‘Revenge porn’ site shows need for privacy reform

'Revenge porn' website shows need for privacy reform (credit: Adelaide Cole/Art Editor) 'Revenge porn' website shows need for privacy reform (credit: Adelaide Cole/Art Editor)

Launched in 2012, Hunter Moore’s website Is Anyone Up has come to be known as a “revenge porn site” where ex-lovers and hackers can post people’s private nude pictures.

But it does not stop there. As the site’s administrator, Moore hosts the photos along with the victims’ full names and screenshots linking to their Twitter, MySpace, or Facebook profiles. And this is all legal.

Because Moore is not directly submitting the photos, he is protected under the Communications Decency Act, which protects website owners from legal liability for the content their users post. Meanwhile, he is making upwards of $13,000 in advertising revenue per month.

The only likely way the site could be taken down is if some brave victim sued Moore for generating defamatory content or for promoting privacy invasion and intentionally inflicting emotional distress.

But no one wants his or her name and accompanying nude pictures in the media spotlight.

An even bigger issue is the precedent this type of court case would set.

If someone sued Moore and he won, his depraved business model would be validated legally. If he lost, freedom of speech online would suffer more restrictions.

This creates a difficult situation, but one that must be addressed and solved for the sake of all parties involved.

Re-evaluation and reform of current online privacy policies are absolutely necessary.

Legislators should establish policies that protect both freedom of speech online and individuals’ privacy on the internet. While the protection of free speech is instrumental to the continued use of the internet as an invaluable communication tool, measures must be implemented to stop “entrepreneurs” like Moore from profiting off the ruination of others.