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US Senate and Navy computers tied to revenge porn site

Users both shared and requested nude photos.
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The Daily Beast reports today that a number of users of revenge porn site Anon-IB appear to be connecting from government computers. Einar Otto Stangvik, a security analyst with Norway's VG newspaper, was able to pull IP addresses from the website and they showed that a number of Anon-IB commenters and posters were logging on through IP addresses belonging to the US Navy, the US Senate, the Department of Energy and the Executive Office of the President.

Some of the messages originating from Senate IP addresses asked for nude photos, or "wins," of specific women while others included so-called "Xray" posts -- photos edited so the women in them appear to be nude or dressed in more revealing clothing. A post linked to the Executive Office of the President shared an image of a naked woman and claimed to have more that would be shared once others posted photos. Users connected to Navy IP addresses asked for photos of specific women -- including servicewomen -- and shared nude photos while teasing more.

The Daily Beast notes that having the IP addresses of Anon-IB users doesn't allow specific people to be linked to the site. And it's also possible that hackers could be routing traffic through the government computers. A Navy official told The Daily Beast, "The Navy holds all our employees -- military and civilian -- to the highest standards of personal conduct, expecting everyone to treat each other with dignity and respect. Those who conduct themselves contrary to our core values of honor, courage and commitment will be held accountable."

Fighting revenge porn has proved to be tough and the anonymity of sites like Anon-IB doesn't help. Twitter, Microsoft, Google and Pornhub have issued new rules or made reporting revenge porn easier in recent years while Facebook, which has struggled to fix its major revenge porn problem, released a prevention tool last year that requires users to upload their own nude photos -- a feature that was, naturally, met with skepticism.

Some governments have stepped in to tackle the problem as well. Australia created a national reporting tool last year and California launched a similar, but more limited, hub in 2015. A German court ruled in 2014 that subjects of nude photos can withdraw their consent, meaning, for example, an ex can't keep them around once the relationship ends if the person doesn't want them to. And as of 2015, revenge porn is a specific crime in the UK. The US Senate introduced a bill in November that proposes federal criminal liability for sharing revenge porn. There have also been some notable convictions of revenge porn peddlers with sentences ranging from a ban on sharing photos of others to 18 years in prison.

"Stolen, revenge motivated and otherwise abusive imagery posted online has become a very real issue over the last years," Stangvik said to The Daily Beast. "I fear that failure to deal with the problem will normalize online abusive behavior and sexual harassment, and that this will further nourish victim blaming and dismissal of the abuse as 'to be expected.'"

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