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Go Daddy Sued For Hosting ‘Ex-Girlfriend’ Porn Site

Plaintiffs demand the hosting company shares responsibility for violating their privacy

On by Max Smolaks 0

US Internet hosting giant Go Daddy has been implicated in a lawsuit targeting administrators of so-called ‘revenge porn’ sites – a name for an Internet phenomenon where disgruntled ex-boyfriends or girlfriends post intimate, often naked pictures of their former partners online without permission.

The 16 plaintiffs accuse Texxxan.com, its hosting company and all of its subscribing members of breaking Texas state privacy laws.

Battle of the sexes

The rise in popularity of “revenge porn” sites is credited to Hunter Moore – an American entrepreneur who launched the website IsAnyoneUp? in 2009, after a particularly hostile break-up. According to Moore, at its peak, IsAnyoneUp? was serving 30 million page views per month before it was only closed last year.

The main problem with sites of this kind is they often include the real name and address of the unwitting victim, crossing the line between a harmless prank and real-life bullying.

According to Ars Technica, last week 16 named plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against one such website, Texxan.com, accusing it of violating Texas state privacy laws. This being a class action, the plaintiffs represent all of the women featured on the site.

In the court filing, Texxxan.com is accused of publishing private information “without obtaining permission or authorisation” from its female victims. In addition, plaintiffs believe that the website was “designed to cause severe embarrassment, humiliation and emotional distress”.

The lawsuit also holds the website’s hosting company Go Daddy accountable “under the doctrine of civil conspiracy”, as “the persons and/or entities hosting Texxxan.com”, along with “all subscribing members” of the website, which means the predominantly male audience.

The plaintiffs are convinced that Go Daddy profited from the website, so it should share the responsibility for its sleazy content. However, the Section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act states that online service providers are not to blame for the conduct of their users.

Two of the plaintiffs have also launched a campaign to outlaw ‘revenge porn’ sites.

After the case was filed, Texxxan.com switched to a ‘members-only’ model, but it currently remains online.

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Max Smolaks

Author: Max Smolaks

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