Hunter Moore Arrested: Who’s Next?

When news broke that the most hated person on the interwebz, revenge porn maven Hunter Moore was arrested, a few thoughts ran through my head.  First, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Second, see how they get taken down without creating new crimes just to “get” hated people?  Third, maybe this will satisfy those who want to control speech on the internet.

Mike Masnick wrote about Moore’s arrest at Techdirt, and there wasn’t much that I could add.

So, with the news that Hunter Moore was indicted with a co-conspirator under the CFAA today, we feared the worst.  After all, the CFAA is already a terribly drafted law, regularly twisted by the DOJ to go after people for ordinary computing activities.  However, in looking over the details of the indictment, we can at least breathe an initial sigh of relief (well, and disgust at the two individuals), as it details what appears to be Moore’s “co-conspirator” Charles Evens (also known as Gary) hacking into emails accounts to get access to nude photos, and then giving them to Moore.  Moore gives Evens a bunch of money for this, at times calling him an employee, and urging him to break into more email accounts and to obtain more nude photos.

If proven true (and, admittedly, we’re only seeing the DOJ’s account here), this is the kind of thing that the CFAA was supposed to be used for.

The CFAA was the wrong law to go after Lori Drew or Weev, but this was straightout hacking, breaking into other people’s email accounts.  A righteous use. A defendant undeserving of too much sympathy. And finally, an indictment everyone can love.

Would this be it, I wondered?  Would this be the thing that sucked the wind out of the shrew cries for censoring the internet so that no one’s feelings would ever be hurt again?  I can be so naïve.

Rather than quiet the smug and righteous who demand a new crime for every evil, real and perceived, some douche on the internet can devise, and silence the unintended voices as well as a necessary casualty of the war on speech, it did the opposite. It emboldened them.

From Caitlin Dewey at the Washington Post:

But while many people were pleased by Moore’s arrest, it’s important to note that revenge porn itself is often legal … as is much of the Internet’s filthiest filth. And while Moore may be stranded offline in Sacramento County jail, scores of similar characters are still waging campaigns of hatefulness on other blogs, Web sites and Internet forums. In fact, the Internet teems with other candidates for most-hated man.

Dewey then gives her laundry list of people on the internet whose speech she hates.  And many are indeed hate-worthy.  Others are there because she hates their views, like Roosh V, a misogynist who wants to put women back to their subservient roles from the 1950’s.

Roosh V: While Moore has been accused of incidental misogyny, Roosh V — a D.C. native! — has been far more explicit. Valizadeh owns the website ReturnofKings.com, which advocates for gender roles even ’50s housewives would balk at and bans “women and homosexuals” from commenting. Recent articles include the charming “5 Reasons to Date a Girl With an Eating Disorder,” “Don’t Work for a Female Boss” and “Biology Says People on Welfare Should Die.”

It’s perfectly reasonable to hate his ideas. But Dewey wants to criminalize them, because Hunter Moore.

Matt Forney: Forney, a blogger and member of the Valizadeh school, proudly crowned himself the most-hated man on the Internet after his argument “against female self-esteem” went viral last fall. Forney is a professional Internet troll, and has actually published a book to that effect. Publishing blog posts with titles like “Why Fat Girls Don’t Deserve to Be Loved” is, apparently, a profitable enterprise.

Another despicable woman-hater, but a criminal because his writings hurt your feelings? Dewey goes on to list Westboro Baptist Church’s Fred Phelps, Michael Crook, Don Black, Mark Marek and whosarat.com website owner, Sean Bucci.  In every instance, her beef is that she hates their speech. Hates it. And that’s why there must be a crime with which to take them down.

Of course, we all know that freedom of speech has its dark side, both on and off the Internet. But the problem with Internet hate, in particular, is that current law doesn’t quite protect against it — cyberstalking statutes are weak, responsibility is hard to prove, law enforcement doesn’t understand it … the list goes on.

The indictment of Hunter Moore didn’t soothe the anger, show the censors the distinction between criminal conduct and despicable speech.  Not even close.  There is a big muddle in their minds, where the only thing they know is that everything they hate should be criminal, and that if there isn’t a crime against “hate speech,” defined as speech hated by someone somewhere, there should be. There must be.

Even Hunter Moore, when he was finally arrested, was arrested for hacking and identity theft — offenses that really have nothing to do with the fundamental problems of revenge porn. That doesn’t make his opponents any less happy to see him in jail, of course. But it should serve as warning, too: Other Internet villains are out there, and without stronger laws, they’re just waiting to follow in Moore’s wake.

The witch hunt is on, fueled by the success in bringing down the most hated man on the internet, which proves that the righteous arbiters of good speech and bad are deserving of our devotion.  Now comes the appeal to fear, the next Hunter Moore is out there who will destroy our daughter’s self-esteem, call her mean names on Facebook and advocate for her to stay in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant.  He must be punished for these heretical, hateful ideas.

The use of the male pronoun isn’t accidental. Notice that all the names on Dewey’s list are male?  There may be evil women on the internet as well, but they can get to them after all the men are silenced.

15 comments on “Hunter Moore Arrested: Who’s Next?

    1. Mike

      Max, is it “hate speech” when Jezebel publishes multiple pieces encouraging and mocking domestic violence against men?

      Per the no-hyperline rule, I can’t link to the piece. Go ahead and Google, “Is Domestic Violence Against Men Funny and Cool? Tracie Egan Morrissey says, ‘Yes!'”

      Why didn’t Tracie Egan Morrissey make that list of “hate criminals”? I mean, I’ve read a lot of Roosh and Forney’s stuff. Although their views on a woman’s “proper role” may be archaic, I’ve never once seen either of them advocate violence against women.

      Yet you have a piece of writing by a Jezebel higher-up saying domestic violence is so freaking cool and funny – at least when men are the victims.

      When folks like you start going after the hate speech within the feminist community (and there’s a lot of it), then you can mount ye old high horse and proclaim moral superiority to the men’s rights activists.

      Until then, well, the savvy among us will see right through what you’re doing. If you mount a white horse, those damsels will declare their admiration for you any day now.

      1. SHG Post author

        Come on, Mike. Max has a perpetual problem of being blinded by his passionate beliefs. It’s not his fault he can’t think beyond his passion.

  1. Max Kennerly

    “There may be evil women on the internet as well,” like… Lori Drew? You mention her as an example of CFAA overreach (which she was), but then segue into an odd implication by the end that the frequency of “he” as the perpetrator of revenge porn is an example of selective prosecution of men.

    There are legitimate First Amendment issues with criminalizing the publication of consensual pictures, but what’s the point of framing it as a feminist conspiracy against men? Why make the argument “creepy men versus their ex-girlfriends” instead of “the principles of free speech versus overcriminalization”?

  2. Steve

    Can I help? Please, please, please!!!

    Max, you completely blew it here:

    “but then segue into an odd implication by the end that the frequency of “he” as the perpetrator of revenge porn is an example of selective prosecution of men.”

    SHG was referring to Dewey’s “most evil” laundry list, which isn’t about revenge porn at all, but is a list of all men. You probably missed this because your view was obscured by your rectal walls.

    You’re welcome.

    1. SHG Post author

      Does no one use the reply button any more? No one at all? And yes, that’s it, except for the rectal walls part. He would have been blinded by my mean-iosity no matter what.

      1. Wheeze The People™

        Rectal Walls?? Any relation to “Sugar Walls”?? You know, that 1984 hit song written by Prince and sung by Sheena Easton. Cuz on first glance, sugar walls seem preferable to rectal walls, though I could be mussing something. Maybe I need to glance harder?? . . .

      2. william doriss

        You are an obsessive-compulsive, clean-freak par excellence. How does your wife stand you? Other than that, well,…

        1. SHG Post author

          A bit anal retentive, perhaps, but that’s generally considered a positive trait in a trial lawyer. Organization has its virtues. You will obviously have to trust me on that.

  3. DaveL

    In a bit of an ironic twist, one of Michael Crook’s many “crimes” turns out to be censorship trolling. He’s well known for sending out bogus DMCA takedown notices to bloggers for posting clips of his appearances on Fox News. Somehow I doubt Dewey recognizes this as a bond of kinship between the two of them.

    1. SHG Post author

      Indeed he did, and the EFF brought him down.

      But as ironic as it is, we don’t censor the censors, or censor the censor’s censor. That’s the price of intellectual honesty and faithful adherence to the Constitution. Even scum get rights.

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