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Revenge Porn Bill Moves Along in California

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Revenge Porn Bill Moves Along in California
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The state of California is looking to crack down on so-called “revenge porn” with a new law that would make posting sexual images without someone’s consent a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and $2000 fine.

We first reported on SB 255 back in June, when it first passed the California Senate’s Public Safety Committee. Today, that bill was debated in assembly and passed unanimously.

The bill would amend section 653.2 and make it an actual crime to electronically distribute nude images of another person “with the intent to cause serious emotional distress.”

Here’s the text of the bill:

This bill would provide that any person who photographs or records by any means the image of another, identifiable person without with his or her consent who is in a state of full or partial undress in any area in which the person being photographed or recorded has a reasonable expectation of privacy, and subsequently distributes the image taken, where the distribution of the image would cause a reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress with the intent to cause serious emotional distress, and the other person suffers serious emotional distress would constitute disorderly conduct subject to that same punishment.

The “same punishment” refers to the penalty for those who use a concealed camera to take compromising photos of others without their consent – bathroom peeping toms for example.

“A first violation of that offense is punishable by imprisonment in the a county jail not exceeding 6 months, or by a fine not exceeding $1,000, or by both that fine and imprisonment, and a 2nd or subsequent violation of that offense, or any violation of that offense in which the victim was, at the time of the offense, a minor, is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding $2,000, or by both that fine and imprisonment.”

“’People who post or text pictures that are meant to be private as a way to seek revenge are reprehensible,” said the bill’s sponsor Senator Anthony Cannella. ’”The law does not keep up with the technology…So this hopefully raises the bar enough where people think twice about engaging in this behavior because it’s ruined people’s lives.’”

Victims of revenge porn have been able to take their cases to the civil courts, but lawmakers feel like a criminal law on the books may help deter jilter lovers from posting pictures of their exes online.

Of course, it’s not just the uploaders who can get caught up in a legal mess – revenge porn sites and even their hosters can be the target of lawsuits. Earlier this year, a group called “End Revenge Porn” filed a class action suit against revenge porn site Texxxam.com and its host GoDaddy.

They claimed that “the defendants are all acting in a deliberately reprehensible manner to participate in activity that they know to be malicious, hurtful, and harmful,”

End Revenge Porn calls the practice of posting sexual content online without a person’s consent “a form of cyber-rape.”

Image via Thinkstock

Revenge Porn Bill Moves Along in California
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