Revenge Porn Site Opperator Arrested in California, Kamala Harris Announces

Ding, dong, another evil revenge porn website is dead. California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced this week that the owner of the revenge porn website ugotposted.com has been arrested. Twenty-seven year old Kevin Bollaert was charged with 31 felony counts, including conspiracy, identity theft, and extortion. Using the ugotposted.com website, Bollaert allegedly ran an elaborate extortion scheme in which he set up another site, changemyreputation.com, to charge victims of revenge porn to get their photos taken down. A second man, Eric Chanson, hasn't been active with the site since he designed it, according to prosecutors.

The photos posted to the site were sometimes submitted by former lovers who took the pictures, or had received them as sexts. At other times, the photos were obtained by hackers who got them from the private computers of the victims. (Meaning, they had never shared the naked photos in the first place.) All in all, ugotposted.com had about 10,170 posts put up from Dec. 2012 to Sept. 2013, many of them linked to a woman's full name and phone number. Victims say they got phone calls at all hours of the day from strange men.

"This website published intimate photos of unsuspecting victims and turned their public humiliation and betrayal into a commodity with the potential to devastate lives," Harris, the attorney general, said in a statement. "Online predators that profit from the extortion of private photos will be investigated and prosecuted for this reprehensible and illegal Internet activity." Bollaert is being held on $50,000 bail.

The case is taking place in California, one of the few states that has already taken steps to criminalize revenge porn. But critics say the new legislation doesn't go far enough. As Bustle reported:

It makes it a misdemeanor offense to post revenge porn only if a prosecutor shows that the poster intended to inflict emotional distress, rather than treating the act of posting a sexual photo without consent as an objectively harmful invasion of privacy. And the punishment wouldn't apply if the subject of the photo took the picture herself, which means it wouldn't help people whose exes persuaded them to hand over photos as a sign of trust.

In Brazil, a minor killed herself after a video of her having sex was posted on one such website. But most states and countries have yet to adopt legislation to protect against revenge porn.

Bollaert's scheme was particularly vile because of his back-door money-making operation. What he was doing was essentially holding women hostage until they ponied up money. If mug shot extortion schemes are questionably legal, than doing so for revenge porn, some of it stolen from a victim's own computer and none of it in the public record, must be doubly so. And besides, even if Bollaert took photos down from his website, something that goes online never truly disappears. He was extorting women for a temporary fix.