FTC, Nevada Sue Revenge Porn Site Over Alleged Ransom of Data

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By Jimmy H. Koo and George Lynch

Revenge porn website MyEx.com solicited from the public intimate pictures or videos of people as well as their personal information and illicitly profited by charging alleged victims $499 to $2,800 to remove their images, the FTC and Nevada alleged in a complaint filed Jan. 9.

EMP Media Inc., doing business as MyEx.com, and other named defendants allegedly knew that many of the individuals didn’t agree to have their intimate images and personal data posted online and suffered serious harms as a result, including loss of jobs and harassing messages, the complaint said.

“Most people would say there’s not a general public right to see nude pictures of individuals,” Acting FTC Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen said Jan. 9, commenting on the matter at a technology conference in Las Vegas.

In addition to MyEx.com, the Federal Trade Commission and Nevada sued company executives Aniello Infante and Shad Applegate, as well as “one or more unknown parties doing business as Yeicox Ltd.,” which allegedly controlled EMP, according to the complaint. Both Infante and Applegate served in various corporate roles at EMP Media, according to the complaint

Ohlhausen said she didn’t believe the action was comparable to policies in the European Union that let people demand that factual information about them be taken offline if they don’t like it, also known as a “right to be forgotten.”

Infante agreed Jan. 9 to a no-fault settlement with the FTC and Nevada, which barred him from posting intimate images or personal information of others without notice and consent. He also agreed to pay $205,000, destroy intimate images in his possession, and be permanently restrained from serving as an officer or director of any business, according to the no-fault agreement. Infante will only end up paying $15,000 in light of his inability to pay more, the agreement said.

The case is FTC v. EMP Media, Inc. , D. Nev., No. 2:18-cv-00035, complaint filed 1/9/18

—With assistance from Kyle Daly in Las Vegas

To contact the reporter on this story: Jimmy H. Koo in Washington at jkoo@bloomberglaw.com and George Lynch in Washington at glynch@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Donald Aplin at daplin@bloomberglaw.com

For More Information

Full complaint can be found at http://src.bna.com/vvX

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