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06/14/2013

Revenge Porn site dies, but others flourish

It's called "revenge porn" and it's as bad and nasty as it sounds.

You break up with someone and then in a spate of spite, you post  XXX pictures of your ex.

Often with scathing comments. Always with embarassing consequences for the victim, usually the woman.

On The Media, the NPR radio show that has been covering this story, reported that one of the most infamous websites that promoted this kind of online revenge has shut down.

Is Anybody Down was one of the more successful of these sites because it added a powerful tweak: it linked the nude pictures to the target's Facebook or Twitter accounts, thus making it much more likely than someone Googling you would  stumble upon pictures you'd rather not have anyone see.

In a hard-hitting if controversial interview which is worth a listen, the NPR program skewered webist owner Craig Brittain.

Brittain, who boasted he had pictures of over 700 woman on his site, was facing legal action from at least one group of outraged victims in Colorado and investigations  by law enforcement.

Now Brittain has folded his tent.

"Revenge Porn is over," Brittain said in his Twitter feed last month. " I won't be making any more of them. The content is gone. I'm doing the right thing now."

Still, revenge porn flourishes elsewhere on the web. (And no, we are not going to list those sites.)

But also flourishing is revenge against the revenge sites.

NPR reported that "Florida and California are considering bills that would make it a crime to post a nude picture online without the subject's consent."

And a woman in the state of Florida filed charges against her ex-boyfriend and four websites for posting revenge images of her.

A fanous New Yorker cartoon once had two dogs in front of a computer, commenting that on the Internet no one knows you're a dog.

But that has not stopped some humans from behaving like animals.

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Julian Sher is a foreign affairs and investigative reporter for the Star and can be reached at jsher@thestar.ca and on Twitter @juliansher. 

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