FBI arrests alleged NullCrew member, faces maximum of 10 years in jail and $250K fine
FBI arrests alleged NullCrew member, faces maximum of 10 years in jail and $250K fine

Score another first for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), its initial foray into the revenge porn arena has yielded a settlement against the operator of an alleged revenge porn website.

Under the terms of the settlement, Craig Brittain, who runs the isanybodydown[dot]com site, is banned from sharing nude videos or photos of other people unless he first secures their express permission.

In a complaint against Brittain, the FTC claimed he acquired and posted intimate images of women by using deceptive practices. Ads on his site pointed the women to “takedown services,” which would remove the images for a fee. The commission complaint said the web operator procured the images using three different methods.

First, he encouraged people to submit pictures of others, requiring them to submit at least two photos of the subject, “one of which had to be a full or partial nude, as well as the subject's full name, date of birth (or age), town and state, a link to the subject's Facebook profile, and phone number.”

He also posed as a woman on Craigslist and sent other women photos that were supposedly of himself to entice them to send him their own photos that exposed intimate parts, after which Brittain would post them on his website without their permission. The web operator created a bounty system that allowed visitors to request that others track down a specific person and post photos of them for a reward of $100 or more. He charged those “customers” a $20 listing fee per request and collected half of the rewards.

But Brittain's “business practices” didn't stop with soliciting and posting intimate photographs. Instead on his website he ran advertisements for content removal services with names such as “Takedown Hammer” and “Takedown Lawyer,” making it seem if those services were being offered by third parties, when, indeed, they were owned and operated by Brittain himself. 

For a fee of $200 to $500, he would remove the compromising photos from his web site, ultimately pulling in about $12,000 from his schemes. Another site that he operated www.obamanudes[dot]com featured similar content.

The FTC accused Brittain with violating Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act through “unfair practices relating to the posting of photographs and personal information” that could have caused harm. Another count fingers him for making false claims related to solicitation of photographs by intimating the pictures solicited were for his own private use but instead disseminating them through his web site along with personal information.

As part of the FTC settlement, not only is Brittain forbidden from disseminating images without written consent, but he is prohibited from misrepresenting, “through an online service, expressly or by implication, any material fact” regarding his “collection, use, disclosure or deletion of personal information,” his identity and the identity of those advertising or providing content on or through an website or an online service. The settlement prevents him from “disclosing, using, transferring or benefiting from” any personal information he obtained before the FTC's order. He must destroy said information within 30 days from the order taking affect.

Brittain must also keep his business in order to meet the FTC's mandate that he, upon request, turn over information about his business — for instance, how information is collected and used — as well as consent forms and copies of communications with law enforcement, including subpoenas, for the agency to inspect. In addition, he must also distribute a copy of the order “all current and future employees, agents, and representatives having responsibilities relating to the subject matter of this order,” the FTC said, and for ten years “notify the Commission of the discontinuance of his current business or employment, or of his affiliation with any new business or employment.”

To show he meets the terms of the settlement, Brittain must file a report in writing that details how he will comply with the FTC order and ten days after receiving written notice from an FTC representative must turn in “an additional true and accurate written report.”