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Cyber Exploitation - Resources for Victims

Resources for Victims

1. What is cyber exploitation?

Cyber Exploitation is defined as the non-consensual distribution and publication of intimate photos or videos. These materials are usually stolen by ex-lovers, ex-spouses, associates, or even complete strangers through hacking, theft of a cell phone or computer, during a computer repair, a false personal ad, or other means. These photos or videos are then posted on websites or sold for profit to humiliate, degrade, harass, physically endanger, or extort the victim. In addition to intimate images, perpetrators often post other identifying information to accompany the image or video, including the victim’s name, links to social media accounts, email addresses, physical addresses of their place of employment and residence, phone numbers, and even social security information.

2. What is the harm?

Cyber exploitation is a serious crime that often results in significant harm to a victim’s personal and professional life and physical safety. Many victims of cyber exploitation face serious barriers to employment opportunities and academic success. In addition, victims suffer economic harm as a result of addressing the abuse and often suffer additional harm such as threats of physical violence, stalking, and criminal threats.1

While cyber exploitation affects both men and women, the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative’s study2 found that 90 percent of victims are women. The same study found that 93 percent of victims (of all sexes) suffered significant emotional distress as a result of their victimization, 51 percent had suicidal thoughts, and 49 percent stated they had been stalked or harassed online by users who saw their material. Further, decades of peer-reviewed research establishes that women often face more serious consequences as a result of sexual victimization. Cyber exploitation – like domestic violence, rape, and sexual harassment – disproportionately harms women and girls, leads to ongoing criminal threats and harassment, and undermines basic civil rights and public safety.

3. What California laws make cyber exploitation unlawful?

Two state laws expressly prohibit cyber exploitation—California Penal Code sections 647(j)(4)(A) and 647(j)(4)(B). In California, it is illegal for any person to intentionally distribute an image of an intimate body part or parts of another identifiable person, or an image of the person depicted engaged in an act of sexual intercourse, sodomy, oral copulation, sexual penetration, or an image of masturbation by the person depicted or in which the person depicted participates, when the persons agree or understand that the image shall remain private. The person distributing the image is criminally responsible when he/she knows or should know that the distribution of the image will cause serious emotional distress, and the person depicted suffers that distress. In addition, other California Penal Code sections, such as identity theft or extortion, may be triggered in a cyber exploitation case when a perpetrator steals images and uses them for any unlawful purpose or demands money to remove the unlawfully posted images.

Table of Computer (Property and Persons) Crimes

4. List of Additional Penal Code Sections Used to Investigate and Prosecute Cyber Exploitation Crimes:

  • Penal Code section 422 Criminal Threats (Misdemeanor/Felony)3
    • Willfully threatening to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the statement, made verbally, in writing, or by means of an electronic communication device, is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out
    • Penalty: Up to one year in county jail or four years in state prison
  • Full Penal Code
    1. Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the statement, made verbally, in writing, or by means of an electronic communication device, is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out, which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made, is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat, and thereby causes that person reasonably to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family's safety, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison.
    2. For purposes of this section, "immediate family" means any spouse, whether by marriage or not, parent, child, any person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree, or any other person who regularly resides in the household, or who, within the prior six months, regularly resided in the household.
    3. "Electronic communication device" includes, but is not limited to, telephones, cellular telephones, computers, video recorders, fax machines, or pagers. "Electronic communication" has the same meaning as the term defined in Subsection 12 of Section 2510 of Title 18 of the United States Code.
  • Penal Code section 502 Unauthorized Access to Computers, Computer Systems, and Computer Data (Most are Felonies)4
    • Gaining unauthorized access to computers, computer systems and computer data
    • Penalty: Fine not exceeding $10,000, imprisonment, or by both fine and imprisonment depending on the crime. In addition to any other civil remedy available, the person who suffers damage or loss to their property may bring a civil action against the violator for compensatory damages and injunctive relief, or other equitable relief
  • Full Penal Code
    1. It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this section to expand the degree of protection afforded to individuals, businesses, and governmental agencies from tampering, interference, damage, and unauthorized access to lawfully created computer data and computer systems. The Legislature finds and declares that the proliferation of computer technology has resulted in a concomitant proliferation of computer crime and other forms of unauthorized access to computers, computer systems, and computer data.

      The Legislature further finds and declares that protection of the integrity of all types and forms of lawfully created computers, computer systems, and computer data is vital to the protection of the privacy of individuals as well as to the well-being of financial institutions, business concerns, governmental agencies, and others within this state that lawfully utilize those computers, computer systems, and data.
    2. For the purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
      1. "Access" means to gain entry to, instruct, cause input to, cause output from, cause data processing with, or communicate with, the logical, arithmetical, or memory function resources of a computer, computer system, or computer network.
      2. "Computer network" means any system that provides communications between one or more computer systems and input/output devices including, but not limited to, display terminals, remote systems, mobile devices, and printers connected by telecommunication facilities.
      3. "Computer program or software" means a set of instructions or statements, and related data, that when executed in actual or modified form, cause a computer, computer system, or computer network to perform specified functions.
      4. "Computer services" includes, but is not limited to, computer time, data processing, or storage functions, Internet services, electronic mail services, electronic message services, or other uses of a computer, computer system, or computer network.
      5. "Computer system" means a device or collection of devices, including support devices and excluding calculators that are not programmable and capable of being used in conjunction with external files, one or more of which contain computer programs, electronic instructions, input data, and output data, that performs functions including, but not limited to, logic, arithmetic, data storage and retrieval, communication, and control.
      6. "Government computer system" means any computer system, or part thereof, that is owned, operated, or used by any federal, state, or local governmental entity.
      7. "Public safety infrastructure computer system" means any computer system, or part thereof, that is necessary for the health and safety of the public including computer systems owned, operated, or used by drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities, hospitals, emergency service providers, telecommunication companies, and gas and electric utility companies.
      8. "Data" means a representation of information, knowledge, facts, concepts, computer software, computer programs or instructions. Data may be in any form, in storage media, or as stored in the memory of the computer or in transit or presented on a display device.
      9. "Supporting documentation" includes, but is not limited to,all information, in any form, pertaining to the design, construction, classification, implementation, use, or modification of a computer, computer system, computer network, computer program, or computer software, which information is not generally available to the public and is necessary for the operation of a program, or computer software, which information is not generally available to the public and is necessary for the operation of a are.
      10. "Injury" means any alteration, deletion, damage, or destruction of a computer system, computer network, computer program, or data caused by the access, or the denial of access to legitimate users of a computer system, network, or program.
      11. "Victim expenditure" means any expenditure reasonably and necessarily incurred by the owner or lessee to verify that a computer system, computer network, computer program, or data was or was not altered, deleted, damaged, or destroyed by the access.
      12. "Computer contaminant" means any set of computer instructions that are designed to modify, damage, destroy, record, or transmit information within a computer, computer system, or computer network without the intent or permission of the owner of the information. They include, but are not limited to, a group of computer instructions commonly called viruses or worms, that are self-replicating or self-propagating and are designed to contaminate other computer programs or computer data, consume computer resources, modify, destroy, record, or transmit data, or in some other fashion usurp the normal operation of the computer, computer system, or computer network.
      13. "Internet domain name" means a globally unique, hierarchical reference to an Internet host or service, assigned through centralized Internet naming authorities, comprising a series of character strings separated by periods, with the rightmost character string specifying the top of the hierarchy.
      14. "Electronic mail" means an electronic message or computer file that is transmitted between two or more telecommunications devices; computers; computer networks, regardless of whether the network is a local, regional, or global network; or electronic devices capable or receiving electronic messages, regardless of whether the message is converted to hard copy format after receipt, viewed upon transmission, or stored for later retrieval.
      15. "Profile" means either of the following:
        1. A configuration of user data required by a computer so that the user may access programs or services and have the desired functionality on that computer.
        2. An Internet Web site user's personal page or section of a page that is made up of data, in text of graphical form, that displays significant, unique, or identifying information, including, but not limited to, listing acquaintances, interests, associations, activities, or personal statements.
    3. Except as provided in subdivision (h), any person who commits any of the following acts is guilty of a public offense:
      1. Knowingly accesses and without permission alters, damages, deletes, destroys, or otherwise uses any data, computer, computer system, or computer network in order to either (A) devise or execute any scheme or artifice to defraud, deceive, or extort, or (B) wrongfully control or obtain money, property, or data.
      2. Knowingly accesses and without permission takes, copies, or makes use of any data from a computer, computer system, or computer network, or takes or copies any supporting documentation, whether existing or residing internal or external to a computer, computer system, or computer network.
      3. Knowingly and without permission uses or causes to be used computer services.
      4. Knowingly accesses and without permission adds, alters, damages, deletes, or destroys any data, computer software, or computer programs which reside or exist internal or external to a computer, computer system, or computer network.
      5. Knowingly and without permission disrupts or causes the disruption of computer services or denies or causes the denial of computer services to an authorized user of a computer, computer system, or computer network.
      6. Knowingly and without permission provides or assists in providing a means of accessing a computer, computer system, or computer network in violation of this section.
      7. Knowingly and without permission accesses or causes to be accessed any computer, computer system, or computer network.
      8. Knowingly introduces any computer contaminant into any computer, computer system, or computer network.
      9. Knowingly and without permission uses the Internet domain name or profile of another individual, corporation, or entity in connection with the sending of one or more electronic mail messages or posts and thereby damages or causes damage to a computer, computer data, computer system, or computer network.
      10. Knowingly and without permission disrupts or causes the disruption of government computer services or denies or causes the denial of government computer services to an authorized user of a government computer, computer system, or computer network.
      11. Knowingly accesses and without permission adds, alters, damages, deletes, or destroys any data, computer software, or computer programs which reside or exist internal or external to a public safety infrastructure computer system computer, computer system, or computer network.
      12. Knowingly and without permission disrupts or causes the disruption of public safety infrastructure computer system computer services or denies or causes the denial of computer services to an authorized user of a public safety infrastructure computer system computer, computer system, or computer network.
      13. Knowingly and without permission provides or assists in providing a means of accessing a computer, computer system, or public safety infrastructure computer system computer, computer system, or computer network in violation of this section.
      14. Knowingly introduces any computer contaminant into any public safety infrastructure computer system computer, computer system, or computer network.
      1. Any person who violates any of the provisions of paragraph (1), (2), (4), (5), (10), (11), or (12) of subdivision (c) is punishable by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for 16 months, or two or three years, or by both that fine and imprisonment, or by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
      2. Any person who violates paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) is punishable as follows:
        1. For the first violation that does not result in injury, and where the value of the computer services used does not exceed nine hundred fifty dollars ($950), by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
        2. For any violation that results in a victim expenditure in an amount greater than five thousand dollars ($5,000) or in an injury, or if the value of the computer services used exceeds nine hundred fifty dollars ($950), or for any second or subsequent violation, by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for 16 months, or two or three years, or by both that fine and imprisonment, or by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
      3. Any person who violates paragraph (6), (7), or (13) of subdivision (c) is punishable as follows:
        1. For a first violation that does not result in injury, an infraction punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000).
        2. For any violation that results in a victim expenditure in an amount not greater than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or for a second or subsequent violation, by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
        3. For any violation that results in a victim expenditure in an amount greater than five thousand dollars ($5,000), by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for 16 months, or two or three years, or by both that fine and imprisonment, or by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
      4. Any person who violates paragraph (8) or (14) of subdivision (c) is punishable as follows:
        1. For a first violation that does not result in injury, a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars($5,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
        2. For any violation that results in injury, or for a second or subsequent violation, by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
      5. Any person who violates paragraph (9) of subdivision (c) is punishable as follows:
        1. For a first violation that does not result in injury, an infraction punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars($1,000).
        2. For any violation that results in injury, or for a second or subsequent violation, by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
      1. In addition to any other civil remedy available, the owner or lessee of the computer, computer system, computer network, computer program, or data who suffers damage or loss by reason of a violation of any of the provisions of subdivision (c) may bring a civil action against the violator for compensatory damages and injunctive relief or other equitable relief. Compensatory damages shall include any expenditure reasonably and necessarily incurred by the owner or lessee to verify that a computer system, computer network, computer program, or data was or was not altered, damaged, or deleted by the access. For the purposes of actions authorized by this subdivision, the conduct of an unemancipated minor shall be imputed to the parent or legal guardian having control or custody of the minor, pursuant to the provisions of Section 1714.1 of the Civil Code.
      2. In any action brought pursuant to this subdivision the court may award reasonable attorney's fees.
      3. A community college, state university, or academic institution accredited in this state is required to include computer-related crimes as a specific violation of college or university student conduct policies and regulations that may subject a student to disciplinary sanctions up to and including dismissal from the academic institution. This paragraph shall not apply to the University of California unless the Board of Regents adopts a resolution to that effect.
      4. In any action brought pursuant to this subdivision for a willful violation of the provisions of subdivision (c), where it is proved by clear and convincing evidence that a defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 3294 of the Civil Code, the court may additionally award punitive or exemplary damages.
      5. No action may be brought pursuant to this subdivision unless it is initiated within three years of the date of the act complained of, or the date of the discovery of the damage, whichever is later.
    4. This section shall not be construed to preclude the applicability of any other provision of the criminal law of thisstate which applies or may apply to any transaction, nor shall it make illegal any employee labor relations activities that are within the scope and protection of state or federal labor laws.
    5. Any computer, computer system, computer network, or any software or data, owned by the defendant, that is used during the commission of any public offense described in subdivision (c) or any computer, owned by the defendant, which is used as a repository for the storage of software or data illegally obtained in violation of subdivision (c) shall be subject to forfeiture, as specified in Section 502.01.
      1. Subdivision (c) does not apply to punish any acts which are committed by a person within the scope of his or her lawful employment. For purposes of this section, a person acts within the scope of his or her employment when he or she performs acts which are reasonably necessary to the performance of his or her work assignment.
      2. Paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) does not apply to penalize any acts committed by a person acting outside of his or her lawful employment, provided that the employee's activities do not cause an injury, to the employer or another, or provided that the value of supplies or computer services which are used does not exceed an accumulated total of two hundred fifty dollars ($250).
    6. No activity exempted from prosecution under paragraph (2) of subdivision (h) which incidentally violates paragraph (2), (4), or (7) of subdivision (c) shall be prosecuted under those paragraphs.
    7. For purposes of bringing a civil or a criminal action under this section, a person who causes, by any means, the access of a computer, computer system, or computer network in one jurisdiction from another jurisdiction is deemed to have personally accessed the computer, computer system, or computer network in each jurisdiction.
    8. In determining the terms and conditions applicable to a person convicted of a violation of this section the court shall consider the following:
      1. The court shall consider prohibitions on access to and use of computers.
      2. Except as otherwise required by law, the court shall consider alternate sentencing, including community service, if the defendant shows remorse and recognition of the wrongdoing, and an inclination not to repeat the offense.
  • Penal Code section 520 Extortion (Felony)5
    • Any person who extorts any money or other property from another, not amounting to robbery or carjacking, by means of force, or any threat (including exposing a secret)
    • Penalty: Imprisonment for two, three, or four years
  • Full Penal Code

    Every person who extorts any money or other property from another, under circumstances not amounting to robbery or carjacking, by means of force, or any threat, such as is mentioned in Section 519, shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for two, three or four years.

  • Penal Code section 524 Attempted Extortion (Felony)6
    • Any person who attempts to extort
    • Penalty: Imprisonment in the county jail not longer than one year or in the state prison or by fine not exceeding $10,000, or by both fine and imprisonment
  • Full Penal Code

    Every person who attempts, by means of any threat, such as is specified in Section 519 of this code, to extort money or other property from another is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not longer than one year or in the state prison or by fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both such fine and imprisonment.

  • Penal Code sections 182, 520, Conspiracy to Commit Extortion (Felony)7
    • Two or more persons conspiring to extort money or property from another under circumstances not amounting to robbery
    • Penalty: Imprisonment for five, seven, or nine years
  • Full Penal Code

      182.

    1. If two or more persons conspire:
      1. To commit any crime.
      2. Falsely and maliciously to indict another for any crime, or to procure another to be charged or arrested for any crime.
      3. Falsely to move or maintain any suit, action, or proceeding.
      4. To cheat and defraud any person of any property, by any means which are in themselves criminal, or to obtain money or property by false pretenses or by false promises with fraudulent intent not to perform those promises.
      5. To commit any act injurious to the public health, to public morals, or to pervert or obstruct justice, or the due administration of the laws.
      6. To commit any crime against the person of the President or Vice President of the United States, the Governor of any state or territory, any United States justice or judge, or the secretary of any of the executive departments of the United States.

        They are punishable as follows:

        When they conspire to commit any crime against the person of any official specified in paragraph (6), they are guilty of a felony and are punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for five, seven, or nine years.

        When they conspire to commit any other felony, they shall be punishable in the same manner and to the same extent as is provided for the punishment of that felony. If the felony is one for which different punishments are prescribed for different degrees, the jury or court which finds the defendant guilty thereof shall determine the degree of the felony the defendant conspired to commit. If the degree is not so determined, the punishment for conspiracy to commit the felony shall be that prescribed for the lesser degree, except in the case of conspiracy to commit murder, in which case the punishment shall be that prescribed for murder in the first degree.

        If the felony is conspiracy to commit two or more felonies which have different punishments and the commission of those felonies constitute but one offense of conspiracy, the penalty shall be that prescribed for the felony which has the greater maximum term.

        When they conspire to do an act described in paragraph (4), they shall be punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

        When they conspire to do any of the other acts described in this section, they shall be punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. When they receive a felony conviction for conspiring to commit identity theft, as defined in Section 530.5, the court may impose a fine of up to twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).

        All cases of conspiracy may be prosecuted and tried in the superior court of any county in which any overt act tending to effect the conspiracy shall be done.
    2. Upon a trial for conspiracy, in a case where an overt act is necessary to constitute the offense, the defendant cannot be convicted unless one or more overt acts are expressly alleged in the indictment or information, nor unless one of the acts alleged is proved; but other overt acts not alleged may be given in evidence.
    3. 520.
      Every person who extorts any money or other property from another, under circumstances not amounting to robbery or carjacking, by means of force, or any threat, such as is mentioned in Section 519, shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for two, three or four years.

  • Penal Code section 530.5 Identity Theft (Felony)8
    • Any person who willfully obtains someone’s personal identifying information and uses that information for any unlawful purpose (not just theft)
    • Penalty: Fine, by imprisonment in a county jail, or by both
  • Full Penal Code
    1. Every person who willfully obtains personal identifying information, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 530.55, of another person, and uses that information for any unlawful purpose, including to obtain, or attempt to obtain, credit, goods, services, real property, or medical information without the consent of that person, is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction therefor, shall be punished by a fine, by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.
    2. In any case in which a person willfully obtains personal identifying information of another person, uses that information to commit a crime in addition to a violation of subdivision (a), and is convicted of that crime, the court records shall reflect that the person whose identity was falsely used to commit the crime did not commit the crime.
      1. Every person who, with the intent to defraud, acquires or retains possession of the personal identifying information, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 530.55, of another person is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction therefor, shall be punished by a fine, by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment.
      2. Every person who, with the intent to defraud, acquires or retains possession of the personal identifying information, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 530.55, of another person, and who has previously been convicted of a violation of this section, upon conviction therefor shall be punished by a fine, by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.
      3. Every person who, with the intent to defraud, acquires or retains possession of the personal identifying information, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 530.55, of 10 or more other persons is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction therefor, shall be punished by a fine, by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.
      1. Every person who, with the intent to defraud, sells, transfers, or conveys the personal identifying information, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 530.55, of another person is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction therefor, shall be punished by a fine, by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.
      2. Every person who, with actual knowledge that the personal identifying information, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 530.55, of a specific person will be used to commit a violation of subdivision (a), sells, transfers, or conveys that same personal identifying information is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction therefor, shall be punished by a fine, by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170, or by both a fine and imprisonment.
    3. Every person who commits mail theft, as defined in Section 1708 of Title 18 of the United States Code, is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction therefor shall be punished by a fine, by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment. Prosecution under this subdivision shall not limit or preclude prosecution under any other provision of law, including, but not limited to, subdivisions (a) to (c), inclusive, of this section.
    4. An interactive computer service or access software provider, as defined in subsection (f) of Section 230 of Title 47 of the United States Code, shall not be liable under this section unless the service or provider acquires, transfers, sells, conveys, or retains possession of personal information with the intent to defraud.
  • Penal Code section 632 Recording Confidential Communications (Felony)9
    • Any person who, intentionally and without the consent of all parties to a confidential communication, by means of any electronic amplifying or recording device, eavesdrops upon or records the confidential communication
    • Penalty: Fine not exceeding $2,500, or imprisonment in the county jail or state prison, or by both fine and imprisonment
  • Full Penal Code
    1. Every person who, intentionally and without the consent of all parties to a confidential communication, by means of any electronic amplifying or recording device, eavesdrops upon or records the confidential communication, whether the communication is carried on among the parties in the presence of one another or by means of a telegraph, telephone, or other device, except a radio, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison, or by both that fine and imprisonment. If the person has previously been convicted of a violation of this section or Section 631, 632.5, 632.6, 632.7, or 636, the person shall be punished by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
    2. The term "person" includes an individual, business association, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, or other legal entity, and an individual acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of any government or subdivision thereof, whether federal, state, or local, but excludes an individual known by all parties to a confidential communication to be overhearing or recording the communication.
    3. The term "confidential communication" includes any communication carried on in circumstances as may reasonably indicate that any party to the communication desires it to be confined to the parties thereto, but excludes a communication made in a public gathering or in any legislative, judicial, executive or administrative proceeding open to the public, or in any other circumstance in which the parties to the communication may reasonably expect that the communication may be overheard or recorded.
    4. Except as proof in an action or prosecution for violation of this section, no evidence obtained as a result of eavesdropping upon or recording a confidential communication in violation of this section shall be admissible in any judicial, administrative, legislative, or other proceeding.
    5. This section does not apply (1) to any public utility engaged in the business of providing communications services and facilities, or to the officers, employees or agents thereof, where the acts otherwise prohibited by this section are for the purpose of construction, maintenance, conduct or operation of the services and facilities of the public utility, or (2) to the use of any instrument, equipment, facility, or service furnished and used pursuant to the tariffs of a public utility, or (3) to any telephonic communication system used for communication exclusively within a state, county, city and county, or city correctional facility.
    6. This section does not apply to the use of hearing aids and similar devices, by persons afflicted with impaired hearing, for the purpose of overcoming the impairment to permit the hearing of sounds ordinarily audible to the human ear.
  • Penal Code section 646.9 Stalking (Felony/Misdemeanor)10
    • Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or willfully and maliciously harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family
    • Penalty: Imprisonment in the county jail or by a fine of not more than $1,000, or by both fine and imprisonment
  • Full Penal Code
    1. Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or willfully and maliciously harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family is guilty of the crime of stalking, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment in the state prison.
    2. Any person who violates subdivision (a) when there is a temporary restraining order, injunction, or any other court order in effect prohibiting the behavior described in subdivision (a) against the same party, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years.
      1. Every person who, after having been convicted of a felony under Section 273.5, 273.6, or 422, commits a violation of subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or five years.
      2. Every person who, after having been convicted of a felony under subdivision (a), commits a violation of this section shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or five years.
    3. In addition to the penalties provided in this section, the sentencing court may order a person convicted of a felony under this section to register as a sex offender pursuant to Section 290.006.
    4. For the purposes of this section, "harasses" means engages in a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, torments, or terrorizes the person, and that serves no legitimate purpose.
    5. For the purposes of this section, "course of conduct" means two or more acts occurring over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose. Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of "course of conduct."
    6. For the purposes of this section, "credible threat" means a verbal or written threat, including that performed through the use of an electronic communication device, or a threat implied by a pattern of conduct or a combination of verbal, written, or electronically communicated statements and conduct, made with the intent to place the person that is the target of the threat in reasonable fear for his or her safety or the safety of his or her family, and made with the apparent ability to carry out the threat so as to cause the person who is the target of the threat to reasonably fear for his or her safety or the safety of his or her family. It is not necessary to prove that the defendant had the intent to actually carry out the threat. The present incarceration of a person making the threat shall not be a bar to prosecution under this section. Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of "credible threat."
    7. For purposes of this section, the term "electronic communication device" includes, but is not limited to, telephones, cellular phones, computers, video recorders, fax machines, or pagers. "Electronic communication" has the same meaning as the term defined in Subsection 12 of Section 2510 of Title 18 of the United States Code.
    8. This section shall not apply to conduct that occurs during labor picketing.
    9. If probation is granted, or the execution or imposition of a sentence is suspended, for any person convicted under this section, it shall be a condition of probation that the person participate in counseling, as designated by the court. However, the court, upon a showing of good cause, may find that the counseling requirement shall not be imposed.
      1. The sentencing court also shall consider issuing an order restraining the defendant from any contact with the victim, that may be valid for up to 10 years, as determined by the court. It is the intent of the Legislature that the length of any restraining order be based upon the seriousness of the facts before the court, the probability of future violations, and the safety of the victim and his or her immediate family.
      2. This protective order may be issued by the court whether the defendant is sentenced to state prison, county jail, or if imposition of sentence is suspended and the defendant is placed on probation.
    10. For purposes of this section, "immediate family" means any spouse, parent, child, any person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree, or any other person who regularly resides in the household, or who, within the prior six months, regularly resided in the household.
    11. The court shall consider whether the defendant would benefit from treatment pursuant to Section 2684. If it is determined to be appropriate, the court shall recommend that the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation make a certification as provided in Section 2684. Upon the certification, the defendant shall be evaluated and transferred to the appropriate hospital for treatment pursuant to Section 2684.
  • Penal Code section 647(j) Invasion of Privacy under Disorderly Conduct (Misdemeanor)11
    • Any person who looks into, views, or records areas an area where a person has a legal expectation of privacy, with the intent to invade the privacy of a person
    • Penalty: Imprisonment in a county jail, a fine, or both
  • Full Penal Code
    1. Any person who looks through a hole or opening, into, or otherwise views, by means of any instrumentality, including, but not limited to, a periscope, telescope, binoculars, camera, motion picture camera, camcorder, or mobile phone, the interior of a bedroom, bathroom, changing room, fitting room, dressing room, or tanning booth, or the interior of any other area in which the occupant has a reasonable expectation of privacy, with the intent to invade the privacy of a person or persons inside. This subdivision shall not apply to those areas of a private business used to count currency or other negotiable instruments.
    2. Any person who uses a concealed camcorder, motion picture camera, or photographic camera of any type, to secretly videotape, film, photograph, or record by electronic means, another, identifiable person under or through the clothing being worn by that other person, for the purpose of viewing the body of, or the undergarments worn by, that other person, without the consent or knowledge of that other person, with the intent to arouse, appeal to, or gratify the lust, passions, or sexual desires of that person and invade the privacy of that other person, under circumstances in which the other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
      1. Any person who uses a concealed camcorder, motion picture camera, or photographic camera of any type, to secretly videotape, film, photograph, or record by electronic means, another, identifiable person who may be in a state of full or partial undress, for the purpose of viewing the body of, or the undergarments worn by, that other person, without the consent or knowledge of that other person, in the interior of a bedroom, bathroom, changing room, fitting room, dressing room, or tanning booth, or the interior of any other area in which that other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, with the intent to invade the privacy of that other person.
      2. Neither of the following is a defense to the crime specified in this paragraph:
        1. The defendant was a cohabitant, landlord, tenant, cotenant, employer, employee, or business partner or associate of the victim, or an agent of any of these.
        2. The victim was not in a state of full or partial undress.
      1. Any person who intentionally distributes the image of the intimate body part or parts of another identifiable person, or an image of the person depicted engaged in an act of sexual intercourse, sodomy, oral copulation, sexual penetration, or an image of masturbation by the person depicted or in which the person depicted participates, under circumstances in which the persons agree or understand that the image shall remain private, the person distributing the image knows or should know that distribution of the image will cause serious emotional distress, and the person depicted suffers that distress.
      2. A person intentionally distributes an image described in subparagraph (A) when he or she personally distributes the image, or arranges, specifically requests, or intentionally causes another person to distribute that image.
      3. As used in this paragraph, "intimate body part" means any portion of the genitals, the anus and in the case of a female, also includes any portion of the breasts below the top of the areola, that is either uncovered or clearly visible through clothing.
      4. It shall not be a violation of this paragraph to distribute an image described in subparagraph (A) if any of the following applies:
        1. The distribution is made in the course of reporting an unlawful activity.
        2. The distribution is made in compliance with a subpoena or other court order for use in a legal proceeding.
        3. The distribution is made in the course of a lawful public proceeding.
    3. This subdivision shall not preclude punishment under any section of law providing for greater punishment.
  • Penal Code section 653m Annoying or Threatening Communication (Misdemeanor)12
    • Any person who, with the intent to annoy, harass, or threaten telephones or makes contact by means of an electronic communication devices with another is guilty of a misdemeanor
    • Penalty: Six months in county jail, a fine up to one thousand dollars, or both
  • Full Penal Code
    1. Every person who, with intent to annoy, telephones or makes contact by means of an electronic communication device with another and addresses to or about the other person any obscene language or addresses to the other person any threat to inflict injury to the person or property of the person addressed or any member of his or her family, is guilty of a misdemeanor. Nothing in this subdivision shall apply to telephone calls or electronic contacts made in good faith.
    2. Every person who, with intent to annoy or harass, makes repeated telephone calls or makes repeated contact by means of an electronic communication device, or makes any combination of calls or contact, to another person is, whether or not conversation ensues from making the telephone call or contact by means of an electronic communication device, guilty of a misdemeanor. Nothing in this subdivision shall apply to telephone calls or electronic contacts made in good faith or during the ordinary course and scope of business.
    3. Any offense committed by use of a telephone may be deemed to have been committed when and where the telephone call or calls were made or received. Any offense committed by use of an electronic communication device or medium, including the Internet, may be deemed to have been committed when and where the electronic communication or communications were originally sent or first viewed by the recipient.
    4. Subdivision (a) or (b) is violated when the person acting with intent to annoy makes a telephone call or contact by means of an electronic communication device requesting a return call and performs the acts prohibited under subdivision (a) or (b) upon receiving the return call.
    5. Subdivision (a) or (b) is violated when a person knowingly permits any telephone or electronic communication under the person's control to be used for the purposes prohibited by those subdivisions.
    6. If probation is granted, or the execution or imposition of sentence is suspended, for any person convicted under this section, the court may order as a condition of probation that the person participate in counseling.
    7. For purposes of this section, the term "electronic communication device" includes, but is not limited to, telephones, cellular phones, computers, video recorders, facsimile machines, pagers, personal digital assistants, smartphones, and any other device that transfers signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, or data. "Electronic communication device" also includes, but is not limited to, videophones, TTY/TDD devices, and all other devices used to aid or assist communication to or from deaf or disabled persons. "Electronic communication" has the same meaning as the term defined in Subsection 12 of Section 2510 of Title 18 of the United States Code.
  • Penal Code section 653.2 Prohibited Distribution or Publication (Misdemeanor)13
    • Any person who, by means of electronic or online publication of personal identifying information, intends to cause fear or unwanted contact with another
    • Penalty: Up to one year in county jail, a fine of no more than one thousand dollars, or both
  • Full Penal Code
    1. Every person who, with intent to place another person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of the other person's immediate family, by means of an electronic communication device, and without consent of the other person, and for the purpose of imminently causing that other person unwanted physical contact, injury, or harassment, by a third party, electronically distributes, publishes, e-mails, hyperlinks, or makes available for downloading, personal identifying information, including, but not limited to, a digital image of another person, or an electronic message of a harassing nature about another person, which would be likely to incite or produce that unlawful action, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in a county jail, by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.
    2. For purposes of this section, "electronic communication device" includes, but is not limited to, telephones, cell phones, computers, Internet Web pages or sites, Internet phones, hybrid cellular/Internet/wireless devices, personal digital assistants (PDAs), video recorders, fax machines, or pagers. "Electronic communication" has the same meaning as the term is defined in Section 2510(12) of Title 18 of the United States Code.
    3. For purposes of this section, the following terms apply:
      1. "Harassment" means a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that a reasonable person would consider as seriously alarming, seriously annoying, seriously tormenting, or seriously terrorizing the person and that serves no legitimate purpose.
      2. "Of a harassing nature" means of a nature that a reasonable person would consider as seriously alarming, seriously annoying, seriously tormenting, or seriously terrorizing of the person and that serves no legitimate purpose.
  • Penal Code section 1524(a) Search Warrant (effective January 1, 2016)14
    • Allows law enforcement to obtain a search warrant for cyber exploitation involving an adult or minor

  • Full Penal Code
    1. A search warrant may be issued upon any of the following grounds:
      1. When the property was stolen or embezzled.
      2. When the property or things were used as the means of committing a felony.
      3. When the property or things are in the possession of any person with the intent to use them as a means of committing a public offense, or in the possession of another to whom he or she may have delivered them for the purpose of concealing them or preventing them from being discovered.
      4. When the property or things to be seized consist of any item or constitute any evidence that tends to show a felony has been committed, or tends to show that a particular person has committed a felony.
      5. When the property or things to be seized consist of evidence that tends to show that sexual exploitation of a child, in violation of Section 311.3, or possession of matter depicting sexual conduct of a person under 18 years of age, in violation of Section 311.11, has occurred or is occurring.
      6. When there is a warrant to arrest a person.
      7. When a provider of electronic communication service or remote computing service has records or evidence, as specified in Section 1524.3, showing that property was stolen or embezzled constituting a misdemeanor, or that property or things are in the possession of any person with the intent to use them as a means of committing a misdemeanor public offense, or in the possession of another to whom he or she may have delivered them for the purpose of concealing them or preventing their discovery.
      8. When the property or things to be seized include an item or any evidence that tends to show a violation of Section 3700.5 of the Labor Code, or tends to show that a particular person has violated Section 3700.5 of the Labor Code.
      9. When the property or things to be seized include a firearm or any other deadly weapon at the scene of, or at the premises occupied or under the control of the person arrested in connection with, a domestic violence incident involving a threat to human life or a physical assault as provided in Section 18250. This section does not affect warrantless seizures otherwise authorized by Section 18250.
      10. When the property or things to be seized include a firearm or any other deadly weapon that is owned by, or in the possession of, or in the custody or control of, a person described in subdivision (a) of Section 8102 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
      11. When the property or things to be seized include a firearm that is owned by, or in the possession of, or in the custody or control of, a person who is subject to the prohibitions regarding firearms pursuant to Section 6389 of the Family Code, if a prohibited firearm is possessed, owned, in the custody of, or controlled by a person against whom a protective order has been issued pursuant to Section 6218 of the Family Code, the person has been lawfully served with that order, and the person has failed to relinquish the firearm as required by law.
      12. When the information to be received from the use of a tracking device constitutes evidence that tends to show that either a felony, a misdemeanor violation of the Fish and Game Code, or a misdemeanor violation of the Public Resources Code has been committed or is being committed, tends to show that a particular person has committed a felony, a misdemeanor violation of the Fish and Game Code, or a misdemeanor violation of the Public Resources Code, or is committing a felony, a misdemeanor violation of the Fish and Game Code, or a misdemeanor violation of the Public Resources Code, or will assist in locating an individual who has committed or is committing a felony, a misdemeanor violation of the Fish and Game Code, or a misdemeanor violation of the Public Resources Code. A tracking device search warrant issued pursuant to this paragraph shall be executed in a manner meeting the requirements specified in subdivision (b) of Section 1534.
      13. When a sample of the blood of a person constitutes evidence that tends to show a violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153 of the Vehicle Code and the person from whom the sample is being sought has refused an officer's request to submit to, or has failed to complete, a blood test as required by Section 23612 of the Vehicle Code, and the sample will be drawn from the person in a reasonable, medically approved manner. This paragraph is not intended to abrogate a court's mandate to determine the propriety of the issuance of a search warrant on a case-by-case basis.
      14. Beginning January 1, 2016, the property or things to be seized are firearms or ammunition or both that are owned by, in the possession of, or in the custody or control of a person who is the subject of a gun violence restraining order that has been issued pursuant to Division 3.2 (commencing with Section 18100) of Title 2 of Part 6, if a prohibited firearm or ammunition or both is possessed, owned, in the custody of, or controlled by a person against whom a gun violence restraining order has been issued, the person has been lawfully served with that order, and the person has failed to relinquish the firearm as required by law.
  • Penal Code sections 502.01 and 647.8 Forfeiture (effective January 1, 2016)15
    • Establishes forfeiture criminal proceedings for cyber exploitation images and the equipment used in committing the offense

  • Full Penal Code

      502.01.

    1. As used in this section:
      1. "Property subject to forfeiture" means any property of the defendant that is illegal telecommunications equipment as defined in subdivision (g) of Section 502.8, or a computer, computer system, or computer network, and any software or data residing thereon, if the telecommunications device, computer, computer system, or computer network was used in committing a violation of, or conspiracy to commit a violation of, subdivision (b) of Section 272, Section 288, 288.2, 311.1, 311.2, 311.3, 311.4, 311.5, 311.10, 311.11, 422, 470, 470a, 472, 475, 476, 480, 483.5, 484g, or subdivision (a), (b), or (d) of Section 484e, subdivision (a) of Section 484f, subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 484i, subdivision (c) of Section 502, or Section 502.7, 502.8, 529, 529a, or 530.5, 537e, 593d, 593e, or 646.9, or was used as a repository for the storage of software or data obtained in violation of those provisions. Forfeiture shall not be available for any property used solely in the commission of an infraction. If the defendant is a minor, it also includes property of the parent or guardian of the defendant.
      2. "Sentencing court" means the court sentencing a person found guilty of violating or conspiring to commit a violation of subdivision (b) of Section 272, Section 288, 288.2, 311.1, 311.2, 311.3, 311.4, 311.5, 311.10, 311.11, 422, 470, 470a, 472, 475, 476, 480, 483.5, 484g, or subdivision (a), (b), or (d) of Section 484e, subdivision (d) of Section 484e, subdivision (a) of Section 484f, subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 484i, subdivision (c) of Section 502, or Section 502.7, 502.8, 529, 529a, 530.5, 537e, 593d, 593e, or 646.9, or, in the case of a minor, found to be a person described in Section 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code because of a violation of those provisions, the juvenile court.
      3. "Interest" means any property interest in the property subject to forfeiture.
      4. "Security interest" means an interest that is a lien, mortgage, security interest, or interest under a conditional sales contract.
      5. "Value" has the following meanings:
        1. When counterfeit items of computer software are manufactured or possessed for sale, the "value" of those items shall be equivalent to the retail price or fair market price of the true items that are counterfeited.
        2. When counterfeited but unassembled components of computer software packages are recovered, including, but not limited to, counterfeited computer diskettes, instruction manuals, or licensing envelopes, the "value" of those components of computer software packages shall be equivalent to the retail price or fair market price of the number of completed computer software packages that could have been made from those components.
    2. The sentencing court shall, upon petition by the prosecuting attorney, at any time following sentencing, or by agreement of all parties, at the time of sentencing, conduct a hearing to determine whether any property or property interest is subject to forfeiture under this section. At the forfeiture hearing, the prosecuting attorney shall have the burden of establishing, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the property or property interests are subject to forfeiture. The prosecuting attorney may retain seized property that may be subject to forfeiture until the sentencing hearing.
    3. Prior to the commencement of a forfeiture proceeding, the law enforcement agency seizing the property subject to forfeiture shall make an investigation as to any person other than the defendant who may have an interest in it. At least 30 days before the hearing to determine whether the property should be forfeited, the prosecuting agency shall send notice of the hearing to any person who may have an interest in the property that arose before the seizure.

      A person claiming an interest in the property shall file a motion for the redemption of that interest at least 10 days before the hearing on forfeiture, and shall send a copy of the motion to the prosecuting agency and to the probation department.

      If a motion to redeem an interest has been filed, the sentencing court shall hold a hearing to identify all persons who possess valid interests in the property. No person shall hold a valid interest in the property if, by a preponderance of the evidence, the prosecuting agency shows that the person knew or should have known that the property was being used in violation of, or conspiracy to commit a violation of, subdivision (b) of Section 272, Section 288, 288.2, 311.1, 311.2, 311.3, 311.4, 311.5, 311.10, 311.11, 470, 470a, 472, 475, 476, 480, 483.5, 484g, or subdivision (a), (b), or (d) of Section 484e, subdivision (a) of Section 484f, subdivision (b) or © of Section 484i, subdivision (c) of Section 502, or Section 502.7, 502.8, 529, 529a, 530.5, 537e, 593d, 593e, or 646.9, and that the person did not take reasonable steps to prevent that use, or if the interest is a security interest, the person knew or should have known at the time that the security interest was created that the property would be used for a violation.
    4. If the sentencing court finds that a person holds a valid interest in the property, the following provisions shall apply:
      1. The court shall determine the value of the property.
      2. The court shall determine the value of each valid interest in the property.
      3. If the value of the property is greater than the value of the interest, the holder of the interest shall be entitled to ownership of the property upon paying the court the difference between the value of the property and the value of the valid interest.

        If the holder of the interest declines to pay the amount determined under paragraph (2), the court may order the property sold and designate the prosecutor or any other agency to sell the property. The designated agency shall be entitled to seize the property and the holder of the interest shall forward any documentation underlying the interest, including any ownership certificates for that property, to the designated agency. The designated agency shall sell the property and pay the owner of the interest the proceeds, up to the value of that interest.
      4. If the value of the property is less than the value of the interest, the designated agency shall sell the property and pay the owner of the interest the proceeds, up to the value of that interest.
    5. If the defendant was a minor at the time of the offense, this subdivision shall apply to property subject to forfeiture that is the property of the parent or guardian of the minor.
      1. The prosecuting agency shall notify the parent or guardian of the forfeiture hearing at least 30 days before the date set for the hearing.
      2. The computer or telecommunications device shall not be subject to forfeiture if the parent or guardian files a signed statement with the court at least 10 days before the date set for the hearing that the minor shall not have access to any computer or telecommunications device owned by the parent or guardian for two years after the date on which the minor is sentenced.
      3. If the minor is convicted of a violation of Section 288, 288.2, 311.1, 311.2, 311.3, 311.4, 311.5, 311.10, 311.11, 470, 470a, 472, 476, 480, or subdivision (b) of Section 484e, subdivision (d) of Section 484e, subdivision (a) of Section 484f, subdivision (b) of Section 484i, subdivision (c) of Section 502, or Section 502.7, 502.8, 529, 529a, or 530.5, within two years after the date on which the minor is sentenced, and the violation involves a computer or telecommunications device owned by the parent or guardian, the original property subject to forfeiture, and the property involved in the new offense, shall be subject to forfeiture notwithstanding paragraph (2).
      4. Notwithstanding paragraph (1), (2), or (3), or any other provision of this chapter, if a minor's parent or guardian makes full restitution to the victim of a crime enumerated in this chapter in an amount or manner determined by the court, the forfeiture provisions of this chapter do not apply to the property of that parent or guardian if the property was located in the family's primary residence during the commission of the crime.
    6. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the court may exercise its discretion to deny forfeiture where the court finds that the convicted defendant, or minor adjudicated to come within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, is not likely to use the property otherwise subject to forfeiture for future illegal acts.
    7. If the defendant is found to have the only valid interest in the property subject to forfeiture, it shall be distributed as follows:
      1. First, to the victim, if the victim elects to take the property as full or partial restitution for injury, victim expenditures, or compensatory damages, as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (e) of Section 502. If the victim elects to receive the property under this paragraph, the value of the property shall be determined by the court and that amount shall be credited against the restitution owed by the defendant. The victim shall not be penalized for electing not to accept the forfeited property in lieu of full or partial restitution.
      2. Second, at the discretion of the court, to one or more of the following agencies or entities:
        1. The prosecuting agency.
        2. The public entity of which the prosecuting agency is a part.
        3. The public entity whose officers or employees conducted the investigation resulting in forfeiture.
        4. Other state and local public entities, including school districts.
        5. Nonprofit charitable organizations.
    8. If the property is to be sold, the court may designate the prosecuting agency or any other agency to sell the property at auction. The proceeds of the sale shall be distributed by the court as follows:
      1. To the bona fide or innocent purchaser or encumbrancer, conditional sales vendor, or mortgagee of the property up to the amount of his or her interest in the property, if the court orders a distribution to that person.
      2. The balance, if any, to be retained by the court, subject to the provisions for distribution under subdivision (g).

List of Criminal and Related Cyber Exploitation Crimes under Federal Law:

  • 18 U.S.C. section 875(c) Threat Through Interstate Communications16
    • A perpetrator must: (1) knowingly make a communication containing a true threat to injure in interstate commerce or foreign commerce, and (2) intends the communication to be a true threat to injure another or knows that the recipient of the threat would understand it to be a threat
    • Penalty: A fine, imprisonment for not more than two years, or both
  • Full Penal Code

    Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

  • 18 U.S.C. section 1030 Unauthorized Access to a Computer17
    • Unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information
    • Penalty: A fine, imprisonment, or both
  • Full Penal Code
    1. Whoever—
      1. having knowingly accessed a computer without authorization or exceeding authorized access, and by means of such conduct having obtained information that has been determined by the United States Government pursuant to an Executive order or statute to require protection against unauthorized disclosure for reasons of national defense or foreign relations, or any restricted data, as defined in paragraph y. of section 11 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, with reason to believe that such information so obtained could be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation willfully communicates, delivers, transmits, or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it;
      2. intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access, and thereby obtains—
        1. information contained in a financial record of a financial institution, or of a card issuer as defined in section 1602(n) of title 15, or contained in a file of a consumer reporting agency on a consumer, as such terms are defined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.);
        2. information from any department or agency of the United States; or
        3. information from any protected computer;
      3. intentionally, without authorization to access any nonpublic computer of a department or agency of the United States, accesses such a computer of that department or agency that is exclusively for the use of the Government of the United States or, in the case of a computer not exclusively for such use, is used by or for the Government of the United States and such conduct affects that use by or for the Government of the United States;
      4. knowingly and with intent to defraud, accesses a protected computer without authorization, or exceeds authorized access, and by means of such conduct furthers the intended fraud and obtains anything of value, unless the object of the fraud and the thing obtained consists only of the use of the computer and the value of such use is not more than $5,000 in any 1-year period;
        1. knowingly causes the transmission of a program, information, code, or command, and as a result of such conduct, intentionally causes damage without authorization, to a protected computer;
        2. intentionally accesses a protected computer without authorization, and as a result of such conduct, recklessly causes damage; or
        3. intentionally accesses a protected computer without authorization, and as a result of such conduct, causes damage and loss.
      5. knowingly and with intent to defraud traffics (as defined in section 1029) in any password or similar information through which a computer may be accessed without authorization, if—
        1. such trafficking affects interstate or foreign commerce; or
        2. such computer is used by or for the Government of the United States;
      6. with intent to extort from any person any money or other thing of value, transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any—
        1. threat to cause damage to a protected computer;
        2. threat to obtain information from a protected computer without authorization or in excess of authorization or to impair the confidentiality of information obtained from a protected computer without authorization or by exceeding authorized access; or
        3. demand or request for money or other thing of value in relation to damage to a protected computer, where such damage was caused to facilitate the extortion; shall be punished as provided in subsection (c) of this section.
    2. Whoever conspires to commit or attempts to commit an offense under subsection (a) of this section shall be punished as provided in subsection (c) of this section.
    3. The punishment for an offense under subsection (a) or (b) of this section is—
        1. a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than ten years, or both, in the case of an offense under subsection (a)(1) of this section which does not occur after a conviction for another offense under this section, or an attempt to commit an offense punishable under this subparagraph; and
        2. a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both, in the case of an offense under subsection (a)(1) of this section which occurs after a conviction for another offense under this section, or an attempt to commit an offense punishable under this subparagraph;
        1. except as provided in subparagraph (B), a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, in the case of an offense under subsection (a)(2), (a)(3), or (a)(6) of this section which does not occur after a conviction for another offense under this section, or an attempt to commit an offense punishable under this subparagraph;
        2. a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or both, in the case of an offense under subsection (a)(2), or an attempt to commit an offense punishable under this subparagraph, if—
          1. the offense was committed for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain;
          2. the offense was committed in furtherance of any criminal or tortious act in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States or of any State; or
          3. the value of the information obtained exceeds $5,000; and
        3. a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than ten years, or both, in the case of an offense under subsection (a)(2), (a)(3) or (a)(6) of this section which occurs after a conviction for another offense under this section, or an attempt to commit an offense punishable under this subparagraph;
        1. a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both, in the case of an offense under subsection (a)(4) or (a)(7) of this section which does not occur after a conviction for another offense under this section, or an attempt to commit an offense punishable under this subparagraph; and
        2. a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than ten years, or both, in the case of an offense under subsection (a)(4), or (a)(7) of this section which occurs after a conviction for another offense under this section, or an attempt to commit an offense punishable under this subparagraph;
        1. except as provided in subparagraphs (E) and (F), a fine under this title, imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or both, in the case of—
          1. an offense under subsection (a)(5)(B), which does not occur after a conviction for another offense under this section, if the offense caused (or, in the case of an attempted offense, would, if completed, have caused)—
            1. loss to 1 or more persons during any 1-year period (and, for purposes of an investigation, prosecution, or other proceeding brought by the United States only, loss resulting from a related course of conduct affecting 1 or more other protected computers) aggregating at least $5,000 in value;
            2. the modification or impairment, or potential modification or impairment, of the medical examination, diagnosis, treatment, or care of 1 or more individuals;
            3. physical injury to any person;
            4. a threat to public health or safety;
            5. damage affecting a computer used by or for an entity of the United States Government in furtherance of the administration of justice, national defense, or national security; or
            6. damage affecting 10 or more protected computers during any 1-year period; or
          2. an attempt to commit an offense punishable under this subparagraph;
        2. except as provided in subparagraphs (E) and (F), a fine under this title, imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both, in the case of—
          1. an offense under subsection (a)(5)(A), which does not occur after a conviction for another offense under this section, if the offense caused (or, in the case of an attempted offense, would, if completed, have caused) a harm provided in subclauses (I) through (VI) of subparagraph (A)(i); or
          2. an attempt to commit an offense punishable under this subparagraph;
        3. except as provided in subparagraphs (E) and (F), a fine under this title, imprisonment for not more than 20 years, or both, in the case of—
          1. an offense or an attempt to commit an offense under subparagraphs (A) or (B) ofsubsection (a)(5) that occurs after a conviction for another offense under this section; or
          2. an attempt to commit an offense punishable under this subparagraph;
        4. a fine under this title, imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both, in the case of—
          1. an offense or an attempt to commit an offense under subsection (a)(5)(C) that occurs after a conviction for another offense under this section; or
          2. an attempt to commit an offense punishable under this subparagraph;
        5. if the offender attempts to cause or knowingly or recklessly causes serious bodily injury from conduct in violation of subsection (a)(5)(A), a fine under this title, imprisonment for not more than 20 years, or both;
        6. if the offender attempts to cause or knowingly or recklessly causes death from conduct in violation of subsection (a)(5)(A), a fine under this title, imprisonment for any term of years or for life, or both; or
        7. a fine under this title, imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or both, for—
          1. any other offense under subsection (a)(5); or
          2. an attempt to commit an offense punishable under this subparagraph.
      1. The United States Secret Service shall, in addition to any other agency having such authority, have the authority to investigate offenses under this section.
      2. The Federal Bureau of Investigation shall have primary authority to investigate offenses under subsection (a)(1) for any cases involving espionage, foreign counterintelligence, information protected against unauthorized disclosure for reasons of national defense or foreign relations, or Restricted Data (as that term is defined in section 11y of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2014(y)), except for offenses affecting the duties of the United States Secret Service pursuant to section 3056(a) of this title.
      3. Such authority shall be exercised in accordance with an agreement which shall be entered into by the Secretary of the Treasury and the Attorney General.
    4. As used in this section—
      1. the term “computer” means an electronic, magnetic, optical, electrochemical, or other high speed data processing device performing logical, arithmetic, or storage functions, and includes any data storage facility or communications facility directly related to or operating in conjunction with such device, but such term does not include an automated typewriter or typesetter, a portable hand held calculator, or other similar device;
      2. the term “protected computer” means a computer—
        1. exclusively for the use of a financial institution or the United States Government, or, in the case of a computer not exclusively for such use, used by or for a financial institution or the United States Government and the conduct constituting the offense affects that use by or for the financial institution or the Government; or
        2. exclusively for the use of a financial institution or the United States Government, or, in the case of a computer not exclusively for such use, used by or for a financial institution or the United States Government and the conduct constituting the offense affects that use by or for the financial institution or the Government; or
      3. the term “State” includes the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and any other commonwealth, possession or territory of the United States;
      4. the term “financial institution” means—
        1. an institution, with deposits insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation;
        2. the Federal Reserve or a member of the Federal Reserve including any Federal Reserve Bank;
        3. a credit union with accounts insured by the National Credit Union Administration;
        4. a member of the Federal home loan bank system and any home loan bank;
        5. any institution of the Farm Credit System under the Farm Credit Act of 1971;
        6. a broker-dealer registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to section 15 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934;
        7. the Securities Investor Protection Corporation;
        8. a branch or agency of a foreign bank (as such terms are defined in paragraphs (1) and (3) of section 1(b) of the International Banking Act of 1978); and
        9. an organization operating under section 25 or section 25(a) 4 of the Federal Reserve Act;
      5. the term “financial record” means information derived from any record held by a financial institution pertaining to a customer's relationship with the financial institution;
      6. the term “exceeds authorized access” means to access a computer with authorization and to use such access to obtain or alter information in the computer that the accesser is not entitled so to obtain or alter;
      7. the term “department of the United States” means the legislative or judicial branch of the Government or one of the executive departments enumerated in section 101 of title 5;
      8. the term “damage” means any impairment to the integrity or availability of data, a program, a system, or information;
      9. the term “government entity” includes the Government of the United States, any State or political subdivision of the United States, any foreign country, and any state, province, municipality, or other political subdivision of a foreign country;
      10. the term “conviction” shall include a conviction under the law of any State for a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than 1 year, an element of which is unauthorized access, or exceeding authorized access, to a computer;
      11. the term “loss” means any reasonable cost to any victim, including the cost of responding to an offense, conducting a damage assessment, and restoring the data, program, system, or information to its condition prior to the offense, and any revenue lost, cost incurred, or other consequential damages incurred because of interruption of service; and
      12. the term “person” means any individual, firm, corporation, educational institution, financial institution, governmental entity, or legal or other entity.
    5. This section does not prohibit any lawfully authorized investigative, protective, or intelligence activity of a law enforcement agency of the United States, a State, or a political subdivision of a State, or of an intelligence agency of the United States.
    6. Any person who suffers damage or loss by reason of a violation of this section may maintain a civil action against the violator to obtain compensatory damages and injunctive relief or other equitable relief. A civil action for a violation of this section may be brought only if the conduct involves 1 of the factors set forth in subclauses 5 (I), (II), (III), (IV), or (V) of subsection (c)(4)(A)(i). Damages for a violation involving only conduct described in subsection (c)(4)(A)(i)(I) are limited to economic damages. No action may be brought under this subsection unless such action is begun within 2 years of the date of the act complained of or the date of the discovery of the damage. No action may be brought under this subsection for the negligent design or manufacture of computer hardware, computer software, or firmware.
    7. The Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury shall report to the Congress annually, during the first 3 years following the date of the enactment of this subsection, concerning investigations and prosecutions under subsection (a)(5).
      1. The court, in imposing sentence on any person convicted of a violation of this section, or convicted of conspiracy to violate this section, shall order, in addition to any other sentence imposed and irrespective of any provision of State law, that such person forfeit to the United States—
        1. such person's interest in any personal property that was used or intended to be used to commit or to facilitate the commission of such violation; and
        2. any property, real or personal, constituting or derived from, any proceeds that such person obtained, directly or indirectly, as a result of such violation.
      2. The criminal forfeiture of property under this subsection, any seizure and disposition thereof, and any judicial proceeding in relation thereto, shall be governed by the provisions of section 413 of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 853), except subsection (d) of that section.
    8. For purposes of subsection (i), the following shall be subject to forfeiture to the United States and no property right shall exist in them:
      1. Any personal property used or intended to be used to commit or to facilitate the commission of any violation of this section, or a conspiracy to violate this section.
      2. Any property, real or personal, which constitutes or is derived from proceeds traceable to any violation of this section, or a conspiracy to violate this section.

  • 18 U.S.C. section 2261(A)(1)(A)/2261(A)(2)(A) Stalking Under Interstate Domestic Violence18
    • A course of conduct that places a person in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury to that person, an immediate family member, or a spouse or intimate partner of that person
    • Penalty: A fine, imprisonment, or both
  • Full Penal Code

    Whoever—

    1. travels in interstate or foreign commerce or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or enters or leaves Indian country, with the intent to kill, injure, harass, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person, and in the course of, or as a result of, such travel places that person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to, or causes substantial emotional distress to that person, a member of the immediate family (as defined in section 115) of that person, or the spouse or intimate partner of that person; or
    2. with the intent—
      1. o kill, injure, harass, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person in another State or tribal jurisdiction or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States; or
      2. to place a person in another State or tribal jurisdiction, or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to—
        1. that person;
        2. a member of the immediate family (as defined in section 115 of that person; or
        3. a spouse or intimate partner of that person;

    uses the mail, any interactive computer service, or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce to engage in a course of conduct that causes substantial emotional distress to that person or places that person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to, any of the persons described in clauses (i) through (iii) of subparagraph (B); shall be punished as provided in section 2261(b) of this title.

5. What actions has the Attorney General taken to combat cyber exploitation and hold perpetrators accountable?

Attorney General Harris is committed to seeking justice for every victim of cyber exploitation in California and accountability for the perpetrators of these crimes.

  • In 2011, the Attorney General created the eCrime Unit to identify and prosecute cyber crimes and other crimes involving the use of technology, including cyber exploitation. Drawing on the expertise of California law enforcement, the Department of Justice continues to play a critical role in the investigations and prosecutions of cyber exploitation website operators and other perpetrators. DOJ is leading the nation in prosecuting these crimes, having garnered the first successful prosecution of a cyber exploitation operator in the U.S. View Press Release
  • In 2015, Kevin Bollaert was sentenced to eight years imprisonment followed by ten years of supervised release for his operation of a cyber exploitation website that allowed the anonymous, public posting of intimate photos accompanied by personal identifying information of individuals without their consent consent and charged for the take down of these photos. People of the State of Cal. v. Kevin C. Bollaert.19 View Press Release
  • In June 2015, Casey E. Meyering pled no contest to extortion and conspiracy for his operation of a cyber exploitation website that posted stolen personal images of individuals without their consent and exploited victims for financial gain. Meyering was sentenced to three years imprisonment. People of the State of Cal. v. Casey E. Meyering. View Press Release
  • Charles Evens, who orchestrated a cyber exploitation hacking scheme where he stole private images from victims’ accounts and sold them to another website, pled guilty to computer intrusion in June 2015. Evens was sentenced to three years imprisonment, concurrent with a Federal prison term for the same conduct a year earlier. View Press Release

6. Does the Attorney General’s office provide legal representation to victims of cyber exploitation?

No, our office cannot provide legal representation to individuals. If you are interested in speaking with an attorney about an instance of cyber exploitation, you can access a complete list of California Bar-certified lawyers organized by county or by calling: 1-866-44-CA-LAW or online at: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Public/LawyerReferralServicesLRS.aspx. The Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project offers legal assistance on a pro bono basis for victims of cyber exploitation. Spanish-speaking staff is available. www.cyberrightsproject.com. You can also file a consumer complaint against the business with the California Attorney General’s Public Inquiry Unit at: https://oag.ca.gov/contact/consumer-complaint-against-business-or-company. For more information on external resources, please read FAQ #20

7. Do victims have a private right of action against their perpetrator(s)?

Yes, as of July 2, 2015 victims of cyber exploitation have a private right of action against their perpetrators under California law. Assembly Bill 2643 (Wieckowski) codified a private right of action against any person who intentionally distributes a photograph or recorded image of another without consent, if: (1) the person knew that the other person had a reasonable expectation that the material would remain private, (2) the distributed material exposes an intimate body part or shows an act of intercourse, oral copulation, sodomy, or other act of sexual penetration, and (3) the other person suffers general or special damages as described in civil code section 48(a).21 In addition, a California court may order equitable relief, including a temporary restraining order, or a preliminary injunction or a permanent injunction ordering the defendant to cease the distribution of the material.22 Id. A court may also grant reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to the prevailing plaintiff. Id.. Finally, a victim may be able to bring a tort claim for the public disclosure of private fact and/or the intentional infliction of emotional distress depending on the circumstances of the case.

8. Can I file a civil complaint or participate in a criminal investigation anonymously?

Yes, under state law, a plaintiff in a civil proceeding may proceed using a pseudonym, either John Doe, Jane Doe, or Doe, as a substitute for the true name of the plaintiff and may exclude or redact from the pleadings and documents filed in the action other identifying characteristics such as an address, age, marital status, and race or ethnic background.23 You also have the right to engage with law enforcement and participate in a criminal investigation and prosecution anonymously, using a pseudonym (i.e. Jane or John Doe).

What should I do if I have experience cyber exploitation?

  1. Download and save copies of the photos or videos through screenshots, printing, flash drive, hard drive along with the site information. It is important to save all records such as text messages, emails, and any other type of correspondence prior to attempting to take down the content.
  2. Set up Search Engine Alerts to notify you when any photos or videos appear with your name on a new site online.
  3. Get Assistance
    • File a police report at your local police department so you will have documentation of your complaint.
    • If your case involves hacking, fraud, or conduct that occurs across state lines, report the conduct to your local branch of the FBI and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov)
    • File a consumer complaint against the business with the California Attorney General’s office at: https://oag.ca.gov/contact/consumer-complaint-against-business-or-company
    • If you have reason to fear that the person who has posted your images online poses a threat to your physical safety, then you can seek to obtain a criminal or civil harassment protection order. If the harasser is a current or former intimate partner or family member then you can file a domestic violence restraining order. Contact your local law enforcement agency or district attorneys office for further guidance.
    • Research whether you want to register the copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a federal law that addresses copyright infringement. If you took the photo or video yourself, you still own the copyright.24 In order to register your image, you must submit the image(s) directly to the U.S. Copyright Office. Your copyright does not change, even when you give the image to someone else.
  4. Start the Removal Process by submitting a Digital Millennium Copyright (DMCA) take-down request to websites that have posted your images without consent. A DMCA notice informs the website owner that you own the copyright to your photo and that you want the photo removed. Even if you physically hand over, text, or email a picture of yourself to another person, or took the picture yourself, you still own the copyright if you took the image yourself. Many of the social media platforms have included notice and takedown provisions as necessary to comply with the DMCA. In filing a notice, follow the DMCA takedown process of the website exactly and if you have registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, mention it in your takedown request to each website operator or social media company.25

Visit Removing Images on the Attorney General’s Cyber Exploitation website:

10. How can I file a complaint with law enforcement about cyber exploitation?

Contact your local police or sheriff to file a complaint. Several departments allow you to report a crime online. Make sure to save a copy of the police report to keep for your records.

You can also file a consumer complaint against the business with the California Attorney General’s Public Inquiry Unit at: https://oag.ca.gov/contact/consumer-complaint-against-business-or-company

11. What happens when I report cyber exploitation to law enforcement?

The crime report is given to a (investigator/district attorney) who investigates the matter. You will receive an email confirmation once you submit a complaint online or a written copy if in-person. Upon review, if further investigation of your case is needed, you may be contacted. However, do not hesitate to contact the investigator or district attorney should you have any questions, concerns, or new evidence to report.

12. Do I have to choose between a criminal investigation and a civil adjudication against my perpetrator?

No. You have options, and you don’t have to decide right away. You can choose to participate in both a civil adjudication and a criminal investigation. Criminal remedies involve the filing of a complaint with the police and then working with either a state or federal prosecutor to see whether the government might pursue criminal charges. Civil remedies involve the hiring of an attorney to pursue money damages and an injunction order to stop the unlawful conduct.

Remember, you also may have the right to engage and participate with law enforcement using a pseudonym (i.e. Jane or John Doe).

13. What is the time limit to report an incident of cyber exploitation?

All individuals, including a survivor or witness, are encouraged to report an instance of cyber exploitation regardless of when or where it occurred. You are encouraged to report an incident as soon as possible to maximize the ability to respond promptly and effectively (e.g. to preserve evidence and ensure public safety). Please remember that successful prosecution of these crimes in a court of law is dictated by each law’s statute of limitations, which vary by statute. Please also read FAQ #4 for a list of state and Federal statutes regarding cyber exploitation.

14. What if I do not want to turn to law enforcement to address my cyber exploitation incident?

California law enforcement agencies have been at the forefront of protecting victims against cyber crimes. Law enforcement agencies are not only trained in evidence collection, but have technical expertise that can play a significant role in mitigating cyber exploitation. If you choose not to report to a law enforcement agency, you can still register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office to request removal of the unwanted content. Please also read FAQ #20 for more information on external resources.

15. Are there geographic limitations to cyber exploitation under California law?

Pending Legislation AB 1310 will allow cyber exploitation cases to be prosecuted in the same jurisdiction in which the offense occurred, where the victim resided when the offense was committed, or where the intimate image was used for an illegal purpose.

If you reside in the State of California, you can still proceed with a criminal case against an actor who lives outside of California. If you decide to bring forth a civil matter then you should consult with an attorney to determine whether a case against an actor outside of California is possible.

16. Who will have access to my report of cyber exploitation, and does confidentiality change depending on whether I report to a technology company/website owner or law enforcement agency?

The law enforcement agency will have access to your report of cyber exploitation. This includes the assigned officer or detective investigating the case, his or her supervisor, the district attorney, and potentially an outside law enforcement agency participating in a related investigation. However, your confidentiality is important and you have the right to engage with law enforcement using a pseudonym.

For reports to companies and website owners, privacy options may differ depending on the company or website owner. You will want to read the privacy statements in order to determine whether your information will remain confidential. The Attorney General’s Task Force on cyber exploitation has provided links to privacy statements of major companies. This is not a comprehensive list, but does provide substantial information regarding your privacy rights.

Visit Removing Images on the Attorney General’s Cyber Explotiation Website: http://oag.ca.gov/cyberexploitation

17. What are the implications of reporting an instance of cyber exploitation if I am an undocumented immigrant?

California law enforcement agencies are encouraged, though not required, to provide privacy protections to ensure that an individual’s immigration status is protected, whether they are a bystander reporting a crime or a victim/survivor. With respect to the threat of deportation, please be advised that state law limits the discretion of state and local law enforcement agencies to detain an individual pursuant to a federal immigration detainer request unless certain conditions are met.26 Further, federal law provides additional protections for victims of an enumerated crime that are currently assisting or has previously assisted law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of a crime.27 Here, the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 aims to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute crimes while also protecting victims who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse due to the crime and are willing to assist law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.28

18. What do I do if I know someone who is a survivor?

The first step in helping survivors heal is to believe them. Know the resources in your community and help your friend connect with those resources. Once a survivor confides in you, connect her or him with resources, like a counseling center, advocacy office, the police, or a public safety group. If they just want to talk to someone, listen. Please also read FAQ #20 for more information on external resources.

19. What if I discover images of someone I know who may be a victim?

Contact the person and let them know, and then provide them with the information on this website. They should file a police report with their local police station or online with the California Attorney General’s Public Inquiry Unit at: https://oag.ca.gov/contact/consumer-complaint-against-business-or-company.

20. What external resources exist for victims?

CA Attorney General’s Cyber Exploitation Website
Online resource hub with a range of tools for victims, the technology industry, and law enforcement to combat cyber exploitation. www.oag.ca.gov/cyberexploitation

California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CalCASA)
California says NO MORE is a California-specific campaign to raise public awareness and engage bystanders in the movement to end domestic violence and sexual assault. California Says NO MORE is supported by the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) and the national NO MORE campaign. Victims can quickly locate domestic violence crisis centers using a zip code locator. www.casaysnomore.com

Cyber Civil Rights Initiative
A non-profit organization that combats online harassment and abuse. Provides support, referrals and technical advice through 24-hour Crisis Helpline.
844-879-CCRI (2274) www.cybercivilrights.org

End Revenge Porn
Website that provides advocacy and support for female and male victims of cyber exploitation.
http://www.endrevengeporn.org/

K&L Gates Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project
Founded by K&L Gates, the Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project offers legal assistance to victims of cyber exploitation on a pro bono basis. Spanish-speaking staff is available. www.cyberrightsproject.com

National Network to End Domestic Violence / Safety New Project
Overview on options for victims of cyber exploitation and legal recourses.
http://nnedv.org/downloads/NNEDV_ImagesAbuse_2014.pdf

The Victims of Crime Resource Center at McGeorge School of Law
Assists victims of cyber exploitation by providing free and confidential information about their legal rights, remedies, and community-based assistance.
1-800-VICTIMS (842-8467); chat live at www.1800victims.org

Without My Consent
Website that offers resources for both cyber exploitation victims and the attorneys that represent them.
http://withoutmyconsent.org/

Women Against Revenge Porn
Website offers practical tips for removal and a directory of attorneys.
http://www.womenagainstrevengeporn.com/

Visit Victim Resources on the Attorney General’s Cyber Exploitation website:
http://oag.ca.gov/cyberexploitation

  1. Danielle Keats Citron, Hate Crimes in Cyberspace (Harvard University Press 2014).
  2. Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, End Revenge Porn Survey (2014). Survey results were obtained from an online survey, hosted on endrevengeporn.com from August 2012-December 2013 whereby participants self-selected into the study. Results depicted are reflective of a female-heavy sample, correlated with the gender demographics of visitors to the website.
  3. Cal. Penal Code § 422.
  4. Cal. Penal Code § 502.
  5. Cal. Penal Code § 520.
  6. Cal. Penal Code § 524.
  7. Cal. Penal Code § 182; Cal. Penal Code § 520.
  8. Cal. Penal Code § 530.5.
  9. Cal. Penal Code § 632.
  10. Cal. Penal Code § 646.9.
  11. Cal. Penal Code § 647(j).
  12. Cal. Penal Code § 653m.
  13. Cal. Penal Code § 653.2.
  14. Cal. Penal Code § 1524(a).
  15. Cal. Penal Code §§ 502.01, 647.8.
  16. 18 U.S.C.A. § 875(b), (d).
  17. 18 U.S.C.A § 1030.
  18. 18 U.S.C.A. § 2261.
  19. On April 3, 2015, Superior Court Judge David Gill sentenced Bollaert to eighteen years in prison. On September 23, 2015, Judge Gill modified his ruling, ordering Bollaert to serve an eighteen year “split sentence” under California’s realignment policy, as mandated by Assembly Bill 109 (2011).
  20. Cal. Civil Code § 1708.85(c)(1-6) enumerates six exceptions to liability; but cf. Cal. Civil Code. § 48(a) is amended by Actions And Proceedings—Libel And Slander—Classification, 2015 Cal. Legis. Serv. Ch. 343 (A.B. 998).
  21. A court may grant injunctive relief maintaining the confidentiality of a plaintiff using a pseudonym. A plaintiff in a civil proceeding pursuant to § 1708.85, may proceed using a pseudonym, either John Doe, Jane Doe, or Doe, for the true name of the plaintiff and may exclude or redact from all pleadings and documents filed in the action other identifying characteristics of the plaintiff.
  22. Cal. Civil Code § 1708.85(f)(1)-(4).
  23. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, PL 105–304, October 28, 1998, 112 Stat 2860.
  24. United States Copyright Office, available at: www.copyright.gov.
  25. Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools Act (TRUST Act), Gov. Code §§ 7282, 7282.5; Stats. 2013, ch. 570; see also Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, California Department of Justice Information Bulletin No. 14-01, Responsibilities of Local Law Enforcement Agencies under Secure Communities and the TRUST Act (June 25, 2014), available at: http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/law_enforcement/14-01_le_info_bulletin.pdf.
  26. Victims Of Trafficking And Violence Protection Act Of 2000, PL 106–386, October 28, 2000, 114 Stat 1464.
  27. See United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Victims of Criminal Activity: U Nonimmigrant Status, available at: http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/victims-human-trafficking-other-crimes/victims-criminal-activity-u-nonimmigrant-status/victims-criminal-activity-u-nonimmigrant-status.

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