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back to article Bloke, 27, cuffed, charged over stolen selfie smut site UGotPosted

A 27-year-old California man has been arrested on multiple felony charges for his alleged involvement with running a so-called revenge porn website. In October, California became the first US state to pass a bill specifically outlawing the practice of posting nude photos of people without their permission. But the language of …

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Pint

I wonder about the charges

"dedicated to posting compromising photos that Boellart obtained without the subjects' permission."

You mean like the tabloids? Just ask Kristen Stewart about compromising photos that she didn't give permission for. I see a First Amendment fight at least on some of the charges.

Beer because one of the photographs was in a bar.

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Re: I wonder about the charges

Read the rest of the story.

I too was a bit doubtful at first that this was worthy of criminal charges, but if everything the authorities claim is true, he went quite a bit beyond publishing compromising photos, into territory that can only be called blackmail,

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Anonymous Coward

If

You don't want to feature, don't take the photographs, it's not as though you don't know what could happen is it?

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Re: If

Why are you blaming the victim AC?

If it was your pictures up there of you in the buff, along with your personal contact information would you still have the same attitude? Do you think that the site owner was right to charge extortionate amounts of money to maybe take them down?

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Re: If

And why assume the victims agreed to have the photos taken? I'm sure some did, but there's been plenty of news lately of bastards using hidden cameras and hacking webcams to get compromising photos without the target's knowledge.

But, regardless, if you really think you've got a good point, why post anonymously? Worried we might see who's responsible for such top-notch ethical reasoning?

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Re: I wonder about the charges

" I see a First Amendment fight at least on some of the charges."

I don't.

Free Speech doesn't extend to extortion and blackmail.

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Re: I wonder about the charges

quote: "Free Speech doesn't extend to extortion and blackmail."

But it apparently does extend to putting incriminating photos of people in the public eye without the subjects permission and charging for the privilege, see tabloid newspapers and any (female) celeb who has sunbathed topless, including Kate Windsor (née Middleton).

I'm fine with him doing time for the extortion and blackmail, but charging him with a "crime" committed by tabloid newspapers the world over is a little galling. Simply hosting them and profiting from advertising revenue is functionally so similar to printing them and charging a modest fee for the newspaper, that I'd aquit him of that one charge were I on the jury.

I'm not saying it is right, I am saying that if we all agree it is wrong then we need to ensure that the media are charged and prosecuted for it. Like tax avoidance, if something is perfectly legal then you lose the right to complain about someone doing it, you need to campaign to get the law changed to make it illegal ;)

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Re: If

NIce Black and White world you live in there. Sadly, the one the rest of us inhabit is actually different shades.

People in relationships will always take these kinds of photographs. They have been doing so for a long time. Admittedly, it would have been a little difficult to take a photo when you are in action when photography was new and you had to stay in the same position for 15 minutes to get a clear photo, but I suspect people found a way around that too.

Photos are, in a way, memories. It's reasonable to assume that a couple might want to have reminders of some of their more passionate times.

Regardless of the reason the photos were taken, IMO, the people begin photographed have a right to determine who is going to see it. If they want photos of them dangling from the light fitting over a dildo the size of a man's leg to be published, they have that right. Similarly if they want to take a photo of themselves naked for their other half and just want him or her to see it, they have the right to decide that as well.

I had a work colleague. He was going out with an absolutely stunning woman who worked in another department in the same company as both of us. His actions when they broke up? To set up a website (he ran his own web hosting firm part time, so had a free server he could use) containing photos of said stunning woman in various poses, but usually with her legs around her neck and wearing only a rather weird looking jumper. He then emailed the link to every man he worked with.

I'll be honest, I never realised the impact this sort of thing would have until I saw her the next day. She had previously been a very confident woman, but that confidence had left her. She actually looked visibly deflated and very embarrassed. It took weeks for her to recover her confidence.

He did get his though. One of my other colleagues also saw the photos. She noticed that a lot of the website bore a striking resemblance to the website Sony were using to provide support for their Viao laptops. A couple of phone calls and a few days later, he got a Cease and Desist order from Sony's Lawyers and was bricking himself.

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Re: I wonder about the charges

"I'm fine with him doing time for the extortion and blackmail, but charging him with a "crime" committed by tabloid newspapers the world over is a little galling. Simply hosting them and profiting from advertising revenue is functionally so similar to printing them and charging a modest fee for the newspaper, that I'd aquit him of that one charge were I on the jury."

Yes, but how about we force the media to raise it's bar as regards legality, rather than allowing everyone to get away with what the tabloids do?

And remember: Lots of tabloids pay out quite a lot of money in Settlements out of court. So they don't quite get away entirely scott-free.

That said, the bastards still deserve to be physically beaten every time they ruin someone's life or career with a BS story.

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Anonymous Coward

What an absolute shitbag (should it prove to be true.)

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Anonymous Coward

He's just providing a service, if there wasn't demand for it he wouldn't make money out of it would he?

Bit like Yogurt, if no one ate it, it wouldn't be on the shelves.

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Saville row

You could use the same argument for running a paedo site. "He's only providing a service. If there wasn't a demand for pictures of naked kids he wouldn't make any money"

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Wrong in so many ways. I can't tell if this is just misogyny or outpouring from an array of unrealised sociopaths. I'm serious - go see a psychiatrist of you can't understand why this website was so utterly denigrating and devastating to it's victims.

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Anonymous Coward

Sigh... You can make that argument about any crime that someone chooses to pay for.

Want someone beaten up? There's a guy at this pub I know, but it's ok because you're paying him and he wouldn't do it, if there wasn't demand for it.

Oh and nothing like yoghurt, because that's a foodstuff, we need foodstuffs to live, it's also a way of preserving milk and has historically been fairly essential to life in north Africa.

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"He's just providing a service, if there wasn't demand for it he wouldn't make money out of it would he?"

Now try extending that logic to hitmen and seeing if it sounds like a valid defence.

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"He's just providing a service"

I cannot begin to get my head around this comment. Seriously? He was publishing naked photos of people without their permission, then contacting them and offering to provide the service of not also publishing their name, address, and phone number?

I provided you with the service of not burning your house down yesterday. First one was a freebie, but give me a grand and I'll do it again. What a bargain: having your house not burnt down twice!

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Thumb Up

Re: "He's just providing a service"

"I provided you with the service of not burning your house down yesterday. First one was a freebie, but give me a grand and I'll do it again. What a bargain: having your house not burnt down twice!"

That sounds suspiciously like an Inn-sewer-ants polly-sea....

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Nasty Blackmail

If indeed he is running changemyreputation then get used to prison food for a long time Mr Boellart.

The moral of the whole story is if you don't want to be highly embarrassed then don't have saucy pics taken of yourself and certainly don't be stupid enough to store them on Facebook.

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M7S
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Re: Nasty Blackmail @ rm -rf/

"The moral of the whole story is if you don't want to be highly embarrassed then don't have saucy pics taken of yourself and certainly don't be stupid enough to store them on Facebook."

That's a bit harsh. People take photos. People expect privacy, possibly based on what IT companies tell them. Sometimes people put the photos where they can be accessed by a wider audience than intended, and sometimes flaws are found in the configuration/settings of the software or they are (as appears to be the case here) victims of a crime which may include having their accounts compromised. We (as an industry) constantly bitch about all the security holes that get found in software we (as an industry) sell so how are the punters expected to have better security?

It's a bit like saying that if a burglar breaks into your garage, if you've a canister of petrol stored inside and s/he uses it to commit arson and burn down your property, that it's your fault.

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WTF?

Re: M7S Re: Nasty Blackmail @ rm -rf/

".....It's a bit like saying that if a burglar breaks into your garage....." Yes and no. Think of it more like when people advise you not too leave your car parked with valuables such as a mobile phone left inside and in view. Yes, it is still a crime for the thief to smash your car window and steal your phone, but it is COMMON SENSE to follow the advice and not leave your valuables on display. Prevention is often simply a better idea. Similarly, it is definitely a crime for using unauthorised access to someone's online estate to pinch their sexting pics, but surely it's common sense not to leave such pics in a place a hacker could get to them? I have no sympathy for people that get convicted for running such sites, but my sympathy for the victims is tempered a bit by the thought they were fudging stupid to have such pics in the first place.

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Re: Nasty Blackmail @M7S

I know it sounds harsh but so is life.

If you went surfing around the internet using a windows machine without updating Java ,flash etc and had no antivirus then just about every commentard on The Reg would call you foolish and reckless. As for a burgler getting into your garage then you need to think do I have good enough locks and maybe I should put a PIR in there and connect it up to the alarm. In a ideal world there are no bad people but unfortunately life isn't like that and you learn as you get older to avoid exposure to risk. It's still a jungle out there, just a human one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nasty Blackmail

No, that is not the moral of the story. The lesson from the story is don't form a relationship with and trust scumbags who will post images of you on a web site because of their poor self control and desire for revenge if you break up with them. Except it's not that easy is it, when you're in love you can't see when the person you love is manipulating you or if they're likely to behave in this manner when you split up.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nasty Blackmail @M7S

How do you always make this come round to Windows or MS? Seriously change the record and make sure that the next record isn't on the Eadon label.

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Facepalm

Re: Nasty Blackmail @AC 11.01

As Douglas Adams said:

"Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.

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Re: Nasty Blackmail @paranoid ac11.03

Windows happens to be the most widely used, most familiar and the most attacked OS. I could have said VAX VMS but WhoTF has seen it bar a few old handers here ?

Take some Olanzapine for your paranoia.

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Re: Nasty Blackmail @M7S

"I know it sounds harsh but so is life."

Laws are there to protect the gullible and foolish, as well as the sensible and well informed.

Blaming the victim is frankly arrogant and stupid bullshit.

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Re: Nasty Blackmail @paranoid ac11.03

Oi! Less of the old timers you snot nosed little shit.

I spent many an hour using VAX VMS at uni (back when degrees didn't pop out of your cereal box) and I'm still under 40. Just because someone has been doing a thing since you were sucking on mommys tit does not make them an old timer.

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Re: Nasty Blackmail

> if you don't want to be highly embarrassed then don't have saucy pics taken of yourself

Don't want to get mugged, don't own a mobile phone or ever carry money or credit cards with you anywhere. Don't want to be burgled, don't live in a nice house. Don't want to be a victim of clinical malpractice, don't get ill. Don't want to be a victim of fraud, never buy anything. Don't want to be raped, don't dress nice. Don't want to be murdered, don't live.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nasty Blackmail @paranoid ac11.03

Err, what paranoia? A simple look at your commenting history reveals you to have a bit of an obsession when it comes to commenting about MS, their software or anyone associated with them.

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Re: Nasty Blackmail @ rm -rf/

"That's a bit harsh. People take photos. People expect privacy, possibly based on what IT companies tell them. "

Yes it's harsh, but privacy on the net is a lie. That genie has long escape the bottle and no matter how much we try to shove it back in the bottle (I'm one of the people trying), it will never fully return.

The Internet MUST be treated as hostile to privacy - but we the same time shitbags like this need to be stomped into a bloody jelly on the sidewalk, or the problem will get much _much_ worse.

I'm not trying to blame victims here. People do stupid things all the time and mostly don't deserve to have their faces rubbed in it. What the blackmail victims are mostly guilty of, is falling for the lies peddled by outfits like Facebook, etc that they _do_ have privacy, should they entrust their data to any third party.

"We" really need ot make sure that people are aware that there's no such thing as privacy on the net, despite what hudnreds of companies say - and that people should be aware that most of those companies have a vested interest in breaching your provacy without you being aware of it, if only to sell you targetted advertising.

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Re: Nasty Blackmail @ rm -rf/ @ Alan Brown

I don't by that BS anymore. Yes the internet is a hostile environment with loads of shit heads and assholes with nothing better to do that degrade their fellow humans. It also has civil and honest people who give a shit. Congrates the internet is a digital society.

These women didn't post on the site. Even if they took the photographs that doesn't give assholes the right to post it on the web and take it a step further by posting the details on top of the backmailL.

You're blaming the victims by even using the internet as an excuse for this. Just don't Privacy is social construct one that can just as easily be applied to the internet. If you have a reasonable expectation of privacy in your home, you should also be allowed to have it for site trying to protect your data. You don't change that fact because the method for peaking on someone is less risky.

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Re: Nasty Blackmail

"The moral of the whole story is if you don't want to be highly embarrassed then don't have saucy pics taken of yourself and certainly don't be stupid enough to store them on Facebook."

If only life were that easy..

Now, imagine you are in a loving relationship (I have no idea if you are or not). During a bit of sex one night, your loved one suggests you take some photos of each other. You know, just to capture the moment and as a little pick me up in the future. The photos are taken, and you carry on with the business at hand. A year later, the relationship breaks up and you find out that your now ex is not quite the person you thought. They publish the photos to a revenge site. People see them, and some get in touch with you. How would you feel? You allowed the photos in good faith, but placed your faith in the wrong person (which is easy to do). Should you be punished for that?

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Re: M7S Nasty Blackmail @ rm -rf/

"but it is COMMON SENSE to follow the advice and not leave your valuables on display."

And the penalty for that is the inconvenience of losing them and making an insurance claim. The penalty should not be that the criminal is removed of any responsibility for the crime.

Justice should protect stupid people just as much as it should smart people.

"I have no sympathy for people that get convicted for running such sites, but my sympathy for the victims is tempered a bit by the thought they were fudging stupid to have such pics in the first place."

So you have no sympathy for people who get divorced and get shafted in the courts either, for financially exposing themselves to such a risk? Because they - like people with nudey pics - didn't think the person they were in a relationship with and cared about was going to screw them over as much as possible, either.

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Re: Nasty Blackmail @ Squander Two

Don't want to get mugged - don't go waving an iphone about in in downtown Jo'berg at 3.00am

Don't want to get burgled - don't go on holiday with all your windows and doors left open.

Don't want to be a victim of fraud - If it sounds too good to be true then it is.

Don't want to get run over - look the both ways when you cross the road.

Don't want to get lung cancer - don't smoke

Don't want to die from a drugs overdose - don't do drugs

Don't want to end up front page News of The World - don't go to spanking parlours

Don't want to appear all over the internet naked - then don't listen to your first or second boyfriend who tells you a lot of crap about how great you look and how he would like some naked photos of you on his phone. He then promptly goes round showing them to all his mates in the pub and when you dump him for his best mate, it's whoopsy daisy.

Shit happens - you spend your entire life trying to dodge the bullet hoping it's not going to happen to you. It's called risk reduction.

I have a ten year old daughter and I make damn sure she knows about stranger danger, bad men and how to cross the road properly.

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Re: Nasty Blackmail @ Squander Two

See, all your examples are simply displaying your underlying assumption that the victim is to blame. But you don't know that. You haven't seen all the photos and you don't know where they're from. You just assume that they must be exclusively of stupid people who had it coming. The evidence in cases like these is against you.

> Don't want to get mugged - don't go waving an iphone about in in downtown Jo'berg at 3.00am

Or, as happened to a friend of mine recently, don't take the wallet containing your Oyster Card out of your pocket when entering the Tube, like tens of thousands of people do every day.

> Don't want to get burgled - don't go on holiday with all your windows and doors left open.

Except, since the widespread use of burglar alarms, home invasions have become extremely popular with criminals: much easier to just beat the residents up when they're in than have to deal with an alarm. So this could as well be "Never answer the door."

> Don't want to be a victim of fraud - If it sounds too good to be true then it is.

Well, that covers a small number of fraudsters, sure, but most of them simply operate fake companies selling apparently legit goods and services at normal prices. For instance, there was that second-hand car dealer in the US who was making a bit of extra profit by reconditioning airbags by putting sand in them instead of propellant powder. Until the police caught on to what he was doing -- investigating a number of deaths -- he was a perfectly reputable businessman. All the victims did was buy cars at normal prices.

> Don't want to get run over - look the both ways when you cross the road.

Vehicles mount the pavement all the time. Drivers lose control. People stamp on the wrong pedal. So don't leave the house.

> Don't want to get lung cancer - don't smoke

And don't play the trumpet for a living, like Roy Castle.

> Don't want to die from a drugs overdose - don't do drugs

And don't trust the doctors or nurses who are administering your IV drip.

> Don't want to end up front page News of The World - don't go to spanking parlours

God, don't you watch the news? The trial going on right now? This one should be "Don't leave anyone a private voicemail message."

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Anonymous Coward

"ChangeMyReputation.com, which he would allegedly use to try to charge the victims fees to have their images removed..."

Why not just start up ThrowMeInFuckingJailNow.com while you're at it? Jeez - the guy's a moron in addition to being a slimeball. Congratulations, dude; your mom must be thrilled.

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Can't the victims use the DMCA because if they took the pic, then it's their copyright and can't be reproduced without permission.

I've seen another story in a similar vein today. If Disney can make Youtube take stuff down why can't anyone else use the same tactics? Refusal to comply leaves the guy open to suit for copyright infringement, surely?

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Anonymous Coward

Technically you probably could. But this guy was already engaging in various and sundry crimes; I doubt that he'd suddenly stop and take notice if someone had threatened to add copyright infringement to the pile.

Further, Disney is rather more likely to have a lawyer on staff who can file such requests than Jill Collegegirl, who's not terribly tech literate, unlikely to have spent a lot of time reading about the DMCA in the first place, and is (quite reasonably) scared and upset. So it's a rather less practical option for her.

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WTF?

"at the beginning, it was fun and entertaining..."

What the fuckin' FUCK....?

"at the beginning, it was fun and entertaining..."?

Y'mean, this clown thought public humiliation and extortion was "fun and entertaining"?

Jesus H. Christ on a Segway, man. I hope this motherfucker gets his nuts crushed.

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Anonymous Coward

in this pervs opinion.

Providing a site for others to upload naughty pics they have taken of others, and getting some good ad revenue in the process. Good job. +5 for innovation. +10 for making some cash out of it.

Not providing a easy, even if obscure, way for models/subjects to request a take down. -1

Not requiring some kind of "release all liabilities" upon submission with the accompanying "verify my e-mail address" confirmation. -1

Posting personal contact information not provided by the original submitter. -5

Taking the time to post them somewhere else, without permission. -50

Trying to get cash to take the images down(aka blackmail). -100 + some good jail time.

All in all a good idea for a web site, just bad execution, and poorly thought out. I would have automated the whole thing, upload, takedown, available information, etc., and ran it from some offshore servers. I think I would skip the whole blackmail bit. I think I would honor a properly formatted DMCA takedown notice for free, or through a more obvious link, for a fee equal to the one charged to upload, allow you to takedown without all that hassle.

Hmmm.... off to do some scripting me thinks...

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