'Revenge porn' outlawed by California governor
Posting of nude, explicit photos in order to create distress of subjects outlawed
California Governor Jerry Brown has made the Internet a little bit safer - and its abusers a lot more culpable by outlawing the practice of "revenge porn." Said practice is the posting of nude or otherwise sexually explicit photos online with the intent to cause emotional distress on the part of the subjects.
California Governor Jerry Brown has made the Internet a little bit safer - and its abusers a lot more culpable by outlawing the practice of "revenge porn."
Revenge porn is typically practiced by people who post naked photos of their exes after bitter breakups.
"Until now, there was no tool for law enforcement to protect victims," the bill's author, Senator Anthony Cannella said in a statement. "Too many have had their lives upended because of an action of another that they trusted."
Revenge porn is a growing problem in the age of social media. Photos and videos made privately during a relationship have found their way onto hundreds of Web sites.
California allowed victims to sue their virtual assailants, prior to the criminal law bill was enacted. This has proved to be an expensive and time-consuming option.
The American Civil Liberties Union had opposed the bill, arguing it might restrict free speech rights, which has been a concern in other states as well.
Florida lawmakers rejected a similar bill this year after constitutional free speech concerns surfaced there. Last year, the Missouri Supreme Court cited concerns about free speech in striking down part of a 2008 law enacted after a teenager who was teased online committed suicide.
Only one other state, New Jersey has a revenge porn law. The ruling was passed following the bullying and subsequent suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clemente, who jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge after his roommate posted inappropriate video of him and another man.
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