Immediate Press Release/Open Letter
Craig R. Brittain (Domain Owner of Is Anybody Down, 2012-2013)
Before I get started,
I want to apologize to those who were affected by Is Anybody Down?. I made a series of poor decisions, then tried to rationalize them, and made it even worse. I am sorry for the damage that I caused to everyone that ended up on my website. I am making amends at every opportunity. I regularly volunteer for, and donate to charitable organizations (I encourage you to do the same!).
I ask for your forgiveness. What I did was wrong.
With that said, let me clarify what actually happened with regards to Is Anybody Down, to set the record straight.
1. The FTC did not ‘shut down’ Is Anybody Down, it was closed in April 2013. The FTC agreement is to NOT REOPEN IAD, not to close it down (You can’t re-close a site that’s been closed for almost two years, after all). I retain ownership of the IAD domain (and may do with it what I like, as long as it’s not “Revenge Porn”/”personal information”, etc.). The mainstream media willfully refused to print and properly update the fact that the website was permanently closed in April 2013, instead deciding to decry my use of a domain previously associated with the website. I would like to use the domain to support an anti-“Revenge Porn” movement.
2. The agreement states that I neither confirm or deny the FTCs findings. I naturally deny all of their findings but agreed with the terms and conditions because I have no interest, and never had any real interest in operating IAD (and thus did not object to deleting the few remaining files that I hadn’t already cleared out when I was contacted by the FTC initially in 2013).
3. The majority of FTC interactions happened in 2014, over 9 months after the website had already been closed down.
4. The statements made by media of ‘closing down’ in 2015 ARE intentionally misleading and should be corrected immediately.
5. The reason that financial penalties were not issued was that I was able to demonstrate that I did not make any financial gain from IAD, and in fact, I am currently already struggling and largely in debt (as I have been for the majority of my life, for anyone who wants to make that snarky “you deserve it” comment).
6. At no point in time were physical addresses ever posted on the website. Please stop repeating this egregious lie unless there is absolute proof of a physical address being posted (there isn’t, because it never happened).
7. There’s zero evidence of any of the Craigslist ‘posing’ claims, etc. which mostly come from bloggers, but were given credibility by the mainstream press. There was content from Craigslist in the form of postings made which contained adult photos (again, ‘selfies’ taken by the posters themselves to Craigslist).
8. I had nothing to do with any “takedown” services, with the exception of negotiated settlements through dmca.com. The domains which I owned associated in this manner were simply redirects to dmca.com’s settlement service. Via a 301 redirect, the domain will initially ping the host server (custom redirect on what was the IAD server) and then redirect to the target server. This will display the host server’s IP as the IP, even if the actual content is hosted on the target server. This is purposefully and willfully obfuscated by my detractors to smokescreen the average person with no technical skills. When you hear “David Blade, Takedown Lawyer, Takedown Hammer, etc.” they’re really talking about the dmca.com redirect. All of these things are the same thing – the legal responsibility of the host server owner (not me) and the third party service (I have no affiliation with either).
9. The “bounty system” was an experiment in which users would send in clothed, public photos of a person and users of the website would attempt to get the person to voluntarily self-submit nudes (for money, via a legal US 2257 and standard contract arbitration, model release, etc. circa regular mainstream adult content websites). It was NOT an attempt to “buy” “revenge porn” photos. It was an attempt to formally transition into regular amateur adult content (which failed).
10. The website I ran was the LEGAL EQUIVALENT of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc., governed by 47 USC 230 (same as the mainstream press), which allows users to post information freely, and allows administrators to screen postings without being liable for content posted by users.
11. Thus, I was NOT responsible for the content being posted on my website (aside from allowing it to be posted, which I am truly sorry for).
12. Only about 50 posts in the history of the website were “Revenge Porn” (an ex submitting private photos for the purpose of revenge). These were removed by me, for free (not through dmca.com or third party service) within one day or less, upon receipt of notice to remove.
13. The majority of the content (about 550 of about 1,000 posts) on the website was self-posted, self-taken pictures which were already publicly posted to other websites like Tumblr, Craigslist, etc. by the people pictured within it, which was then reposted/reblogged with additional information which had already been made public (like social media profiles, which are public info). It was not “Revenge Porn”.
14. No less than 300 of about 1,000 posts were sent to me from ex-porn site owners with full licensure and model releases for the people pictured. This is also NOT “Revenge Porn”.
15. About 100 of about 1,000 posts were of people who appeared on the website after voluntarily submitting their own images to us, to appear of their own accord. This is also NOT “Revenge Porn”.
16. The woman who was interviewed for the Inside Edition interview “Dawn” had previously appeared in Playboy and other nude magazines prior to appearing on Is Anybody Down. Her images were voluntary, contract submissions with full paperwork.
17. The website was fully legal (2012-2013) and 47 USC 230 plus 18 USC 2256/2257 compliant.
18. “Revenge Porn” is a largely fictionalized narrative. Why is it okay for the mainstream press to display someone’s information in a way that portrays them in a negative light – especially in the case of public figures like Brett Favre and Anthony Weiner, who were, in fact, victims of “Revenge Porn”? The mainstream media needs to be held to the same standards. We do not live in a sexist, racist, homophobic, misogynistic “rape culture”. We live in one of the most diverse countries in the entire world (in the United States), where everyone is afforded equal opportunity to succeed based upon their merits.
19. I strongly believe that any law against “Revenge Porn” is unconstitutional, circa Arizona, and should be overturned. This does not mean I morally support “Revenge Porn”, I do not. It simply means that I don’t support spending millions (billions?) in taxpayer dollars to enforce a moral issue. I support all moral solutions with regards to “Revenge Porn”, which is something that should be stopped. I do not support using the immoral immunity of the State to do so.
20. Common to the media’s “Revenge Porn” narrative is the false idea that the person spreading the photos is an ex-boyfriend or a phone hacker/thief.
21. Hacked photos are explicitly prohibited by law and users had to sign a full waiver in order to submit photos which, amongst other things, indicated that they did not hack/steal them, were not submitting them out of malice or ill interest, and were entirely legally liable for their own posting(s).
22. In turn, the only photos which were posted on our website were photos which were voluntarily transmitted and made public (read: CONSENT) by the people pictured within those photos, and they were never used for malicious purposes.
23. We also made it a point to report anyone who tried to send underage photos, or harass/stalk/intimidate anyone who was pictured on our website, to local, state and federal authorities. This resulted in several arrests.
24. There were zero deaths and zero assaults as a result of carefully controlled and crafted policies on IAD made to keep everyone safe.
25. In fact, no less than 200 of the women pictured, and at least 50 of the men pictured were offered modeling contracts valued as high as $100,000 per year as a result of exposure generated by publicity from IAD.
26. The ratio of women to men pictured on the website was 1.02 female posts for every .98 male posts. So, the website was not ‘anti-woman’ as was suggested in the press. About 480 of about 1,000 posts were men.
27. Our website promoted positive body image. No one was shamed for being of a different body type, different race, gender, color, etc. We had full and equal representation from every gender, race, origin, country, etc. in the world.
28. We actually received and posted self-submitted nudes from Hong Kong nationals whose government did not allow them to post their own nudes (illegal in People’s Republic of China) and posted them to slight the Chinese government. This resulted in a measured, confirmed attack on our cloud by PLA Unit 61398, which an independent security team confirmed upon my behalf was the result of Chinese military IPs rather than open proxies.
29. You won’t read most of this about our website because the mainstream media was so hung up on their ‘it exploits women’ narrative, the same narrative they use to shame porn and sex work to this very day despite women regularly telling them how full of it they are. Sex work is nothing to be ashamed of.
30. I closed the website down in 2013 because I was personally conflicted (moral concerns, and the fact that 99% of the time I hated running the thing) and I wanted to use my skills to do something which I consider to be productive and positive in society, and that is why I contributed to GamerGate. I want diversity and ethical media, NOT “Revenge Porn”. I want to atone for my previous mistakes. I love women and everything they contribute to society.
31. Most of the negative press I’m receiving now is due to my affiliation with GamerGate and calls for media reform. It’s only logical that a person calling for reform will likewise be subject to the same reforms. Please understand that this is the catalyst for dragging up an issue from 2+ years ago. GamerGate is not a hate group. GamerGate is a call for the immediate reform of mainstream media. GamerGate is supported by countless minorities and women. Instead of centering articles about me and the stupid, idiotic, senseless things I did years ago, why not center articles around all of the positive contributions they have made?
32. The press, by and large, reprinted the baseless allegations of affiliates of this man, James McGibney. Please read all about how he got hit with sanctions in court for suing random people for no real reason: Via View Files
33. Affiliates of James McGibney: Marco Randazza, Kenneth White, Adam Steinbaugh (and anyone else in their circle, by extension). This is NOT a conspiracy theory, they regularly communicate and are part of the same blog wheels/circles.
34. As you can see, James McGibney is a “Revenge Porn” website operator. However, Adam Steinbaugh, who claims to hunt Revenge Porn, has never written an article about any of McGibney’s websites, which is strong proof of his conflict of interest via omission.
35. Unlike IAD, which was shut down in 2013, McGibney’s Cheaterville is still an active “Revenge Porn” website. Please encourage James McGibney to close down his “Revenge Porn” and “public shaming” websites and to likewise issue apologies. Encourage all other “Revenge Porn” owners to do so as well. Also, encourage outlets like ABC to apologize for publicly shaming GamerGate supporters.
36. Adam Steinbaugh himself has been alleged by a reliable source, to be unable to pass the State Bar’s conduct examination.
37. The FTC does not create their own complaints, rather they act on the behalf of unnamed individuals who submit complaints to them. This settlement is no different. Thus, it’s not illogical or ‘conspiratorial’ to suggest that the actions of the FTC were motivated by direct communication via readers of the blog postings of Randazza, White and Steinbaugh.
38. About the actual contents of the FTC settlement: Let’s discuss them.
39. “Correspondent neither denies nor admits”. This says it all. The FTC’s release does not prove anything, because it doesn’t seek to prove anything. Rather, it just seeks to formally claim credit for the closure of a website closed 2 years ago (because of the strong anti-government, anti-mainstream media views of the domain owner, and for the PR benefit of an Administration with a 37% approval rating). Here’s to them! Huzzah, three cheers for the State! The glorious Federal Government has saved you from a website that closed almost 2 years ago at the cost of millions of taxpayer dollars. Direct quote from Melinda Claybaugh, staff attorney: “It’s supposed to be a deterrent” – it should be a deterrent to the taxpayers funding the FTC.
40. “Obtaining express written consent” this is already part of documentation pertaining to 18 USC 2256/2257, which we had during the time of IAD’s operation (handled by the submitters of content responsible for that paperwork via legal waiver)
41. “Prohibition on misrepresentation” Everyone is already prohibited from misrepresenting themselves in this manner. Redundant.
42. “Destruction of personal information” I am glad that I was able to destroy all of that stuff, honestly. I have strong moral opposition to “Revenge Porn”.
43. “Sharing of personal information” I no longer engage with any business, website, etc. which shares ‘personal information’ under the definitions established by the FTC (‘personal information’ meaning ‘revenge porn’).
44. I am in compliance with the FTC agreement which asks me not to make any new “Revenge Porn” or “Revenge Porn” related websites, to submit my employment info to FTC, etc.
45. In fact, I actually want to stop anyone else from engaging in “Revenge Porn” or any type of “Revenge Media” or “Shame Media” in which the content revolves around someone being hurt or profits from their misery/exploitation.
46. I strongly believe that the Mainstream Media uses revenge and shame narratives to exploit people and ruin their lives – not unlike what “Revenge Porn” does.
47. If you know other ways that I can contribute to helping to stop “Revenge Porn” or any exploitative forms of media, please contact me ([email protected]).
48. Please do not make threats to anyone (duh). However, if you want to make threats to me, please address them to either my Twitter feed (@AuditTheMedia) or to my email ([email protected] Yes, this is a real email address and I do read it).
49. Again, I express my regret to, and support for, anyone who was/is affected by “Revenge Porn” and I would like to help in preventing the further spread of “Revenge Porn”, “Shame Porn, “Revenge Media”, and “Shame Media”. If you have been affected by these things, you are not alone. I love you all and wish only the best for everyone. I do not want to be the person I was in 2013. I am a different person now. Please, help me to choose the right path.
– Craig R. Brittain