Imagine a world where porn viewers are blackmailed out of $6 million dollars in a massive illegal scheme to prove that people really will pay up when threatened with exposure and public embarrassment from looking at porn.

That’s exactly what happened.

After years of an extensive legal battle, recent developments in what has become to be known as the notorious Prenda Law case, have brought to a close a complicated crime scam that essentially used copyright laws to target viewers of porn for extortion. The entire drama, full of denials and confessions, show that porn is risky business for not only for the performers and creators, but, yes, even the casual viewers, even if the reasons are different. The fact is, most porn sites, especially free ones, are just not very secure, and any activity can be very easily seen by hackers, even those that are not very sophisticated.

Related: The Hidden Risks of Watching Porn

What started out as a twisted plan to target viewers of porn with public embarrassment and threatened legal action has really shown that porn is anything but harmless entertainment free from risks, or negative effects.

Prenda Law Case: A Quick Review

What basically happened: John Steele and Paul Hansmeier—former lawyers for their copyright factory known as Prenda Law—posted “free” porn online, only to claim copyright later via shell corporations they established. They would then blackmail viewers with personal humiliation, public legal action and other threats for supposedly illegally downloading the porn they posted to their sites and torrent servers. They identified these viewers because they used that copyright claim to convince courts to allow them to go after internet service provider companies to get the personal information of their users. Shady, right?

And it worked. Their scheme hustled porn viewers to the massive amount of $6 million dollars, all because those who had seen the porn were afraid of any of that information getting out, so they were willing to pay up to $3,000 as a settlement amount just to avoid public humiliation and a lawsuit. But now, after years of denial and contention, it’s over. Of the two behind this scam, it was Steele who has plead guilty and admitted to the various details of their elaborate blackmail scheme.

Porn is Never Free

You might think that regardless of the case, those who paid the blackmail to avoid being publicly humiliated for looking at porn, should deserve what they get, but let’s consider: What happened amounts to outright extortion? The fact is porn is so widely viewed, that it could have been really anyone who fell prey to this scam, as much as we’d like to think otherwise.

Newsflash, we haven’t stopped porn yet. It’s still big business; and to suggest that anyone would get what they deserved in this case, other than the fraudulent lawyers behind the blackmail, would encourage undue shame, and would not be in the spirit of positive encouragement away from porn.

Related: How Our Tech-Fueled World Can Make A Struggle With Porn Even Worse

If anything, this scam, while the perpetrators were brought to justice, is yet another reason to avoid porn entirely. Who’s to say that there aren’t other schemes out there that prey on the weaknesses of those hooked on compulsive porn viewing? There most definitely are.

Peruse At Your Own Risk, And The Risk Of Others

While this news is just an update in a years-long court battle, the real story as far as we’re concerned is that porn, especially online, is a danger zone for all involved. We know that many porn performers are there against their will, and face danger and other situations that compromise their safety, but on the other side of the screen, for the viewer, porn is not “safe sex” either. Not only does it fuel the demand for sex slavery and human trafficking, but, as shown in this case, it can lead to personal risk, just from watching it.

Related: Sex, Tech and Porn: A Shocking Look At What Teenagers Are Dealing With Today

Part of the problem of these kinds of schemes, is that in today’s digital landscape, there is no limit to a person’s greed. There are predators out there who use porn as a vehicle for power and money. The Internet is not always a safe place to play, and nowhere is that more true than the corners of the internet that exploit humans for sex and broadcast it for mass consumption.

What YOU Can Do

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