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Ovation: California Legislature Takes Steps To Criminalize “Revenge Porn”.

06/06/2013

RevengePornI think it’s safe to say that, at some time in our life, we’ve each had a “bad break-up”.  Some are expected and some come as a complete surprise.  A person that you’re dating can mysteriously disappear or a relationship can end with a trite and cliché speech …

“It’s not you, it’s me.”

“Someone else can love you so much more than I can.”

“It’s not fair for me to lead you on any longer.”

“I thought I was ready for something serious but I was wrong.”

Of course, the unexpected ending of a relationship can send some people into unhealthy fits of raging revenge.  Tires can get slashed, bank accounts can be emptied, clothes thrown onto the lawn, law enforcement can become involved and a segment on The Jerry Springer Show can be arranged.  Or worse … “revenge porn” has become an increasingly malicious problem that a proposed California law hopes to tackle head-on.

The proposed California law would make it illegal for anyone to post nude images online without the person’s permission, with identifying information and the purpose to harass or annoy.  The bill, which passed the Senate Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, targets cyber revenge which is typically distributed after a bad break-up.

“People who post or text pictures that are meant to be private as a way to seek revenge are reprehensible.  Too many have had their lives upended because of an action of another that they trusted.   The law does not keep up with the technology.” – Sen. Anthony Cannella (R)

Apparently, there are websites that actually specialize in posting these types of photos and videos and charge the subjects ridiculous fees to take down the images.  Under the new law, a conviction for distributing “revenge porn” would be a misdemeanor and punishable by up to one year in a county jail, a fine of up to one thousand dollars, or both.

Last April, three teenage boys were arrested in connection to a case that, in part, inspired the new bill.  The boys allegedly took pictures of themselves sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl while she was passed out at a party and then posted the images online.  Humiliated and embarrassed, the girl hanged herself eight days later.

While a similar bill failed to pass in Florida last month, the California bill is now headed to the State Senate where a vote could take place within the next two weeks.  Should the bill pass the State Legislature and be signed by the governor, it will immediately become law.  Currently, New Jersey is the only state in which revenge porn is illegal.

While scorned lovers from generations past may have written a name and telephone number on a bathroom wall, today’s technology allows jilted lovers to show the entire world how angry they are with just a few clicks of a mouse.

Are you in favor of legislation like the proposed California’s law?  Or do you think it infringes upon First Amendment rights to free speech?

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4 Comments
  1. Totally in favor and I haven’t read it but it probably doesn’t go far enough.

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    • They’re hoping that the threat of jail time will keep people from doing this. I find that doubtful. I also get the impression that the bill is focused more on male offenders than on female offenders. This one could be interesting to watch.

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  2. I am FOR anything to cut down on bullying by internet!

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