Secondly, fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated because of social media generally.

“We are getting more scammers posing as ‘friends’ of the model agency and offering an introduction to us, and this is not legitimate. There was one example recently, which went on for several months, where a vulnerable girl was invited to a shoot and she ended up taking her clothes off. She had been approached by a fraudster claiming to know me.”

In the UK last year there were 327 reported cases of scam model recruiters. DI Chris Felton, crime manager at the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, said a “significant” number involved scammers operating on social media.

“Social media means [scammers] can now reach a larger audience than previously, and if you are after a younger demographic then it’s an easy way to reach them,” he said. “[The number of cases of scam model recruiters] may have gone up slightly, but if you look back, social media will have played a bigger role because it’s how people communicate now.”

In other instances, girls are asked to pay extortionate amounts of money to get portfolios or “comp cards” (essentially a business card). A legitimate agency would offer these for free.

Doukas said: “Young people and their parents or guardians must be vigilant and defensive – do not trust anyone until you have established they are legitimate, and do your research.”

Alex Haddad, the director of BMA Models, said his agency was receiving 10 phone calls and 20 emails a week about scam agents – nearly twice as many as last year.

“[Scammers] use names from our agency, a booker or agent. They have used different people in the past – our website has a history of who works here on it. They then contact people from Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook and pretend to be a headhunter or recruiter,” he said. “They will say they are scouting for models and ask for pictures, sometimes they ask for naked shots … We are getting phone calls from concerned parents saying, ‘Is this a scam? What is happening?’

“Some of them do Skype calls which are so-called interviews, and they ask things like, ‘Would you shave your head or go topless?’ It’s always young girls who get targeted.”

Jessica Barker, co-founder of the cyber security consultancy Redacted Firm, said she had heard cases of girls being lured into sending sexually explicit images and told the photos would be posted online unless the scammers were paid.

“Teenage girls using Instagram and sharing pictures get approached by someone who has a profile looking like a modelling scout or talent scout for TV and film, often in the US,” she said. “They say the girls look great and have the right look for film or whatever modelling campaign they are supposedly doing. Then they ask, ‘Can we see some more pictures?’ They flatter the girls a lot and give them hope in terms of what they are looking for. They encourage the girls to then share explicit pictures, and when they do they try to extort them of money.”

Barker added: “Awareness is key. This form of attack is very unknown and people are not talking about it much in media. If you’re in this situation, approached by someone asking you for explicit images, don’t send them. A reputable model agency, for example, would never ask for someone to send naked images of themselves. If you have sent the images and are worried about being scammed, or you have received threats, tell a trusted adult.”

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Blac Chyna & Rob Kardashian Revenge Porn Case — Mediation Set For Naked Pics Rant

Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian are slated to face off next week in their bitter revenge porn drama, RadarOnline.com exclusively learned.

Kardashian, 30, posted a series of naked photos and videos of his baby mama to social media on July 5, and after obtaining a temporary restraining order against him, Chyna, 29, hired legal ace Lisa Bloom to fight for her rights and make her baby daddy pay for his crude posts.

“Chyna and Rob have a mediation date set for next Tuesday,” an insider spilled to Radar. “She is trying to make him pay for posting those naked pictures and videos of her. She is not going to settle for a couple of thousand dollars either. She wants millions.”

PHOTOS: Blac Chyna Claims Ex Rob Kardashian ‘Is Mentally Ill’ Following Shocking Split

“Chyna lost serious money after Rob posted those things. And she wants Rob to make sure that he compensates her for her financial hits. She lost hosting gigs, she lost endorsements, a lot of financial deals feel through after he did that to her.”

Chyna’s plan to hit Kardashian where it hurts, the wallet, was exposed when Radar learned that she was threatening a lawsuit against him.

“Chyna is not afraid of Rob and she wants him to fork over major cash after his offensive and illegal actions,” the source revealed. “Getting a custody settlement about Dream was just step one. Her next action is to make Rob pay.”

The couple had zero contact with each other directly after a judge forbid Kardashian from contacting his baby mama, but the source said he was desperate to reconnect.

PHOTOS: Rob Kardashian’s Breakdown Exposed After Blac Chyna Packs Up Nursery, Moves Away With Dream

“Rob and Chyna both need to be available during the mediation,” the source said. “He wants to see her so badly in person.”

But Chyna didn’t feel the same way. “She wants nothing to do with Rob,” the source insisted. “She wants him to pay for what he did, but she doesn’t want to see him.”


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Prosecutor Accused of ‘Revenge Porn’ Attack on Biker Gang Member

A defendant in the Waco biker shooting has filed a motion claiming prosecutors distributed “revenge porn” against him and his wife.

On Thursday, Houston defense lawyer Paul Looney, known for hosting press conferences with a lit cigar suspended from his lips and a Lone Star bolo-tie affixed to his white shirt, announced a motion to remove the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office from the case of former biker Cody Ledbetter. Looney is asking that a special prosecutor be appointed to the case.

In front of the scenic Waco courthouse Looney accused the district attorney’s office of “gratuitously, tortuously, and criminally” attaching photos and videos of Ledbetter and his wife having sex to the discovery process, which was then distributed to all 155 defendants in the massive shooting case.

Ledbetter is one of 177 people who were arrested on May, 17, 2015, after the melee at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, that left nine men dead and 20 more injured when the Cossacks and Bandidos motorcycle clubs reportedly began shooting one another, triggering police intervention.

A staggering 155 bikers were indicted on charges of organized criminal activity in one of the largest mass arrests in a single criminal incident in U.S. history.

Early police descriptions of the crime scene painted a chaotic picture of blood and weapons amid half-eaten burgers and half-drunk margaritas. Bodies in Cossacks and Bandidos gear lay strewn between bikes. Guns were thrown in bags of tortilla chips, trash cans, and toilets.

None of the defendants in the case have yet gone to trial, but this week a defense attorney for Dallas Bandidos leader Christopher Carrizal claimed that his case will be tried next week “come hell or high water,” according to KWTX-TV. Like many of the bikers arrested that day, Carrizal’s trial date has been in flux for more than a year.

Looney said in a press release that Ledbetter had private (“nothing kinky”) videos and photos of himself and his wife on his phone, which was confiscated by police that day.

“These private images, intended to be seen only by Ledbetter and his wife, have been made available to hundreds, if not thousands of people, including other defendants, their attorneys, the staff of those attorneys’ law firms and/or investigators,” he continued. “The district attorney and his assistants have committed numerous crimes against Mr. Ledbetter and his wife by knowingly revealing these intimate images on his telephone without any legal excuse.”

The 28-year-old’s trial is currently set for Jan. 9, 2018. Ledbetter was a member of the Cossacks motorcycle club and witnessed his stepfather, Daniel Boyett, die of gunshot wounds during the May 2015 shooting.

“In this case, prejudice is plain,” Looney wrote in the motion. “[District Attorney Abel] Reyna and numerous others prosecutors in his office have victimized Mr. Ledbetter and his wife.

“They have shown no respect for his rights, and cannot justly prosecute their own victim,” he added, claiming that Reyna’s office violated the Ledbetters’ rights and committed a crime by distributing the images without their consent.

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“I saw more porn than I’ve ever seen in my life,” Dallas lawyer Clint Broden told The Daily Beast, of the four terabytes of information. Broden represents another biker and defendant in the shooting, Matthew Clendennen.

“Some of it was homemade porn and some of it was from the internet,” Broden said. “It’s totally ridiculous—they knew this was on the discovery. It couldn’t have been an accident.”

He added, “They put it out to embarrass people.”

Prosecutors were also reportedly forced last year to recall a portion of the evidence that was sent out to defense attorneys because there was child pornography on the phone of at least one of the defendants.

Reyna did not return requests for comment left on Friday by The Daily Beast.

“The state has been claiming a ‘duty to disclose’ that never applied to these images, and that is simply an outrage,” Clay Conrad, Looney’s law partner, said in a statement. “They have a duty to disclose relevant information, but they also have a duty not to disclose private sexual images having absolutely nothing to do with the current case.”

The 155 trials—in which all of the defendants are charged with engaging in organized criminal activity—have been routinely pushed back over more than two years as the county struggles to cope with the financial burden of the investigation and defense attorneys file motions to remove judges and the district attorney’s office.

Broden said he filed a motion to remove Reyna in August 2016 over recorded attorney-client jail calls circulated in the discovery, but that motion was denied by Judge Matt Johnson, who recused himself last week from Clendennen’s case. Another out-of-town judge has since been assigned to it.

“It is a circus, and the wheels are falling off the bus,” said Broden. Clendennen’s trial is currently set for Nov. 6.

In May, The Daily Beast reported that four of the accused bikers filed a suit against the city, law enforcement, and Twin Peaks restaurant for violating their civil rights and slandering their reputations. The lawsuit, with flare, demanded $1 billion and compared the shooting to poison gas attacks in Syria.

Beaumont defense attorney Brent Coon—who represents Jim Albert Harris, Bonar Crump Jr., Drew King, and Juan Carlos Garcia—said in a press release at the time that the aftermath of the shooting was the “worst police operation initiated by law enforcement in the history of Texas.”

Eventually, Coon claimed, Waco’s handling of the shooting “will be shown to be one of the biggest blunders and cover-ups by any law enforcement agency in the country,” and the city will be proven to be “another Salem, Massachusetts in a witch hunt for bikers.”

Broden said Friday he was not aware of any other attempts to remove Reyna from the Twin Peaks cases, but he added: “My guess is there’ll be more to come.”

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New Bill Could Make Revenge Porn A Crime In NYC: Gothamist




After years of stalled efforts at the state level, New York City is now pursing its own legislation to criminalize “revenge porn”—the act of sharing explicit photos of a person with the “intention to cause economic, emotional or physical harm.”

Under the new bill, which is expected to get a committee vote in the council next month, sleazy offenders who share “intimate images” without their subject’s consent will face one year in jail and a fine of $1,000. Victims may also pursue civil penalties—including “compensatory and punitive damages”—in the absence of a criminal conviction.

The bill was first introduced by Queens Councilman Rory Lancman last September, and has since gained the support of both Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD.

“It is critically important for the laws in New York City to catch up with our technology to provide protections for New Yorkers from such abuse,” Lancman said in a statement. “Criminalizing revenge porn will ensure perpetrators can be held accountable for their actions, and that victims can receive justice they deserve.”

“These are real victims that we don’t have a tool on the books to actually assist,” NYPD Legislative Affairs Director Oleg Chernyavsky explained during a hearing for the bill earlier this year.

While the city-level legislation is being “primed” for a forthcoming vote in the Public Safety Committee, a similar bill at the state level has languished without a vote for three straight years. “There’s people who blame the victim for taking the pictures or allowing that significant other to take the pictures in the first place,” an anonymous Albany source told the NY Post.

New York is one of just 12 hold-out states that have refused to criminalize revenge porn, though the city’s bill might soon change that, according to Brooklyn attorney Carrie Goldberg, a pioneer in the field of sexual privacy.

“The cost to one’s reputation, finances, safety and overall future as a victim are mind-blowing, and it’s wonderful that our city lawmakers grasp this,” Goldberg told Gothamist.

“Obviously, it’s clear that our local city lawmakers prioritize sexual privacy much more than our state lawmakers—it’s my wish that some day all 20 million New York state residents will get protection.”

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Colorado’s revenge porn law brings nearly 200 charges, but getting convictions is a challenge – The Denver Post

A Colorado law designed to punish people for revenge porn — posting intimate photos of former lovers or spouses on the internet typically following a break-up — has resulted in nearly 200 charges since it was passed three years ago, but securing convictions and guilty pleas has been a challenge.

There have been 192 misdemeanor cases for non-consensual pornography filed since House Bill 14-1378 became law in July 2014. Just over a third of those have resulted in guilty pleas or verdicts, reflecting the difficulty of proving the cases but also, possibly, weaknesses in the law.

While law enforcement officials and victims advocates praised the law’s success, they remained measured because, The Denver Post found, many cases have been either dismissed or set aside in plea-bargain deals.

Also, it doesn’t appear anyone has yet used the law’s strongest tool at punishing someone for allegedly posting nude photos of ex-girlfriends or ex-wives — most of those charged are men — without permission: filing a civil lawsuit that offers guaranteed penalties of at least $10,000.

“It’s hard to know how many cases there might be because they are not filed as revenge porn,” said attorney Cassandra Kirsch, who has represented a handful of clients whose cases were settled before a lawsuit was filed. “And a lot of attorneys bring them under different theories, such as an invasion of privacy case or defamation or negligence. The law is relatively new, and a lot of people just don’t know they can file it.”

In a lawsuit recently filed in Denver District Court, a three-time Paralympian accuses her airline pilot ex-boyfriend of circulating nude photos she shared with him during their relationship. The unidentified 39-year-old woman’s lawsuit against her 41-year-old ex-boyfriend doesn’t use the new state law, but instead relies on laws aimed at defamation and invasion of privacy.

The Post found that most of the misdemeanor criminal charges filed under Colorado statute 18-7-107 — including one against the airline pilot — were accompanied by another charge, though 89 were filed by themselves, state court records show. There were 37 misdemeanor charges of posting intimate photos on the internet without permission that were part of a larger felony case.

Of the 192 cases filed, 117 have already been decided: 42 ended in a guilty plea or verdict, a 36 percent conviction rate, state court records show. Of the remainder, 27 were dismissed, three were acquittals, 26 were dismissed as part of a plea-bargain agreement, and 19 were dismissed as part of a deferred sentence deal. There were 75 cases still pending as of Sept. 1.

“Dismissals are unusual, but a vast majority of our cases will end up in plea agreements,” said Denver District Attorney Beth McCann, who voted for the bill as a legislator and now prosecutes the offenders. “It’s particularly difficult with cases where victims and perpetrators know each other, and this happens far too frequently with these.”

The law isn’t as clear as it could be, Kirsch said. For example, it does not apply to photos of someone who is clothed, even if they are engaged in a sexual act.

“If you have sexual activity and the victim is clothed, that’s not technically a violation since, in the case of oral sex, it’s the defendant’s body that is shown, not the plaintiff’s,” Kirsch explained.

That too few of the criminal cases have resulted in a conviction is not a surprise, she said.

“Firstly, how do you know they are the one to post the photo on the internet?” Kirsch asked. “There’s a difficult burden of proof. Often times it’s only the plaintiff’s word, and sometimes it’s the same photo that was shared with multiple partners. That’s difficult to unravel and difficult to hold people accountable.”

El Paso has most in state

With 15, Denver County ranks fourth for the number of revenge porn cases it has filed since 2014, tied with Larimer County, records show. Three were dismissed, and three others were dismissed as part of a plea-bargain deal in Denver. Two were dismissed in Larimer County.

Tops in the state, however, is El Paso County, with 32 revenge porn cases filed — the county where bill-sponsor Amy Stephens resides. Of those cases, nine were dismissed outright, four were dropped as part of a deferred judgment, and five others were dismissed on a plea bargain, records show. There were five guilty verdicts, and nine cases are pending.

“I’m actually pretty shocked by that,” said Stephens, who left the legislature in 2014. “I knew from the beginning that this would be tough to prosecute, but just because of that doesn’t mean you don’t do the right thing and make it a crime. A number of people are trying to get their justice and it’s not OK for people to get a free pass.”

A spokesman for El Paso County Prosecutor Dan May said he was away and unable to comment.

In her lawsuit, the Paralympian says her ex-boyfriend, Byron Rodenburg, allegedly posted the woman’s photos to a pair of pornographic websites in which users rate a person’s intimate parts. She has asked to remain anonymous in her lawsuit because of her status as a semi-public figure and because it could impact her regular job.

In court papers, the woman’s attorneys say about a half-million people have seen the photos, which included a caption with her real name and birthday. Some users tracked her down on Facebook and wrote to her, the lawsuit says, increasing her anxiety and trauma. The lawsuit says she’s since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Her attorney, Mark Jachimiak, did not comment.

“While in today’s world of technology it may be less shocking to learn that some couples take and share explicit pictures to use and share within the safety and confines of their partnership,” the lawsuit reads, “it is not commonplace to have one half of the partnership then post the pictures, along with a vulgar paragraph coined as an invitation to harm (the woman) on pornographic websites for hundreds of thousands of people to see.”

Rodenburg is also charged in Adams County with posting an image for harassment, a misdemeanor, and felony stalking, records show.

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Korean man jailed for spreading ‘revenge porn’

SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – A man in his 30s has been found guilty of posting nude photos of his former girlfriend on social media in an apparent “revenge porn” scheme.

Busan District Court on Sunday (Oct 8) handed down a jail term of 1½ years to the man for spreading private sexual images without consent. The court said it took into consideration how the suspect had no previous criminal records and had already paid alimony to the victim.

In December last year, the man allegedly created a fake social media profile impersonating his former girlfriend and posted nude photos of her with obscene comments.

The man told investigators he decided to post the nude photos, as his former girlfriend had been avoiding contact with him in an attempt to break up.

The fake profile was later taken down. However, the photos had already been circulated on other networks and websites.

The victim has reportedly been suffering from severe psychological distress and suicidal thoughts, as her acquaintances have seen the photos.

The court said the victim initially pleaded for the suspect to be left unpunished, but later retracted her plea, showing signs of severe psychological distress.

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Nationals’ assistant hitting coach faces revenge porn lawsuit


SportsPulse: From Nationals Park, Trysta Krick and USA TODAY Sports’ baseball insiders look ahead to a full day of postseason baseball.

The Washington Nationals announced that assistant hitting coach Jacque Jones was suspended pending a legal matter minutes before Friday’s Game 1 of the NLDS – a game they would lose 3-0 to the Chicago Cubs.

The team said Jones’ suspension with pay was due to a pending legal matter that the club is investigating. Court documents obtained by USA TODAY Sports spell out what that legal matter appears to be: a revenge porn lawsuit that lists both Jones and the Nationals as defendants.

According to the lawsuit filed last week in San Diego Superior Court, Jones allegedly distributed multiple nude photos of the plaintiff — referenced as Jane Doe in the filing — after Jones and the woman’s relationship ended in August. The Nationals were served with the lawsuit on Friday, Rory Pendergast, an attorney for Jones’ ex-girlfriend, told USA TODAY Sports.

“Ask ya homegirl if she wants these back?” Jones allegedly wrote to a Facebook friend in a message that accompanied the images. “I see your post and she’s on some bull (expletive). She’s loony and the type of chick that makes a (expletive) wanna stay single.”

The Washington Post was the first to report the lawsuit.

More: Cubs outlast Stephen Strasburg, steal Game 1 of NLDS vs. Nationals

More: Las Vegas roots bring Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant together again

Robert Fitzpatrick, the woman’s attorney, alleges in the lawsuit Jones continued to distribute the photos to other mutual friends and that Jones, who played in the majors 10 seasons, was “punishing” her for ending the relationship.

“(The) plaintiff is seeking justice for Coach Jones’s intimidation and emotional abuse in connection with his distribution of private and intimate photos of plaintiff while on the job with the Washington Nationals,” Pendergast said in an email.

No legal representation was listed for either Jones or the Nationals.

Nationals manager Dusty Baker called Jones’ suspension “kind of a downer.”

 “He’s a big part of the team,” Baker said after the 3-0 loss to Chicago. “I don’t know if that had anything to do with it, but it was a bit of a downer, and we hope that things subside and work themselves out.”

The lawsuit also claims that the Nationals “knew of Coach Jones’s propensity and predisposition to emotionally abuse and intimidate women.”

When contacted, Fitzpatrick wrote the Nationals “failed to investigate, failed to train, and improperly retained Coach Jones even after it knew or should have known of his bad conduct toward women. … Defendant Washington Nationals did nothing.”

According to the lawsuit, Jones’ ex-girlfriend continues to experience “severe emotional distress, embarrassment, and even physical manifestations of the pain, including vomiting at the thought of Coach Jones’s actions.”

Jones is in his second season with the club.

The lawsuit seeks at least $25,000 in damages. The first hearing date is March 9.

Follow Perez on Twitter @byajperez

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Revenge porn in India: What to do when your ex threatens to put your private videos online

Being through a toxic relationship is hard. It affects both your mental and physical health. Revenge porn could be a result of such toxic relationships. This sick act is on the rise in the past few years. According to a study[1], narcissists and those with psychopathic traits, like impulsivity and lack of empathy, are more likely to post revenge porn online. The researchers also found that 87 percent of participants expressed at least some excitement or amusement with revenge porn. Things get ugly and dangerous if you find yourself in a situation where the guy threatens to post your personal pictures or video that were taken by your consent when things were good. If you are going through this, fret not and read this. And if you are someone who is planning to do this with some girls read this to know what’s in store for you:

1. It is time for you to take action against that person. DO NOT let the person take advantage of you emotionally. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT! Channelise your anger and other emotions properly. Know your rights.

2. For social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, Facebook recently rolled out tools to help people thwart the circulation of their intimate images without consent or ‘revenge porn’ on its platforms including Messenger and photo-sharing service Instagram. If you notice an intimate image on Facebook that seems to have been shared without permission, your first step should be to report it by using the “Report” link that appears next to the post. A Facebook team will then review the image and remove it. It does not stop here. Facebook uses photo-matching technologies to help curb further attempts to share the image on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram.

3. Even though there are are no specific laws in India, you must know that revenge porn is a punishable crime with 3-7 years of imprisonment and attracts a fine up to Rs. 10 lakh under various sections of the IT Act, 2000 and the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

4. Consent for the capture of the material isn’t considered what is important is the consent for uploading it. Uploading any such material without consent is a punishable offence under sections 66E, 67, 67A of the IT act and section 354C of the IPC and it also applies to images captured without consent.

5. In the case of publishing obscene content about anyone below the age of 18, the consequences are even more aggravated under section 67B of the IT Act.

6. Even videos and pictures that are morphed or photoshopped attract punishments.

7. Threatening to reveal the person’s name or other harassment of that sort will attract laws on defamation under Sections 400 and 506.

8. The government has set up cyber forensic training and investigation labs in various states in the country and cyber-crime cells have been set in all the states and union territories in the country. You can report there and get your issue resolved easily.

Image: Shutterstock (For representational purposes only)

[1] Sirianni, J. M. (2015). Bad romance: Exploring the factors that influence revenge porn sharing amongst romantic partners(Doctoral dissertation, State University of New York at Buffalo).


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Basically legal: Montana fails to protect victims of revenge porn. Why? | Features

At a Fourth of July party in 2016, a stranger approached Hannah Jennaway, then 21, with an unsettling question:

“Are you the girl in the Snapchats I just got?”

Jennaway’s stomach sank. “No,” she lied. She knew what the girl was referring to and hated imagining anyone watching it — especially someone she didn’t know. As the night went on, more people texted her asking about the Snapchat videos they’d received of two people having sex, including a girl who looked just like her.

Earlier that day, Jennaway went cliff jumping at Ennis Lake with a group of friends. Worn out after a day in the sun, she returned to Bozeman with two friends to clean up before going to a party to celebrate the Fourth of July. While Jennaway’s friend Dilan Koelzer, then 20, showered, Jennaway and her other friend went into Koelzer’s bedroom, pushed a couch against the door because it didn’t have a lock and started having sex.

Minutes later, Jennaway noticed someone had pushed the door open and come into the room. The lights were off and it was dark until a bright light flashed to her right. She held her arm out in front of her face.

“Stop, Dilan. Go away,” she told him.

After that, Jennaway said she knew Koelzer remained in the room but didn’t realize he was taking videos of her.

When it was over, Jennaway checked her phone. She had three Snapchats from Koelzer. In the first Snapchat video, she watched herself put her hand out to tell him to stop. Jennaway felt uncomfortable about the fact that he had filmed her having sex, but assumed the videos had only been sent to her. She didn’t confront him about it right away.

Later that night at the party she realized, horrified, that many people had received them.

Because Snapchat deletes its data, it’s impossible to know exactly how many people received the videos, but the citation eventually filed against Koelzer claims it was at least eight.

“I think he just went down his Snapchat list,” Jennaway said.

Non-consensual porn, commonly called “revenge porn,” involves the distribution of sexual or nude images of people without their consent. Thirty-eight states in the U.S. have laws that make it illegal, and Montana was on its way to join them in the most recent legislative session until, unexpectedly, the bill failed.

House Bill 129 was one of a handful of bills that sought to amend Montana’s sexual assault laws. Six other bills did pass with bipartisan support — redefining the legal definition of rape in Montana and rescinding parental rights from rapists whose victims became pregnant. HB 129 initially performed well, passing the House 95-5 and then breezing through second reading in the Senate 49-1.

But in the senate judiciary committee, the portion of the bill that criminalized the distribution of intimate images against someone’s consent was removed. In that version, the bill wouldn’t protect people who took images of themselves and sent them to an intimate partner expecting they would be kept between the two of them. Sen. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell, explained to the Senate that the amendment was intended to place responsibility on “selfie senders,” even if their intimate photos are later distributed without their consent.

“Protection for the selfie sender was taken out by removing the words ‘or distribute,’” Regier said to the Senate during the bill’s second reading. “It was felt that personal responsibility needs to be a part of the issue. We are all told that your email, Youtube, Facebook, whatever can be out there for everyone to see forever. There was some concern in committee over a naive underage person being taken advantage of as well, but even they need to know that there are consequences for their actions.”

After that change, HB 129 failed in an unusual 0-50 vote in the Senate. Removing punishment for distributing images without permission made the bill stray too far from its original intent, making former supporters vote against it.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Ellie Hill Smith, D-Missoula, who was confident it would pass. She has been advocating for the criminalization of non-consensual porn for years and was shocked when a reporter called her to ask about the failed bill as she drove away from Helena, certain that battle was over.

“For four years I’ve said that revenge porn is one of the most important pieces of legislation for women, in particular for young women,” Smith said. “This is the new generation’s way to assault people and bully people.”

The evolution of the smartphone over the past decade has brought instant messaging and photo sharing devices into the hands of nearly every American teen. A 2017 study by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 89 percent of teens between 13 and 17 have access to a smartphone.


Snapchat, an app that allows users to take photos and videos that expire after 1 to 10 seconds or after closing out of the image, is the second most popular social media platform among teens, with 26 percent reporting that they use it “almost constantly.” Another 31 percent said they use Snapchat several times a day.

Since its introduction in 2011, Snapchat use has skyrocketed. In the first quarter of 2017, Snapchat users were sending more than 3 billion snaps every day.

Young people use smartphones to document nearly everything. It’s incredibly easy to keep track of what other people are doing, where they are and who they’re with, using social media.

But the ease with which people can capture and share photos and videos has ramifications. Issues of privacy, the permanence of digital data and the impossibility of tracking where and how it is used make it all too easy for images and information to be used as weapons. And in Montana, sharing intimate photos of people or filming them without their consent remains basically legal.

When Jennaway later confronted Koelzer about the videos, she said he didn’t seem remorseful, which upset her more.… Read the rest