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FTC Bans Revenge Porn Site IsAnybodyDown from Non-Consensual Nude Posts

Criag Brittain

Criag Brittain

The US Federal Trade Commission has banned the operator of a notorious revenge porn site from posting nude images of women without first obtaining their explicit consent.

The FTC announced on Thursday that Craig Brittain, founder of IsAnybodyDown, has also been ordered to delete all images and personal data he amassed while operating his site.

In a complaint, the FTC accused Brittain of deceiving women into sharing intimate images and information, which he would then hold for ransom. He sometimes demanded hundreds of dollars from his unwitting marks.

One way in which Brittain bamboozled his victims was by posing as a woman on Craigslist and offering to exchange nude photos. He would then post the images on IsAnybodyDown. Brittain also encouraged other men to anonymously submit nude photos and videos of women to his site, requiring them to divulge sensitive personal information about their victims, including full names, phone numbers and Facebook profile links.

Brittain also promoted a “bounty system” in which users could offer $100 rewards to other users who could find images and information about specific targets.

Women horrified at the violation of their privacy and concerned about potential harm to their relationships, reputations and careers contacted Brittain to have the images removed from his site. Some of his victims said they had been contacted by strangers who saw their photos and information on IsAnybodyDown.

According to the FTC complaint, Brittain often did not comply with requests to remove unwanted posts. Additionally, his site advertised content removal services, “Takedown Hammer” and “Takedown Lawyer,” which charged $200-$500 for deletions. Brittain misrepresented these services, which he owned and operated, as independent, third-party businesses.

“This behavior is not only illegal but reprehensible,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “I am pleased that as a result of this settlement, the illegally collected images and information will be deleted, and this individual can never return to the so-called ‘revenge porn’ business.”

That revenge porn websites are allowed to exist at all alarms many observers. But such sites exist in a legal gray area. In most states, it is not a crime to post non-consensual images and information but as awareness of revenge porn spreads, so do legislative efforts to control it.

A 2003 New Jersey privacy law predating revenge porn prohibits selling, providing, publishing, distributing or otherwise disseminating nude or sexual images without consent. This law has been cited as a model by some advocates of criminalizing revenge porn.

One state has enacted a tough anti-revenge porn law. Last month, Noe Iniguez of Los Angeles became the first person convicted and jailed under a new California statute. Iniguez was sentenced to one year behind bars and three years’ probation for posting nude photos of his ex-girlfriend on Facebook without her permission.

On Monday, San Diego resident Kevin Bollaert, 28, was convicted of 27 felony counts related to identity theft and extortion in connection with his revenge porn site YouGotPosted.com. Boellaert faces up to 20 years in prison.

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