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California Unveils Website To Combat Revenge Porn

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The site offers cheat sheets for victims, investigators and tech companies (Photo by PathDoc via Shutterstock)
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California Attorney General Kamala Harris today unveiled a new website that will help victims of cyber exploitation and revenge porn.

Revenge porn is when someone distributes sexually explicit photos or video online without receiving permission from the people in the media with the intention of causing distress or extorting money from them. Often, the victims have little recourse but to deal with the humiliation and other ramifications that can occur from this cruel practice. California was the first state to declare this kind of cyber exploitation illegal in 2013.

The new site, which can be found here, will contain numerous resources for those trying to eradicate revenge porn, either in their own lives or the lives of others.

"Posting intimate images online without consent is a coward crime that humiliates and belittles victims," Harris said, according to City News Service. "These new tools will assist law enforcement in combating cyber exploitation and support victims seeking justice."

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The site contains information for victims as to how they can have photos and video removed from websites and search engines. The FAQ section for victims offers resources about what someone should do if they are a victim of a crime, including getting screenshots of the abuse, setting up search engine alerts to notify you when your name pops up online, and filing a police report. The site also provides information to those in law enforcement as to how to efficiently investigate and prosecute related cases. Additionally, the site gives guidance for tech companies looking to prevent people from posting revenge porn on their websites. Harris noted that companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft have all taken steps or have agreed to change policies in order to deal with these crimes.

Danielle Citron, a law professor and author of Hate Crimes in Cyberspace, said that she spoke with over 50 victims of cyber exploitation and about its devastating effects.

"Victims had a hard time finding employment because their nude images
and contact information appeared prominently in online searches. They were terrified that strangers would confront them in person. They moved, some changed their names—all were distraught," she said.

The hashtag #endcyberexploitation is being used to spread awareness.

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Several people in California have already been slapped with charges under the new revenge porn laws. Noe Iniguez was the first person to be sentenced to jail in December 2014 under the new law after he posted nude photos of his ex to her employer's Facebook page calling her a "slut." His ex already had a restraining order on him, but he just couldn't move on. Hopefully, his year in jail helps.

Kevin Bollerat of San Diego was convicted of 27 felony charges related to a revenge porn site that he ran called UGotPosted, and Hunter Moore of IsAnyoneUp pleaded guilty to hacking and aggravated identify theft in February.