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Revenge Porn Was Legal When 'The Most Hated Man On The Internet' Got Started. But Things Have Changed

When Hunter Moore started his revenge porn site — seen on Netlfix's new docuseries "The Most Hated Man on the Internet" — there were no laws in place to protect the people he victimized. That's no longer the case.

Hunter Moore featured in Most Hated Man On The Internet

When Hunter Moore unabashedly ran the once-popular revenge porn site IsAnyoneUp.com, there were no laws in place to protect the individuals whose intimate pictures were posted against their consent on his website.

The site which was in operation from 2010 to 2012 and is explored in Netflix’s new docuseries “The Most Hated Man on the Internet” – encouraged people to anonymously upload naked or pornographic photos of other people, and many users uploaded images of their exes as a kind of revenge. Adding to the humiliation, the victims' social media pages were also linked out to from the site.

Moore eventually got into legal trouble, but not for posting images against people’s consent: He was arrested in 2014 after an FBI investigation revealed that he bought many of the images from a hacker, who had illegally stolen nudes from victims’ computers. He pleaded guilty one year later to felony charges for aggravated identity theft and aiding and abetting in the unauthorized access of a computer, Newsweek reports, and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. He was released in 2017 and his supervised probation ended last year.

Charles Evans, the hacker who admitted to stealing hundreds of images of women, pleaded guilty to charges of computer hacking and identity theft and was sentenced to two years behind bars.

Charlotte Laws, whose daughter was one of the victims, is hoping that the docuseries will help "push Congress" into making revenge porn a federal crime, according to Newsweek

As the docuseries points out, to make posting intimate photos of other people without their consent a crime has been a laborious task, but there’s been a lot of progress.

By 2020, 42 states had some form of protection for victims of revenge porn. After Massachusetts passed its law in May, 49 states now have laws against nonconsensual pornography, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. The only state to not have a revenge porn law is South Carolina, though there have been efforts to pass one there, too.

While 49 states have laws in place, the details of the laws vary by state. For example, someone who violates California's revenge porn law would receive a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge and could spend up to six months in jail if it’s a first offense; a second offense would also mean a misdemeanor charge and up to a year behind bars. In New Hampshire and Illinois though, revenge porn is a felony — even a first offense.

Numerous activists and victims and revenge porn — including the subjects in the docuseries — are hoping that a federal criminal statute will be put in place to further protect people from having their non-consensual images posted online or distributed.

Meanwhile, Congress authorized a relevant federal civil claim earlier this year, as part of its reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Scheduled to become effective in October, the new statute “marks the first federal law targeting the unauthorized dissemination of private, intimate images of both adults and children — images commonly referred to as ‘nonconsensual pornography’ or ‘revenge porn,'" the Congressional Research Service explained.

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