Senate Passes Legislation Criminalizing "Revenge Porn"

 

The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S5946A), sponsored  by Senator Phil Boyle (R-C-I, Suffolk County), that would make it a crime to distribute “revenge porn.”  

"Revenge porn" is the practice of sharing private nude photographs or explicit videos publically without the consent of the individual pictured. The dissemination of these images are posted online to strike back at someone and are often accompanied by personal information, including their full name, links to social media profiles and addresses. In some cases, these images are sold to porn sites in exchange for money. 

Senator Boyle said, “Revenge porn can ruin a person’s life, family and career. As the social media phenomenon grows, more and more men and women are being violated and exploited. These private images go viral to the world and there is little or no legal recourse afforded to the victims. This legislation would give our law enforcement officials the tools they need to protect New Yorkers from the devastation wrought by revenge porn."

Current law in New York protects an individual from this behavior if they are unaware that images are being taken. Unfortunately, someone may provide an intimate image to another person in the context of a mutual relationship of any kind with the expectation that it will be private. When the relationship ends, the spurned partner has a means to humiliate the other by sharing those intimate images with millions of strangers as well as with the person's family, neighbors, friends, employer and co-workers. This bill provides protection regardless of who photographed the image and prevents this new form of cyber-bullying.

The bill criminalizes the dissemination of sexually intimate images or images of intimate parts of another person without that person's explicit consent in order to harm, harass, scare or alarm that individual. The first offense would be a class A misdemeanor, punishable up to one year in jail, and a repeat offense within 10 years would be a class E felony, punishable up to four years in prison. 

The bill has been sent to the Assembly.