Senate Passes Bill to Prevent Revenge Porn

March 19, 2018

Measure Gives Law Enforcement a New Tool to Prevent the Unauthorized Sharing of Intimate Images

The New York State Senate today passed legislation that protects individuals from the unauthorized sharing of intimate images, also known as revenge porn. The bill (S642), sponsored by Senator Phil Boyle (R-C-I, Suffolk County), increases criminal penalties for this new form of cyberbullying to prevent potential victims from professional, emotional, or personal damage from the dissemination of explicit photos or other images.
 
Senator Boyle said, “This legislation protects people from being violated, humiliated, and even endangered, by someone they once trusted. As the social media phenomenon grows, more and more are being violated and exploited by friends, acquaintances, and spouses, past and present. The private images that go viral to the world can ruin a person’s life, family, and career, leaving them with little or no legal recourse - yet another instance where our state’s laws need changing to keep up with technology. The passage of this bill will give law enforcement the tools needed to protect those who have found themselves prey to revenge porn and from the unscrupulous person using it to victimize them.”
 
New York law currently protects individuals when sexual or other intimate images are unknowingly taken and shared, but not if they privately and willingly provide the image to another person. Disturbing issues have arisen when the private image is then further distributed without the subject’s permission and with the harmful intent of trying to humiliate or otherwise damage the subject of the photos. They can be posted online to strike back at someone and are often accompanied by personal information, including names, links to social media profiles, and addresses. In some cases, these images are sold to porn sites in exchange for money. 
 
The bill passed today creates a new crime of unlawful dissemination of an intimate image when someone intentionally uses a privately shared image without consent or for the purposes of harassing, annoying, or alarming the subject of the photo.  By making these actions a crime, additional protections would be provided to victims of spurned partners or others who seek to cause emotional or professional distress from the sharing of photos, regardless of who took them.
 
The bill will be sent to the Assembly. This measure is also being advanced by the Senate as part of the budget negotiations currently taking place to help protect women, children, and others who are most at risk of being targeted by distributors of revenge porn. 

Senators Involved