BullyVille in the Press
O’Gara: ‘Revenge Porn’ site serves as an example of diminishing Internet privacy
Article by: Oregon Daily Emerald
May 02, 2012

O’Gara: ‘Revenge Porn’ site serves as an example of diminishing Internet privacy:

Published May 2, 2012

Hunter Moore is a nasty piece of work, a man who is, to borrow from Gore Vidal, near perfect in his immorality. Or, if you generally prefer Margaret Thatcher’s words, Moore seemingly has a “positive aversion to principle.” Better still, let’s consult Moore’s own Twitter bio, which reads, simply: “hated.” Oh, to be the most loathed man on the Internet.

Until about two weeks ago, Moore ran what could reasonably stake a claim as the vilest place on the Web, a pornography site called IsAnyoneUp.com Alas, this wasn’t just any old porn site — it was a tool for spiteful exes to inflict emotional violence on their former partners, by sending nude images of their ex-girlfriends and -boyfriends (but usually girlfriends) to Moore, who would then post the photos on IsAnyoneUp.com along with screenshots of the victim’s Facebook profiles. The site’s slogan was “Pure Evil” for a reason.

Then, on April 19, the website was shuttered. Now, the IsAnyoneUp.com URL redirects one to a site called BullyVille, which offers anti-bullying advice and consolation in a hip and edgy manner. Most of the space on the front page is taken up by two open letters: one from the founder of BullyVille, James McGibney, who says that IsAnyoneUp? was taken offline because it “served no public good” (a standard that would probably wipe most sites off the Internet), and another from Moore himself, who sort of apologizes for what he started — he mostly just says he got “burned out” by all the lawsuits — and announces his next venture, which involves “party(ing) for a cause.”

So the planet and all nude self-portraitists living on it are safe from IsAnyoneUp.com, for now at least. That’s a peril of the Internet — there was one Hunter Moore, and there will be more. More enterprising sleazeballs willing to push the envelope as far as possible. Alas, after the envelope is given a hearty push, it doesn’t return to its earlier form, it becomes molded after the new paradigm, whatever that may be. Hunter Moore and IsAnyoneUp.com were worse than what came before, and whoever succeeds Moore as the most hated person on the Internet will be even more perfect in his or her immorality.

With apologies to Kanye West, Moore just might be the voice of this generation, which has been told (numerously and by writers of other, older generations) that it’s one defined by post-privacy. We share everything. Nothing is hidden. We all, it seems, live in glass houses that are constantly being assaulted by rocks. A degree of exposure, if not outright exhibitionism, is something expected, even tolerated.

On Anderson Cooper’s over-sunlit daytime talk show during the height of IsAnyoneUp.com’s notoriety, there was a contretemps between Moore and a woman whose naked photos appeared on the site. She argued, begged actually, for some respect for privacy. Moore shrugged and countered with (I’m paraphrasing here), “If you didn’t want your pictures on my site, you shouldn’t have taken them.”

Of course, taking nude photos of yourself and sending them to someone isn’t the most prudent thing one could do, especially in this modern world of ours and all. But still, there’s an element of blaming the victim in Moore’s (and others’) rationalizing of the humiliation of another human being. In this way, arguments that we’re shifting into a post-privacy society devolve into arguments for anti-privacy.

Just because the risk of exposure has increased due to the Internet and social-networking tools, doesn’t mean we ought to let those who facilitate and profit off such exposure get away with it. Hunter Moore and his little shop of horrors was a warning of what’s to come.

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