Sun, Jan 19, 2014 - Page 7 News List

US man pleads not guilty to revenge porn site extortion

AFP, LOS ANGELES

A US man accused of running a “revenge porn” Web site hosting more than 10,000 sexually explicit photographs as part of an extortion ploy pleaded not guilty on Friday, a US court spokeswoman said.

Kevin Christopher Bollaert, 27, entered his plea in court in San Diego, California, Karen Dalton said.

He has been charged with 31 counts of conspiracy, identity theft and extortion over the racket, which allegedly earned him tens of thousands of US dollars.

US Judge David Szumowski set a preliminary hearing for March 17.

His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bollaert, who is free on US$50,000 bail, was arrested last month. He allegedly created the Web site ugotposted.com in December 2012, allowing explicit photographs to be posted without the subject’s permission.

The Web site “turned their public humiliation and betrayal into a commodity with the potential to devastate lives,” California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris said at the time.

The photographs, commonly known as revenge porn, are typically obtained consensually during a relationship, but then posted without permission, or are simply stolen or hacked.

Unlike other revenge porn Web sites where photographs are anonymous, ugotposted.com required the poster to include the subject’s full name, location, age and Facebook profile link.

Bollaert created a second Web site, changemyreputation.com, which he used when individuals contacted ugotposted.com asking for their photographs to be removed from the site.

He then allegedly extorted victims by offering, from the changemyreputation Web site, to remove content from ugotposted.com for a fee of up to US$350, allegedly making tens of thousands of dollars, according to court documents.

“Online predators that profit from the extortion of private photos will be investigated and prosecuted for this reprehensible and illegal internet activity,” Harris said in a statement last month.

In October last year, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law banning revenge porn.

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