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Revenge Porn Now the Focus of New York Lawmakers

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Revenge Porn Now the Focus of New York Lawmakers
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A handful of New York lawmakers want to make their state the third to update its law books to ban so-called “revenge porn.”

Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 255 into law, making it illegal to ““electronically distribute nude images of another person with the intent to cause serious emotional distress” – specifically when the original photos were taken with an expectation of privacy (read, inside a committed relationship). Before California, New Jersey put similar laws on the books.

Now it may be New York’s turn. Two separate pieces of legislation have been announced, both of which would punish posting revenge porn online with fines and jail time.

“Revenge porn can ruin a woman’s life, family and career,” said Senator Phil Boyle, author of one of the bills. “As the social media phenomenon grows, more and more women are being violated and exploited by their ex-boyfriends and husbands. These private images go viral to the world and women have little or no legal recourse. I will introduce a bill to give law enforcement the tools to protect victims of revenge porn.”

And he’s not the only one pushing this type of legislation.

What most anti-revenge porn laws basically do are update current statutes to ban the distribution of consensually-captured photographs after the fact – or more specifically, after the breakup. Most states already have laws that govern the distribution of photographs taken without the subject’s consent, but so-called revenge porn poses a unique challenge. The sexually explicit photographs were once taken with the subject’s consent, but are being publicized without it.

Assemblyman Edward Braunstein and Senator Joseph Griffo’s proposed legislation does just this.

New York’s current distribution of unlawful surveillance law only governs photographs taken without the subject’s consent. This bill would govern photographs that are captured consensually, as part of an intimate relationship, with the expectation of privacy, and are later disclosed by an individual to the public without the consent of the individual photographed

“This so-called phenomena of ‘cyber-revenge,’ is a tawdry form of exploitation. From what we know, the majority of its victims are women who don’t know that their images and likenesses has been bartered and sold over the internet. Currently, these victims have limited options when their pictures taken with their consent, were posted online. They would have to enlist a lawyer and threaten to sue the person responsible for sharing the photo or the website hosting them, for invasion of privacy. New Jersey and California have laws addressing this problem, we’re advocating that New York should be the third,” said Griffo.

Boyle’s legislation proposes a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail on the first offense. Assemblyman Braunstein and Senator Griffo’s bill ups the fine to a possible $30,000.

Revenge Porn Now the Focus of New York Lawmakers
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