Charlotte Laws: “Revenge porn is a sex crime”

Revenge porn is a recognizable, but commonly misleading, term used to describe sexually-explicit photos that are distributed without the subject’s consent. Nonconsensual pornography (NCP) is widely considered a more appropriate term because this type of content is obtained through hacking in an estimated 40% of cases, rather than by disgruntled exes.

FaceChex founder, Mark Bauman, sits down with Charlotte Laws, author of Rebel in High Heels and anti-NCP activist, to discuss how she took down the site that posted private images of her daughter, stolen through hacking.

Charlotte’s daughter sent private images to herself through email to save them on her computer in late 2011. These personal pictures were never intended for anyone else’s eyes, but three months later they showed up on an infamous site that pushed NCP content. The images were accompanied by her full name, city, and a link to her personal Twitter account.

“My daughter was hacked by a friend through Facebook,” Charlotte explains. A hacker was able to compromise one of her daughter’s friends on Facebook and use this connection to hack into her daughter’s personal email account to steal personal pictures. The hacker then sold the private images and personal information to a website infamous for NCP content.

After pleading with the site owner to take down her daughter’s images and receiving only rude refusals, Charlotte devoted all of her time and resources to fighting the site. She reached out to law enforcement and, although she initially encountered a lot of victim blaming and inaction, she was ultimately able to convince the FBI to take her case.

Charlotte was able to create a coalition of victims and a 12″ file of research to help them fight back. “Victims feel helpless…you don’t even want to tell anyone about it,” Charlotte explains. These men and women were publicly humiliated and harassed online. They lost jobs, relationships, and confidence – Charlotte knew she had to help them all. 

After the FBI investigation was opened, the site owner took down the site and sold off the domain used to exploit so many people’s intimate images. It took over a year of investigation, but the site owner and the hacker were ultimately arrested.

The site owner pleaded guilty to two charges: aggravated identity theft and unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information for purposes of private financial gain. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison while he hacker he hired was sentenced to 25 months in federal prison. Charlotte is not satisfied with the brevity of these punishments as she refers to NCP as a “sex crime.”

Even though this one website was taken down by the determination of a mother, once a photo is posted online it is highly likely that it will be reposted again and again. These photos could show up on any website at any time and it’s impossible to search the entire internet by yourself, which is why it is so important to be protected by an online image protection tool.

“It’s very important to have these tools in place to help the victims out there,” Charlotte says of the value of investing in FaceChex.

FaceChex is able to provide affordable protection plans that fight against nonconsensual pornography. Invest in your online security today. Click here to support the FaceChex Kickstarter campaign.