Revenge to be dealt against porn site owner

Revenge to be dealt against porn site owner

A man accused of running a “Revenge Porn” website and extorting money from victims has been arrested today, said California Attorney General Kamala Harris. 27-year-old Kevin Christopher Bollaert is said to have posted over 10,000 explicit photos and demanded up to $350 each from his victims to remove them.

Revenge Porn is a growing problem, stemming from the concurrence of digital photography and mass internet connectivity. The situation usually arises when relationships end badly and one of the parties has possession of nude or otherwise explicit photos or their ex. To inflict pain or revenge on their former spouse or lover, they may share those photos, or even videos, with others through emails, text messaging, or by posting them to a website. The damage is usually intended to be embarrassment or to their reputation, but the practice has grown to now include unscrupulous sites that demand money to have them removed, adding financial damage to the already attacked victim.

According to court documents, Bollaert entered into this arena a year ago, in December 2012, perhaps modeling his “business” after revenge porn pioneer Hunter Moore, who ran a site called “Is Anyone Up?” which posted user submitted photos with personal information and links to social media sites. His business made revenue from advertising however, and even still, he shut it down after facing numerous lawsuits, an FBI investigation, and even a stabbing attack from a victim. Bollaert may have also taken ideas from sites like Mugshots.com or UnpublishArrest.com, which charge fees to remove arrest photos and records from their websites – up to $400 for a single picture removal. However, those sites publish material that is in the public record, not photos intended to be private. In fact, copyright law is often helpful in taking action against revenge porn activities, as the photos are most often taken by the victims themselves, who have obviously not granted permission for their republishing.*

Bolleart created two companion sites – ugotposted.com and changemyreputation.com. (Both are now defunct.) According to Bollaert’s trademark application on Trademarkia.com from September 2012, his business is “Computer services, namely, creating an on-line community for users to upload and comment on various types of media and engage in social networking in the fields of videos and photography”. However, the site actually engaged in anonymous public posting of private photographs of individuals in nude or explicit poses without the person’s permission. His site actually required posted photos to include the subject’s name, location, age, and Facebook profile link, but no information at all about the supplier of the pictures. In fact, even on the Trademarkia site, someone posted the message “To whom this may concern: My name is Shelly [redacted] and I am 17 years old, I’m not too sure how this happened and I’m really furious about it, can you please help me to get rid of the photos that have been posted on the website You got Posted. I am under the age of Eighteen years old and I do not have any valid identification because I do not have a licence. I must have got hacked or something through facebook and these photos must come off. If not, I’ll be forced to get my Dad and his lawyers involved. I do not want to have to show these photos to anyone else, but if I have to, I will! Please get back to me as soon as possible! Thank You”

Though no response to that comment was posted, Bolleart had a ready solution to people upset about the pictures, and that is where changemyreputation.com came in. If someone complained to ugotposted, they would receive an email from a changemyreputation.com account explaining how to use PayPal to submit a fee, from $299.00 to $350.00, to arrange removal of the offending photo. The San Diego based company was said to have made about $900 per month in advertising, according to a statement Bollaert made to investigators, along with tens of thousands accrued from removal requests, according to PayPal records obtained by the DA’s office.

Today’s arrest comes after a six month investigation by the Attorney General’s eCrime unit, a group formed in 2011 to prosecute identity theft, cyber crime, and other technology based criminal activity. However, legal action against Bollaert and his partners has been ongoing since early this year. Lawsuits have been filed against Bollaert and his company called “Blue Mist Media LLC”, along with his listed partner Eric Chanson of New Jersey.

In fact, on August 24 of 2013, Eric Chanson submitted a letter to the presiding judge making a number of claims and statements regarding the lawsuit against him. First he states that the Ugotposted site had “zero tolerance towards child pornography”. He stated that it was only he and Bollaert who were the sole operators. He goes on to state that a James McGibney wanted to buy the site, and two others made threats against him if he did not agree to sell it. He stated that Marco Randazza threatened to sue him and ruin his family, made threats over the phone to him and his mother.

31 Counts have been filed against Bollaert in California for posting 10,170 private photographs without permission, and without removing them when requested, identity theft, obtaining personal information to harrass and annoy or to obtain credit, goods services and money without consent, and extortion. Attorney General Harris stated that “This website published intimate photos of unsuspecting victims and turned their public humiliation and betrayal into a commodity with the potential to devastate lives. Online predators that profit from the extortion of private photos will be investigated and prosecuted for this reprehensible and illegal internet activity.”

Anyone who feels that he or she may have been a victim of ugotposted or other revenge porn sites may file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office. Bollaert is being held at San Diego County jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Read More:

Business Insider: Alleged ‘Revenge Porn’ Operator Arrested, Accused Of Extorting Women

Adam Steinbaugh’s Blog About Law and Technology

Update: On April 3, 2015, Attorney General Kamala Harris announced that Kevin Bollaert was sentenced to 18 years in prison after being found guilty on six counts of extortion and 21 counts of identity theft. She stated that “Today’s sentence makes clear there will be severe consequences for those that profit from the exploitation of victims online. Sitting behind a computer, committing what is essentially a cowardly and criminal act will not shield predators from the law or jail. We will continue to be vigilant and investigate and prosecute those who commit these deplorable acts.”

*Note – United Reporting, which publishes CrimeVoice, publishes arrest news on several websites. It does not charge people to remove names from their sites, such as LocalCrimeNews.com, but does so as a courtesy per request.

 

 

Revenge to be dealt against porn site owner was last modified: April 7th, 2015 by admin
Categories: California, San Diego

Comments

  1. JB Smith
    JB Smith 11 December, 2013, 10:41

    The Virginia State Police operate their own porn site. The site is subtitled “bare naked justice”. They post nude surveillance pictures of innocent Virginia citizens. How do I know? They put a bumper sticker on my Miata with advertising the site. I went to the site and saw nude pictures taken of me in my home without my knowledge an consent. The black female state trooper that lives in my neighborhood called me and said there is nothing you can do, nowhere you can go. They routine break into my home and steal tens of thousands of dollars in software, computers, jewelry, cash, power tools, small appliances, food, clothes, anything they want. My state attorney general says he doesn’t care! Neither do the local prosecuting attorneys. I saw them exit my home with a key. I reported the locksmiths to the VA DCJS and received a letter in the mail from K. R. that my problem wasn’t with the locksmiths, it’s with law enforcement. What happened to getting a warrant? The blonde trooper’s license plate number is 8675US. I didn’t get the uniformed Hampton Officer’s. Wish we had officials with integrity and respect for the law in Virginia.

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