Potential Prostitutes: Web Extortion Aimed at Women Who are NOT Prostitutes
Huffington Post and New York magazine are both calling this the worst website ever. Others, from the Daily Mail to Jezebel, are joining the outcry. But, so far, there appears to be no legal remedy against a website that is clearly preying on innocents.
Potential Prostitutes posts names of innocent women and then expects them to pay to take their names off the site. The site was registered in Sweden in late 2012. It is unclear that there is any libel law or communications regulation that can cover it.
Here is how it works. Someone who is angry with you–a neighbor who doesn’t like the way you park your car, a co-worker who thinks you got a promotion that should have been theirs, the teen you just grounded–can send your photo, phone number, and location to this site and say they think you are a sex worker. They do this anonymously. The site then posts the information without your permission and without checking anything about the veracity of the story, who presented the information or why. Then, you find out the post is up there and you complain to the Potential Prostitutes site owners. They hit you up for $100 in exchange for taking your name off this public “potential prostitutes” list.
They claim they are protecting men from predatory sex workers. Yeah, right.