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Quotes from Dutch Authorities Seize Revenge Porn Site Anon-IB, Arrest Three Men

Dutch police force Politie has seized the anonymous message board Anon-IB, a major hub of revenge porn and harassment campaigns with servers based in the Netherlands, and charged three men with “computer intrusion and spreading nude photos,” according to CNET.

So the operators of this site were charged and will be jailed. Is it possible to charge the end users?

  • user comments on pictures and videos
  • user reposts pictures and videos found in public internet
  • user posts and views no underage girls
  • no harassment is done by user
  • no original content is posted

As pointed out by security company Sophos, Anon-IB had a reputation as a place where web users could go to find people willing to help them target women for humiliation via revenge porn. It had sections devoted to non-consensual pornography including “Creepshots,” “Drunk/Passed Out,” and “Peeping Toms.”

is the user criminal if reuploads (not producing) non-consensual pornography?

  • reposts a hidden camera video found in internet
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    It depends on jurstictions, but in Norway, just reposting or otherwise distributing such materials violate the data subjects personality rights, which is a criminal offence.Just receiving such materials is not punishable. – Free Radical May 26 '18 at 14:04
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I have a fairly unusual view on this issue. I worked for an Internet company that not only dealt with User Generated Content on our own servers, but also browsed the web looking at other sites quite a lot. This gives me an odd perspective.

There is a US law called 18 USC 2257, and I fully expect Europe has similar laws. It requires any porn provider who shows people with genitals displayed in a suggestive manner to

  • obtain informed-consent, in writing.
  • obtain in advance certain specific documents to confirm legal age (you can thank Traci Lords for that) and make good copies of them
  • retain these documents on file.
  • Keep these files in an office which is staffed Monday-Friday 9-5, effectively so Feds can walk into that office anytime and inspect the records.

The record-keeping requirements were originally thought to be the government harassing the porn industry, since it had a long history of doing so. However in actuality, the porn industry was developing a very professional and cordial relationship with the Attorney General's office. The process got smoothed out: the "staffed office" requirement could be subcontracted to third party companies, so it became like a Registered Agent, something every company must have.

As Internet porn took off, they worked out ways for Site X to license content from Provider Y, and have the 2257 stuff work smoothly. Federal prosecution for porn had fallen to almost nil. Even amateur producers were entering the scene and not having any trouble with compliance.

Enter revenge porn

Now you can see, under the 2257 legal framework, revenge porn is impossible because it does absolutely none of this stuff. It tossed the "known rules" and the working relationship right out the window.

I expected revenge porn to end with door kickdowns and 2257 prosecutions, but it never happened. I suspect the Attorney General's office is a heavy "ship of state", and it is unable to make a "snap turn" from the cordial relationship with the porn industry, and feared damaging the relationship while the EFF screams about the bad old days.

However, 2257 is still on the books, and still binds anyone who publishes porn.

The casual publisher

The Internet has created a real problem for the old model of "all porn coming from companies with lawyers and 2257 offices". Is it reasonable to hold a 16 year old boy with a smartphone to the 2257 laws? If you never meant to publish, but someone hacked your phone, who's responsible? That's for the courts to decide, but yeah, my intuition is that courts will seek to find an original publisher of a work, i.e. the guy/gal who turned it from a private document into "one that is loose on the Internet". So to answer your question, it's not on the producer, it's on the publisher. If you re-post porn that you "found somewhere", then you're the publisher, unless you can document a prior source.

But then, there are the child porn laws. Mere possession of any pornographic photo of someone under 18 is an essentially automatic lifetime branding as a sex offender in the US, and most likely, a trip to prison. Publication is a confession to possession. On the other hand, the person actually being 18 is an absolute defense; the 2257 law doesn't apply to mere possession. Europe may be more lax, it's difficult to imagine them being more draconian.

And then, you have all the common law that comes from the basic sexual assault that it is to publish someone's sexy pics without permission. And both state attorneys (criminally), and victims' attorneys (civilly), have a variety of legal approaches to go after you, if they want to. I can't guess at the risk of this happening over a random posting on the Internet, but it is certainly all downside risk, and no measurable benefit for you. So why do it?

Also, it's a completely horrible and evil thing to do. There's plenty of mainstream, consensual porn that you can infringe copyright on, and that won't ever be more than a civil matter.

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