Revenge Porn: California Passes New Law Making It Illegal To Post Explicit Photos Of Ex-Lovers Online

 @AndrewBerry1
on October 02 2013 2:03 PM

California Gov. Jerry Brown has just signed a new bill banning so-called “Revenge Porn,” a growing trend in which people post explicit photos of their ex-lovers on the Internet after a bitter breakup.

Under the new law, which goes into effect immediately, “those convicted of illegally distributing private images with the intent to harass or annoy will faces six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine,” according to a press release from the office of Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), who sponsored the bill.

"I want to thank Governor Brown for recognizing that this bill was needed. Until now, there was no tool for law enforcement to protect victims," Cannella said in a statement. "Too many have had their lives upended because of an action of another that they trusted."

As the press release from Cannella’s office states, revenge porn is a disturbing trend where intimate photographs can wind up on the Internet for the entire world to see without the subject’s consent. There are websites that specialize in revenge porn and charge exorbitant fees to get the images removed.

According to FindLaw.com, California Senate Bill No. 255 only applies if the person who distributes the explicit photo is the same person who took the photo.

"I want to thank Senator Cannella for his leadership in getting this bill signed into law," Dr. Charlotte Laws, whose daughter was a victim of revenge porn, said in a statement. "I am thrilled to see California taking a leadership role in protecting victims of revenge porn."

According to CNET, the revenge porn bill faced some opposition from free speech groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union, who acknowledge that revenge porn is a serious problem but question whether the new bill is the appropriate way to address it.

"It also criminalizes the victimless instances,” EFF attorney Nate Cardozo said. “And that's a problem with the First Amendment. Whenever you try and criminalize speech, you have to do so in the most narrowly tailored way possible."

Holly Jacobs, a victim of revenge porn who ran a campaign called End Revenge Porn, says the bill won’t affect Internet users’ First Amendment rights, according to the Inquisitr.

“I have made every effort to ensure that it is worded in such a way as to provide the appropriate protection to victims while being careful not to impose on First Amendment rights,” Jacobs said.

According to CNET, victims’ rights advocates want more states to pass similar laws, but so far New Jersey is the only state where revenge porn is a crime.

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