In earlier posts, I documented some evidence that the proprietors of involuntary-porn site IsAnybodyDown.com were culling their photos from unsuspecting Craigslist posters and discounted their nonsensical claims that everyone who appears on the site consented to be pictured there. This post is largely a re-hash of that evidence — with some fun new discoveries.
Craig’s List: are the photos on IsAnybodyDown.com culled from unsuspecting Craigslist posters?
It appears that Craig, Chance, or one really enthusiastic fan is gathering a large majority of IsAnybodyDown.com’s content by emailing posters in the Craigslist personals section, pretending to be a potential hook-up while gathering pictures and personal information. While certainly not all of the pictures on the site are gathered this way, many — perhaps most — are.
Here’s how we know it’s likely Craig, Chance, or a single enthusiastic fan are culling their content from unsuspecting Craigslist posters:
- Update: the smoking gun? Craig forgot to redact two of the emails women sent in response to Craigslist posts — and both were sent to Craig’s email addresses, both email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org (Craig’s old domain).
- In a now-deleted post seeking investors, the site noted that “[t]he majority of people pictured here were sending their photos to random people on Craigslist.”
- Most damning: an email exchange posted by IsAnybodyDown in which the site’s operator responds to a complaint that the picture was stolen: “it’s not, sucker… you sent it to me“ and “i have all of the other emails you guys sent me too.” The IsAnybodyDown post includes the original Craigslist ad.
- Posted throughout the site are screenshots of emails from people including their own phone numbers — emails which have almost universally the same format. The screenshots suggest that the text around the phone numbers was removed to deter discovery (by the victim) of who the emails were sent to, and the text of the phone numbers is often in a format indicating it was sent from a victim (e.g., pink text). [Update: 11/13/12: The format of the email screenshots has a peculiar text format: the text following 'from' and 'to' is slightly higher than 'from' and 'to'. This format is identical to that of DreamMail. In this screenshot, taken by the site owners, DreamMail lurks in the background.] Examples: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
- In this email, IsAnybodyDown berates a woman whose pictures appeared on the site and points out that her Craigslist post was still up. Perhaps they were informed of the URL with the submission, or maybe they lured the poster themselves.
- This email attacks another user for sending pictures via Craigslist.
- In a comment to the site, user “victim2″ asks another, “I am curious did you send your pictures to someone on Craigslist?”
- Update: Craig’s IP is now being used to edit the Wikipedia article about his site, adding this: “The website is a spin-off of the concept behind the now defunct IsAnyoneUp?, where the primary difference between the two websites is that the majority of people posted were using the Craigslist ‘Casual Encounters’ message board.” He’s also trying to delete the article (and references to Marc Randazza and Ken White) on the basis that “Article is being used to defame and harass an owner. Article must be deleted immediately. The posters of the article are currently being investigated.”
It’s consent if she doesn’t say no, right?
It’s clear that almost nobody on IsAnybodyDown.com wants to be pictured there. If those pictured there consented to it, why would Craig and Chance concoct a fake lawyer to deceive people into sending money to get their own pictures removed?
If the persons appearing on the site consented to the use of their pictures, why do its operators brag about being untouchable by U.S. copyright law because they’re hosted overseas, and note that “people will go to amazing lengths [...] to get their pictures and information removed”? This is the same law that Craig Brittain is now attempting to use to silence criticism of him on Popehat. I can only surmise that IsAnybodyDown ignored the complaints of the three people who were forced to use DMCA complaints to Google to have their photos removed from search results. [PDF examples one, two, three -- the latter involving a couple.]
Update: an eagle-eyed reader points out that it’s more than just four people who had to go to Google with DMCA complaints: it’s at least twelve.
Then there are the complaints on the site itself — and these are the ones who were brave enough to say anything at all:
- A woman says she doesn’t have the money to remove the photos — and is scared to leave her own home.
- A woman asks for her photos to be removed and is told by another user to read the “hatemail” section to see that “the admin does not remove photos.”
- Another says she’d better not find out who put her pics on the site.
- A couple complains that their photos were uploaded without permission, and another user says, “find one pic that was uploaded on this site with permission… I’ll wait.”
- A woman says she didn’t post her pictures; another chimes in to say the same thing.
- A woman in the Navy says that she’s contacting the U.S. Navy’s Legal Services branch because her pictures were posted without permission.
- Another user complains on behalf of a friend and explains intentions and consent more coherently than Craig or Chance have been able to.
- A woman posts to say that she never consented to the site posting her pictures, and that her employer fired her and wouldn’t re-hire her until the pictures were removed.
Those photos are all still on the site.
If the complaints on the site weren’t enough to demonstrate Craig Brittain and Chance Trahon’s awareness that the people pictured there really don’t want to be pictured there, the emails they received and then freely shared as a boastful warning to others are damning:
- Accusing a woman of lying about receiving threats of being gang raped.
- The only response to being informed that the woman pictured did not consent: “lol.”
- Telling a model accused on the site of being an escort, “sucks to be you.”
- Telling a woman that the only way to protect her pictures is to get a business license and patent them — which, even if legally possible would be wholly irrelevant. Patents are for inventions. And you don’t need a business license.
- Telling a woman her photos would only be removed if she proved she was underage
- Responding to a guy’s request that his photos and phone number be removed: “He will seek legal ‘attention’. But no one will give a fuck.”
- Condescendingly replying that the person who sent a woman’s photos was “probably some random dude you slept with” – not the woman herself, of course.
- Demurring to a woman’s complaint that she’s receiving threatening calls after IsAnybodyDown posted her phone number.
All of these emails were deleted shortly after I began posting about them.
Additionally, the site’s brilliant proprietors sought to further their exposure by getting into the Bill Cunningham show (and getting a free trip to New York City in the process), asking users: “Were you posted on this site? Don’t want to be posted? State your case on TV!”
Finally, there’s this very helpful (and now deleted) advice about what to do if you got posted: change your Facebook settings so that nobody can contact you ever, change your phone number, and talk to Craig and Chance if you feel lonely. It goes on to suggest that you not make legal threats and don’t contact law enforcement because you could go to jail for lying to them. Again, why would this advice be necessary if people consented to this?
Craig and Chance justify this to themselves by resorting to their own self-serving view of ‘consent.’ In their view, anyone who sends nude photos to anyone else consents, because sending the photos to anyone via “a public channel” is “written consent by legal definition.” This almost-argument conflates consent with assuming risk. Yes, there is a risk that someone will share the photos with someone else, but that risk is not the same as consent to the person doing so. The risk that someone is an asshat-for-profit is not consent to asshattery. This blame-the-victim justification ignores both copyright law and common sense: sharing something privately with a small group of people is not a license to share it with the rest of the world, let alone do so for the express purpose of making money.
Chance Trahon resorts to an even weirder justification: according to Chance, the site somehow outs guys who try to set their wives up for rape and murder via Craigslist. I’m unclear, exactly, as to when IsAnybodyDown.com has ever done this — or how posting the names, hometowns, and phone numbers of the women deters that terrifying possibility. [Images of Chance's tweets courtesy of Satirical Takedown Lawyer.]
Update: or maybe this entire thing is for profit (“and business is good”) and to establish a legal world where employers can’t fire you for your online reputation. At this point, that’s probably the best outcome Craig and Chance can hope for — unfortunately for them, it won’t come true. [Taken from a now-deleted complaint email.]
Finally, one question: Craig notes (correctly, I’ve unfortunately discovered) that he, himself, has had his own nude photos plastered on the internet. If Craig ‘consented’, why don’t his own nude photos appear on his own site? Why doesn’t Chance summon up the courage to do to himself what he does to others?
Because they don’t want to — just like the people whose pictures were usurped don’t want to.