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Revenge Porn King Hunter Moore Arrested

July Westhale’s Avatar Article by Blog Slixa Late Night

The thoughtful advice and opinions of the author of this article are meant to be informative and entertaining and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Slixa.

Regular followers of Slixa Late Night, or perhaps of yours truly, will remember an article last fall delving into the tricky category of a newly outlawed phenomenon: revenge porn. For those of you who don’t regularly sit hawk-eyed over various news sources, informative Facebook feeds, or Twitter, perhaps you’ll be surprised to learn that revenge porn (constituted as making public the extremely private nude photos or videos that pass between couples with vengeful design) is now illegal.

This is thanks, in part, to Jerry Brown creating a law that protects those who engage in (consentual) filmed sex practices. It’s an optimistic and somewhat delusional thought that perhaps the law would strike fear into the hearts of vengeful revenge pornsters everywhere. After all, it’s an illegal act, punishable by steep fines and possible jail time, so in a perfect world, everyone who had ever taken, possessed, or come across a nudie photo or risqué amateur porn shoot you did with a random boo would respect those laws. Right?

Wrong.

Meet Hunter Moore: proprietor of the now non-existent Is Anyone Up, a website that was once dedicated entirely to publishing revenge porn. According to the Time Magazine newsfeed, Moore’s charges were as follows: “The 15-count indictment alleges that Moore paid an accomplice named Charles “Gary” Evens to hack into a number of private computers and steal nude photos from users, which Moore then uploaded to his website. The formal charges against Moore include one count of conspiracy, seven counts unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information and seven counts of aggravated identity theft.”

Despite this impressive rap sheet, Moore has not been charged with the recent aggravation of revenge porn. Why is that, you ask? Wouldn’t a lesser giant be slapped with Jerry Brown’s strike down faster than you could say “money shot”? According to the Associated Press, revenge porn isn’t yet a federal crime, making prosecution a slippery slope. “When I first interviewed Moore in 2012, he was confident that owning a website that published naked photos of people without their consent was an action protected under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Passed in 1996 just as the Internet was beginning to spread, the act states that website owners cannot be held liable for content submitted by other users.” Writes Jessica Roy, staff writer for Time.

Roy’s point here is a solid one: Section 230 protects websites that post content (including internet journalism) from being held responsible for possible opinions or actions of their user-base. This section, which is a part of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, a mandate that was the first attempt by government officials to regulate pornographic content on the Internet, while maintaining user rights. In terms of the stipulations of revenge porn laws—it is true that most states don’t currently have any regulations in place, a fact that legislators around the country are working to change.

A controversial aspect of the law, as reported by The Nation is that anti-revenge porn laws won’t actually protect most victims of the crimes, due to the fact that many photos used as revenge are photos taken by the victims themselves, a segment that goes largely unprotected by California’s law. According to the law (both in California and New Jersey, where the law was first passed), revenge porn violators are only at fault if they spread or distribute photos or videos that they took themselves.

“It’s a good first step,” said Natalie Webb, director of communications at the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative. “But it doesn’t really offer meaningful coverage to most victims who have reached out to us. I’ve answered the e-mails of victims who reach out to us and the truth is, this won’t protect many of them.”

Whether or not victims take the pictures themselves or not, the law is proving to be difficult to enforce, with a number of loopholes and caveats that make legislation and prosecution a logistical nightmare. But when it comes to Moore, punishment falls flat. Roy states: “Moore was indicted not for hosting inappropriate images uploaded by others but because he allegedly broke hacking laws by paying someone to obtain those images. It’s the first act that led him to be known as the most hated person on the Internet.”


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