So do any o’ y’all remember super gross chin-beard aficionado Craig Brittain?
Brittain ran the revenge porn site “Is Anybody Down” until he was forced to shutter it by the Federal Trade Commission for essentially being a criminal extortion scheme:
At the end of January, the Federal Trade Commission said it had reached a settlement with Craig Brittain, who owns the isanybodydown.com website, which stopped spreading revenge porn images in April 2013. The FTC alleged that “he used deception to acquire and post intimate images of women”, which would then be posted on the site, often alongside their address, phone number and Facebook profile. Again, he’d ask for hundreds of dollars from victims demanding photos of them were removed, according to the regulator. Brittain would also offer a reward of at least $100 in exchange for pictures and supplementary information, the complaint claimed. His punishment was light: a ban from posting images of people nude without their consent and an agreement to delete all the awful material he was alleged to have published.
Part of Brittain’s deception involved the creation of another ostensibly unconnected, pretend third party website actually created by Craig. On this site he advertised the services of a fictitious lawyer who would work with people to have their information removed from Is Anybody Down. From Jezebel:
Now, there’s “Is Anybody Down?” (creative!), a copycat site with a twist: click “Get me off this site!” and you’ll reach a “lawyer” (he’s now replaced the word “lawyer” with “hammer” — more on that later) who’ll remove those naked photos that, of course, you probably never consented to posting on the internet in the first place, for $250. Here’s the ad:
Advertisement Disclaimer: This is a paid advertisement by David Blade | Attorney-at-Law
Hello! I’m the Takedown Lawyer and so far, I’ve had 42 clients come to me to have their pictures and information removed from Is Anybody Down, all of whom were a success! I have people’s pictures and information taken down from sites like these all the time; including over 38 removals from the original “Is Anyone Up” over the past 2 years.
Please check out my website, takedownlawyer.com for more info, or you can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t delay! Your safety and security might depend on it!
Edit: Updated September 21st.
I have had 42 clients removed this website at this point. The administrator of this website has complied with me on 100% of cases so far.
My work is pro bono, and at a reduced filing fee, which is comparatively inexpensive.
If you see that content is removed from this website in the future - It means that I was hired.
I work as a Public Defender for the State of New York. I’m a real attorney - not an ‘internet lawyer’.
Except there was one little problem, the lawyer David Blade didn’t exist:
“Aww, what a thoughtful, helpful guy!” is not what lawyer Marc Randazza thought when he came across “Is Anybody Down?” He figured something fishy was up, so looked into it: turns out that there’s no David Blade licensed as a layer in New York, and that the same dude — Craig Brittain — owns isanyonedown.com and takedownlawyer.com. Shocker: save-the-ladies superhero “David Blade” is in cahoots with the website he claims to be fighting against. Or he doesn’t exist at all. This is like Nabokov’s Pale Fire, except unpoetic and incredibly disgusting.
And that’s why the FTC shut Brittain down, managing to use the prospect of an actual criminal prosecution to get him to sign a multi part consent decree, some elements of which have an enforcement period of 20 years. Exactly how he managed to stay out of prison is still kind of a mystery considering the egregious nature of his extortion operation, However one can rather plausibly speculate on the likelihood that Craig ratted out all of his associates and file uploaders to get such a sweet deal.
Anyway Brittain is a user of the Twitter machine, originally under the handle @forcedisbased. He still uses the same account, but changed the handle to @auditthemedia. The fact that he changed the handle without shutting down the original account means that his old tweets are still searchable under either name. Last year it looked like our old friend and alleged (it’s important to type alleged here to avoid charges of super-libel) floor-pooper Chuck C Johnson was getting rather chummy with Mr. Brittain, encouraging Craig to call him on the telephone box for what one can only assume were lengthy discussions about sluts and the innate characteristics of certain minorities.
@ForceIsBased sent you my number. Call it.
That conversation originated with Brittain forwarding Chuck the Facebook page of one of the Ferguson eyewitnesses. It was back in December and before Brittain’s interesting stay out of jail agreement with the FTC.
I’d forgotten about the relationship between Chuck and Brittain until the last couple of days when Chuck let slip his own fascination with extortion.
What is extortion? And should it be illegal?
If I create a website where people can offer to sell information on you to the crowd & you offer to buy it that isn't extortion, is it?
@PlayDangerously May I send you something I'm working on? I may have an investor worried about what I may have built.
Along with other recent comments that generated reasonable speculation that Chuck may well be attempting to build a better web enabled blackmail engine. Then today he came right out with a defense of revenge porn.
So-called “revenge porn” websites are the canaries in the coal mine of Internet civil rights. Today's decision is disgusting.
Revenge porn laws would have criminalized Andrew Breitbart's scalping of @anthonyweiner. They should be repealed.
Most technological advances comes from porn. #revengeporn is no exception.
So, and I do thank those of you who’ve stayed with me this far, that got me thinking. Exactly how close are Chuck’s ties to disgraced bottom feeding, lawyer impersonating extortionist Craig Brittain? When was the last time they were in contact?
Yesterday they apparently arranged another phone conversation over the Twitter tubes. And like before, one can reasonably make topical speculation as to the subject matter.
The question here is, exactly how close to violating his consent decree with the FTC is Brittain getting with his collaboration with CCJ? Here is the text of the agreement between Brittain and the FTC for any lawyers specializing in the affairs of super creepy gross people to advise on. I’ve only browsed it so far but managed to glean that it is to remain in effect for 20 years.
Finally I’ll leave you with this:
Sometimes you have an idea good enough to risk crucifixion, jail time, or social scorn because it's too cool not to try.
I, for one, am rooting for jail time.