clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

California becomes first state to convict someone for operating a revenge porn website

New, 12 comments
Michael Warwick / Shutterstock

A California jury has convicted the operator of a revenge porn website in what the state believes is the first conviction of its kind nationwide. The operator, Kevin Bollaert, was found guilty in a San Diego court last night on 21 counts of identity theft and six counts of extortion for his operation of the website UGotPosted, which was active during 2012 and 2013. The website allowed visitors to anonymously post private nude photos of others without the subjects' knowledge. The website also required that the subject's name, location, and age were posted alongside it, as well as a link to their Facebook profile.

Bollaert's case wasn't prosecuted under California's revenge porn law

In addition to operating UGotPosted, Bollaert also operated a separate website that allowed victims to pay to have their photographs removed. According to the Associated Press, Bollaert charged up to $350 to have images removed and is said to have earned tens of thousands of dollars in the process. He reportedly now faces up to 20 years in prison.

California believes that this is the first time that the operator of a revenge porn website has been convicted nationwide. It's among the first convictions around revenge porn in general, as it still remains notoriously difficult to prosecute because victims often don't own the photographs that they appear in. California now has a law specifically targeting revenge porn, but Bollaert's case wasn't prosecuted under that: the revenge porn law is only a misdemeanor, and California Attorney General Kamala Harris argued that Bollaert's actions deserved more than the one year of jail time that the law would allow.

If Bollaert's case sounds familiar, it may be because the Federal Trade Commission brought down a revenge porn operator who was running an identical scheme just last week. There is a notable difference, however: the FTC settled with the operator it had been investigating, with that person ultimately admitting no fault. Despite that, the operator is banned from the revenge porn business from here out, which is still one of the bigger wins that have happened in regard to revenge porn. California's revenge porn law has also started to be put to use, with the state sending a man to jail late last year for posting topless photos of an ex on her employer's Facebook page.