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Sociopath Revenge Porn Operator Can't Believe Google Would Infringe On His Privacy :(

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You know what's hard? Running a revenge-porn operation on the interwebs. Posting the pictures is easy, but did you know that the other half of the gig is the extortion part? Man, extortion is so hard to do without getting called out by all of those downers out there who get mad when you post nude pictures of them online. And to top it all off, people sometimes don't respect your personal privacy if you're a revenge-porn site operator, can you believe THAT?


Here's how this whole revenge porn thing goes, because if you are a lot like us, you don't know very much about revenge porn websites! If you're like Craig Brittain, the operator of the (now-defunct) site IsAnybodyDown, based cleverly on the defunct site IsAnybodyUp, you gotta hustle. First you get the nudie pix by fraudulently soliciting them on places like Craigslist, or from disgruntled exes, and then you get as much info about the mark as you can, phone numbers, address, that type of thing, and then you post the picture and watch the hateful comments roll in. Easy peasy.

But, at the same time, you are maintaining a secret identity (as a fake lawyer!) as you run a separate but related scam, which is the real point of the operation. That scam is to front as the owner of a content removal service, which for a fee of $200 to $500 will remove pictures and info from your own terrible revenge porn site. It's all in-house, very efficient. If everyone could just chill out about a guy making a living illegally posting nude pix under one name and extorting people under another name, this could work out pretty well. Even though it turned out that Brittain sometimes didn't actually take down the pictures at all. But whatever, it's not like having nude pictures online along with identifying information could damage anyone's career or reputation or anything, people get so sensitive about the craziest things.

In 2013, the Federal Trade Commission got wind of Brittain's site, investigated him for a while, and reached a settlement with him at the end of January. The FTC press release says:

Under the terms of the settlement, Brittain is required to permanently delete all of the images and other personal information he received during the time he operated the site. He will also be prohibited from publicly sharing intimate videos or photographs of people without their affirmative express consent, as well as being prohibited from misrepresenting how he will use any personal information he collects online.

Here's the best part! In a not-at-all ironic request, Brittain has demanded, pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, that The Google remove from its search engine a list of links to news stories about what a huge sociopath he is and about the FTC settlement, and about how you can't actually pretend you are a fake lawyer and then keep that secret. Brittain thinks that links to stories about those things are an unauthorized breach of his privacy, everyone, and that is UNFAIR. Oh, the irony and also the karma. Happily, The Google is ignoring this hilarious request.

An extremely pathetic letter is the only content remaining on Brittain's dead site, which we don't wish to link to, in case he's still counting clicks. In the letter he apologizes, denies, equivocates, and begs forgiveness. He says things like "'Revenge Porn' is a largely fictionalized narrative," and "I strongly believe that any law against “Revenge Porn” is unconstitutional, circa Arizona, and should be overturned." Not sure what "circa Arizona" means, but it sounds totally compelling. He even claims that 200 of the women and 50 of the men whose pictures were illegally posted were offered $100,000 modeling contracts. This wasn't revenge porn, it was LinkedIn, but with nudie pix! He ends with:

Again, I express my regret to, and support for, anyone who was/is affected by “Revenge Porn” and I would like to help in preventing the further spread of “Revenge Porn”, “Shame Porn, “Revenge Media”, and “Shame Media”. If you have been affected by these things, you are not alone. I love you all and wish only the best for everyone. I do not want to be the person I was in 2013. I am a different person now. Please, help me to choose the right path.

Ohh, got it, Craig Brittain loves everyone and is just a Different Person looking for the Right Path. That is so, ugh, we can't even. The excellent libertariany (but funny!) lawblog PopeHat has researched Brittain's operation extensively, and they point out that:

Many people will find the terms of the settlement very unsatisfying. Craig admits no guilt. He doesn't go to jail. He doesn't pay any money. He does promise not to post nude pictures without the subjects' consent, and not to make misrepresentations about posting pictures online. He does have to destroy all the pictures and identity information he got while running the site. He also has to inform any employees or agents working with him on any web enterprise about the order. If he does anything else web-related, he has to turn over to the FTC at their demand a wide variety of information (privacy and consent policies, complaints, etc.) about the business. He has to tell the FTC for the next 10 years if he changes jobs, so they can watch what he's doing. And the terms of the order last 20 years.

So no jail, no fine, no online privacy, limited employment prospects, no more nude pix, some imposed shame that Google won't even help him hide :( .

And the FTC will be up in his grill for 20 years. Meh, but okay, better than nothing. So, now that he has a ton of free time and no one will probably ever hire him again, he has apparently decided to try to join GamerGate.

Craig Brittain sounds like the sorriest, most pathetic loser in the history of the internet, and now we are taking a bleach shower.

[ArsTechnica/PopeHat]

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