Revenge Websites: Free Speech vs. The Right to Privacy

illinois divorce revenge attorneyFree speech versus privacy rights? It sounds like shouting match between two talking heads on Bill O'Riley's television show, doesn't it?

Surprisingly, however, revenge websites and "revenge porn" is just one of the newest conflict areas where people post sexually explicit pictures of their soon-to-be exes, boyfriends, girlfriends and just friends on the Internet (see my last blog on this topic).

Now websites that encourage revenge " postings" not necessarily "porn" have taken root, these revenge websites have been used as a form of extortion. Your soon-to-be ex spouse, ex boyfriend or girlfriend posts a picture of you with humiliating and shameful comments about you.

The site lists your name, city and state and sometimes links to your Facebook page or other social media. Then the website demands payment from you to take the information down off the site. Sort of like an antivirus website run amok

Here is where free-speech runs head on with the right to privacy. These websites have been able to stay on the Internet because of the argument that they are a form of free speech.

You Can Get Protection

The Federal Communications Decency Act, Section 230 grants website operators’ immunity from lawsuits over their user’s speech – intended to protect online free speech.

Unless the person is under 18, local and state police authorities have had few tools to take them down. Sometimes copyright laws may be broken if the material is for example a "selfie," or self taken photo, in which case there is perhaps a common-law copyright case that can be brought. See also these recent Huffington Post articles.

If you have had an issue with revenge porn in your recent relationship split, contact an Illinois divorce attorney at the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio.

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