UK & World News

  • 12 December 2013, 2:42

Revenge Porn: Man Charged With Extortion

A man has been charged with running a "revenge porn" website where he hosted more than 10,000 explicit photos - and then charged victims hundreds of dollars to have them removed.

Kevin Christopher Bollaert, 27, created ugotposted.com a year ago, and then let users anonymously post images of others without their permission, according to court documents.

Unlike similar sites, investigators said the website required the victim's name, age and other information.

Bollaert allegedly set up a second site - changemyreputation.com - and charged victims a fee ranging from $250 to $350 (214) to remove the images.

He was arrested on 31 felony counts of conspiracy, identity theft and extortion. Both websites have now been taken down.

His activities "turned their public humiliation and betrayal into a commodity with the potential to devastate lives," California Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement.

Bollaert, from San Diego, California, allegedly told investigators during a six-month investigation he received about $900 a month from online advertising.

However, officers said records from his changemyreputation.com PayPal account showed he received tens of thousands of dollars.

Photographs used as so-called revenge porn can be obtained during a consensual relationship, or can be stolen or hacked from online accounts, investigators said.

The practice resulted in a new law in California that makes it an offence to post identifiable nude pictures of someone without their permission and with the intent of causing emotional distress, though that law was not cited in the charges against Bollaert.

Other states, including Maryland, Wisconsin and New York, are considering introducing similar laws.

Some rights groups, like the American Civil Liberties Union, have expressed concern that the legislation conflicts with the First Amendment.

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