Sext and the City
Better Advertising Bureau
It’s been a very bad year in web security. Only in the past couple of months, iCloud and Snapchat have seen major hacks that have exposed a number of naked selfies to prying eyes. Besides generating nervous chuckles and perfectly understandable (if not hypocritically sanctimonious) outrage, the leaks no doubt prompted many of us to Google things like “How do I perfectly secure my naked selfies?” and “How do I know if I’m naked on the Internet?”
Answer: a new app called Hidely keeps your stash of naked selfies as safe as possible by creating an encrypted locked box on your device that not even a phone thief or hacker could get access to. With Hidely, every picture you take with the app (and anything you import into it) is saved on your device, totally encrypted, and can only be seen through the password-protected app.
Quick: what do you think is the top adult entertainment brand in the world? Playboy? Hustler? PornHub? Turns out, it’s none of the above. That throne belongs to Jasmin.com, a lesser-known camming site that has grown to pull in nearly a million dollars in revenue every day.
That little known fact could remain a secret as long as major cable networks have anything to say about it. Jasmin.com has been denied from running a relatively tame advertisement during the upcoming Emmy Awards. Megan Morahan of NBC Universal’s ad sales team told them:
I ran your spot by our standards group, and unfortunately we cannot accept advertising for Jasmin.com.
This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), founder and CEO of GarysGuide and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can reach him at gary [at] garysguide.com.
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Revenge of the Nerds
A 27-year-old San Diego man has been arrested in connection with a revenge porn website hosting more than 10,000 sexually explicit photos—and authorities say he was also using a reputation management website to extort the revenge porn victims.
The California Department of Justice arrested Kevin Christopher Bollaert, the New York Post reports, and charged him with 31 felony counts of conspiracy, identity theft and extortion.
XXX in Tech
Most people deal with bad press by pretending they haven’t seen it or starting a good old-fashioned Twitter feud.
A lawsuit claims that one disgruntled businessman from New Jersey opted to go a different, much quirkier route, by linking journalists’ domain names to a porn website specializing in blow job videos.
XXX in Tech
On a drizzly evening in Tampa in 2006, 23-year-old Holly Jacobs was enjoying a typical date night with Ryan Seay, her boyfriend of a few short months. As the time to head home approached, he walked her to her car and reluctantly kissed her goodbye. She clung dreamily to the sweater Mr. Seay had given her earlier in the evening, when she’d said she was cold. As her car pulled out of Mr. Seay’s driveway, she noticed it: a little heart that he had traced in the raindrops collected on her rear windshield.
Years later, when they’d finally broken it off for good, Ms. Jacobs, now 29, says that Mr. Seay did the unthinkable: He uploaded naked photos of her to the web. Photos that she’d sent to him in confidence. He allegedly posted them to scores of revenge porn sites, online hubs where scorned exes publish intimate photos without their former lovers’ consent. She says he attached her name, email address and a screenshot of her Facebook profile to the nude photos along with commentary about what a slut she was. Knowing that she was working as a teaching assistant at a local university, he allegedly uploaded a video of her masturbating with the title “Masturbation 201 by Professor Holli Thometz.”
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Though revenge porn–the practice of posting pornographic photos of someone without their consent–still largely exists within a legal grey area, lawyers, hackers and victim’s rights advocates are working hard to find ways to prosecute those who disseminate it. New Jersey now has a law on the books that makes distribution of revenge porn a third degree crime, which can net you three to five years in jail. Now, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office has proposed a bill to the Florida state legislature that would make it a third-degree felony to publish revenge porn in Florida.
XXX in Tech
Craig Brittain, the 28-year-old operator of the revenge porn website Is Anybody Down, may have obtained some of the site’s photos by catfishing women on Craigslist. According to an investigation by CBS Denver. Mr. Brittain reportedly pretended to be a woman on Craigslist’s W4W section where he solicited nude photos from unsuspecting women.
Here at Betabeat, we’ve done some extensive reporting on the scourge of “revenge porn” websites, places where scorned exes or angry friends can upload intimate photos of women–and sometimes men–without their consent. Victims of revenge porn have been sexually and violently harassed, lost jobs and friends and even had to change their names because their photos ended up on one of the numerous revenge porn hubs.
Now, many women are bravely fighting back in a class action lawsuit against one site and its hosting provider, GoDaddy. Hackers, lawyers and activists are working diligently to confront a complex legal issue. Still, revenge porn sites continue to operate largely unaffected, despite the fact that more and more victims are speaking out about what happened to them.
Betabeat makes no secret of its disdain for Go Daddy’s series of “smart vs. sexy” ads. They make this reporter want to toss a brick in the shape of Andrea Dworkin‘s face through a plate glass window before escaping in a getaway car blaring Bikini Kill, Thelma and Louise style.
The august executives of Go Daddy, however, are very proud of their Super Bowl ad, featuring supermodel Bar Refaeli loudly and lewdly sucking face with an anonymous tech nerd meant to symbolize “smart.” They’ve released a statement trumpeting how many new customers the spot delivered (in conjunction with a second ad, which featuring nagging wives trying to talk their husbands out of brilliant ideas).
But it seems the announcement was primarily an excuse for the executives of Go Daddy to laugh publicly at their own jokes.