How to filch explicit photos to fuel your revenge porn site

Filed Under: Law & order, Privacy

Porn on computer, courtesy of ShutterstockIsAnybodyDown's owner apparently impersonated a woman to trick victims into sending him nude photos. Showing true monopolistic genius, he also seems to be running the photo-takedown service that promises to get those photos off his site - for a fee.

A revenge-porn entrepreneur may finally have screwed up enough to face criminal charges.

Such sites, going back to the infamous IsAnyoneUp revenge site run by Hunter Moore (aka The Most Hated Man on the Internet), are now protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which states that websites aren't liable for user-submitted content.

Ahhh, yes, "user-submitted content." Heaven knows what those "users" will do. How could a site owner possibly be responsible for the things they submit?

But what if, say, you decided to solicit explicit photos by posing as a woman, on a Craigslist women's forum? Or perhaps you posed as a woman to buy a used cellphone, and got the photos that way?

And what if you then turned around and posted those photos on your revenge-porn site, pretending you're a "user" and not "the guy running the site and profiting from its victims' misery"?

Here's where the site in question, IsAnybodyDown, might have slipped out from under the cozy blanket of Section 230 protection, if forensic analysis proves correct.

Isanybodydown logo

CBS4-Denver reporter Brian Maass has been investigating the revenge-porn site and its owner, Craig Brittain.

In doing so, he contacted Dr. Nicholas Weaver, a network security researcher, who conducted forensic computer analysis on emails from Craig Brittain and from the "lawyer" for the takedown service, a "David Blade III".

Weaver concluded that emails from the two were "likely sent not just from the same IP address but from the same computer," Maass reported.

In addition, bogus profiles on Craigslist were posted from that same IP address, according to the latest findings of CBS's ongoing investigation.

It appears that IsAnybodyDown has a bit of a closed-loop monopoly in the revenge-porn market, with

  • a) the revenge porn site itself,
  • b) a cleanup service to take down the photos for $250,
  • c) Craigslist ads taken out under a fake profile, soliciting explicit photos that magically appear on the porn site a few days after being sent.

None of them are the same! claims the site's owner, Craig Brittain. Totally different!

Indeed, Brittain says, he gets PayPal payments from this guy named ""David Blade III" at the porn-image-takedown service - aka "Takedown Hammer" - he told Maass.

Here's the thing: the porn site, the takedown service, and the supposedly female poster on Craigslist who solicited photos that showed up on IsAnybodyDown all

  • d) share the same IP address.

Red girls, courtesy of ShutterstockAnd therein lies the potential to finally criminalize those who profit off of vindictive lovers and their humiliated exes. Lawyers are readying cases now, Maass reports.

Brittain, a 28-year-old US man from Colorado Springs, Colorado, started IsAnybodyDown about a year ago.

In an interview with CBS [Video], Brittain called what he does "entertainment", saying that shaming people is the last thing on his mind:

"I call it entertainment... We don’t want anyone shamed or hurt. We just want the pictures there for entertainment purposes and business. I would say our business goal is to become big and profitable. We’re not out for revenge or being malicious. We just want entertainment, we want the money, we’re after making the buck."

Brittain solicits people to anonymously send in explicit photos along with the victims' Facebook profiles.

Upset woman, courtesy of ShutterstockHe then reposts the information on his website, often with victims' telephone numbers. The victims are mostly women.

Critics charge Brittain with going for maximum humiliation, but he told CBS that posting nude photos alongside Facebook profiles gives viewers a fuller idea of the women's personalities.

The legal problems Brittain might be facing include child pornography, given that two victims have told lawyer Marc Randazza that they were under 18 in photos featured on IsAnybodyDown.

Denver attorney Andrew Contiguglia told CBS that the possibility of Brittain having posed as a woman to obtain photos should trigger a response from law enforcement.

He said:

"I've got a problem with that. I've got a problem with this man going out and tricking individuals into sending pictures for the world to see, and that's not right. When you obtain property through trickery, that's theft."

Let's hope that Contiguglia and other attorneys build strong cases and manage to get this site taken down, at the very least.

Internet revenge in general isn't just about humiliation, though that's serious enough to lead to some victims committing suicide. It's also resulted in horrific violence.

To keep out of sticky spider webs like IsAnybodyDown, think twice before sending explicit photos. Also, make sure to wipe your gadgets clean before selling them.


Red girls, porn on computer and upset woman images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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6 Responses to How to filch explicit photos to fuel your revenge porn site

  1. Lisa Vaas · 577 days ago

    I was hoping to get a clearer idea of the particular laws he might have broken (if, in fact, the forensics analysis proves correct), but it was all pretty vague. It will be interesting to see what the case comprises when the lawyers are ready to press charges. But yea, absolutely, bottom line you cite is spot-on.

  2. Randy · 577 days ago

    While I do not condone what has been done, pretending you're a different gender is not in and of itself illegal and as far as someone sending nude pics of themselves to a total stranger (or even someone they know) should know that there is a high probability of them going online. Bottom line? Don't post anything online that you wouldn't want the world to see.

    • at7000 · 533 days ago

      Good point. I have been using the WWW since the Mosaic Browser days. I would never reveal my full name, or identity on the Internet. Period. Not for Facebook or anything else. Always use cleverly crafted pseudonyms.

  3. VFAC · 576 days ago

    Revealing information to the public is considered in breach of privacy law (tort) if that information is:
    true,
    offensive to reasonable person,
    not of concern to public, and
    so intimate that publication outrages the public's sense of decency.

  4. MrBlz · 575 days ago

    I watched the interview and this Craig Brittain is some piece of work. Talk about evasive. One big creep, slime individual. What a sorry piece of humanity.

  5. Guest · 575 days ago

    I'm unclear about what laws were really broken. The underage material I understand, although wouldn't it be necessary to prove that he knew the subjects were underage (or that it was reasonably clear at least)? As for tricking someone to send nude pics... really? Sleezy, sure, but illegal? If he had pretended to be a person they actually knew (a significant other for example), then yes, I see the crime, but that's not what happened. The fact that he pretended to be a different stranger than the stranger people expected doesn't change the fact that the pics were willingly sent to someone they didn't actually know. They can't claim ownership now any more than I can of birthday gifts I've given people I don't get along with anymore (and there are some I would love to get back). There comes a point where one needs to take responsibility for their own actions. Or are we actually trying to claim surprise that someone is not who they claim to be on the internet?

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About the author

I've been writing about technology, careers, science and health since 1995. I rose to the lofty heights of Executive Editor for eWEEK, popped out with the 2008 crash, joined the freelancer economy, and am still writing for my beloved peeps at places like Sophos's Naked Security, CIO Mag, ComputerWorld, PC Mag, IT Expert Voice, Software Quality Connection, Time, and the US and British editions of HP's Input/Output. I respond to cash and spicy sites, so don't be shy.