Hunter Moore gets 2.5 years for 'revenge porn' hacking

The 'King of Revenge Porn' and 'professional life ruiner' has been handed a 2.5 year sentence for hacking into computers to steal naked pictures.

Moore, with Charlie Evens hacked into private computers to steal naked pictures.
Moore, with Charlie Evens hacked into private computers to steal naked pictures.

Scourge of the internet and peeping tom Hunter Moore has been locked up. The so-called ‘revenge porn king' was given a two and a half year sentence recently after pleading guilty to computer hacking and aggravated identity theft in February

Revenge porn' is the act of publishing intimate photos on public forums and social media sites without the subject's consent, with the intent of publicly humiliating those featured in them. Moore set up IsAnyoneUp.com in 2010 after what Moore described in less forgiving terms as a particularly painful break up. The site was immensely popular, attracting 30 million hits a month and more than £6,000 a month from ad revenue.

Sometimes describing himself as a ‘professional life ruiner', Moore would post pictures of naked women and men on the site. Some of these would come from vengeful ex boyfriends and girlfriends, hence ‘revenge porn', and others pictures, some say up to 40 percent, would be literally stolen from private computers, with the aid of sidekick, Charlie Evens.

At the time of their arrest The FBI released a statement explaining their crimes: “Moore allegedly instructed Evens to gain unauthorised access to – in other words, to hack into – victims' e-mail accounts. Moore sent payments to Evens in exchange for nude photos obtained unlawfully from the victims' accounts. Moore then posted the illegally obtained photos on his website, without the victims' consent. The indictment alleges that Evens hacked into email accounts belonging to hundreds of victims.”

Evens was 23 when he was hired by Moore. He told CNN Money earlier in the year that he met Moore after hacking him, he then promised to pay him to do the same on unsuspecting girls, which he did for about four months largely using social engineering hacks. He also told CNN that through much of his time with Moore, he felt disconnected from the actual harm he was doing: “It doesn't feel real, when I'm in my room, lights off, door locked, drinking ... you don't feel the consequences. And then I'd go straight out and party with friends and try not to think about it.”

Not only were these photos posted without the permission of their owners but often contact details would be posted along with those photos as well as links back to their social media accounts. The victims of Moore and stars of IsAnyoneUp.com regularly reported being harassed, shunned from social groups, threatened with firing and along with the expected emotional stress, stalked. Moore's behaviour clearly did not come without repercussions, as his recent sentencing proves. But aside from that expected legal threat, Moore was also stabbed with a pen by one woman who had been unfortunate enough to have her photo posted on his website.

Moore sold the site in 2012, claiming he no longer had the energy to manage the site which was so regularly the target of legal threats and subject to several embarrassing moments where images of children as young as nine were posted.

Moore undoubtedly caused widespread shame, embarrassment and material damage to people's lives but he was also attended by throngs of fans who would voluntarily send naked photos of themselves to Moore and called themselves in classic california-cult style ‘#thefamily'

While Moore was assaulted with plenty of legal threats he was apparently protected by section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects the owners of websites from facing the legal consequences of content posted by that sites users.

In 2013, California's state legislature criminalised ‘revenge porn', at which point Hunter took to the internet to claim that laws like this were serious infringements upon “people's rights and freedoms”. This new law however, did not stop Moore. The law that was passed only applied to those who both took the photos in confidence and then distribute them. Moore only distributed the photos and thus escaped the clutches of California state law.

All the while, Moore claimed that he was merely a businessman taking advantage of people who had already surrendered their sense of modesty by sending compromising photos of themselves to then-loved ones. This argument may have had some weight, however objectionable, if Moore had not actively conspired to hack into people's computers and steal their nude photos, with Evens.

Moore was arrested along with Evens at the beginning of 2014 by the FBI who charged both of them with conspiracy as well as seven counts of unauthorised access to a protected computer to obtain information and seven counts of aggravated identity theft. Moore has been sentenced to two and a half years followed by three years of supervised release a fine of £1,300. Evens was sentenced to two years and one month.

Revenge porn was legislated against in the UK in Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 which hands down sentences of up to two years for distributing a private sexual image of someone without consent and with the intention of causing them distress.  There have been several notable cases of its use since it came into law in February this year, the youngest of which was a 17 year old who distributed indecent photos of a 14 year old girl. Other reports have said that victims of revenge porn have been as young as 12. As of October this year, there have been 200 reported cases of revenge Porn, most of which involved pictures of women distributed by their ex-boyfriends.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Women's Aid spoke to SCMagazineUK.com, saying that: “We are really pleased that revenge pornography has been made a criminal offence in England and Wales”. She added that: “We know that for a lot of women they have problems when their photos have been uploaded to websites that are not within the UK and they have found it difficult to get them take down or have had to pay to have them removed. It would be helpful for our Government to review how they can tackle revenge porn websites that are outside the UK jurisdiction.”

Folami Prehaye founded  the website Victims of Internet Crime, after her experience with revenge porn to share her story and empower others to speak up. Prehaye has been following Moore for a while and says that in the UK, “We have many sites that sexualise and sensationalise naked pictures of innocent people and many have been victims of revenge porn and have not given consent for them to be shared publicly.”

While most of the sites she asked to take down photos of her consented, “There were a few porn sites that refused to remove my photos even after many occasions of sending emails with my crime reference and information on the sentencing of my perpetrator. There seems to be easy access for people who want to publicly humiliate and embarrass their victims in this way.”

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