Rhode Island Senate passes bill targeting revenge porn

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island Senate approved a bill on Tuesday to prohibit intentional dissemination, online posting or selling of sexually explicit images without consent of the person depicted in them.

Introduced by Sen. Erin P. Lynch, D-Warwick, on behalf of Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin’s office, the bill applies to video and/or images of a person engaged in explicit sexual conduct and those that show a person’s intimate areas.

The bill advanced in the Senate in a 33-to-0 vote and, if next approved in the House of Representatives without amendments, would go to the governor’s desk. “Posting explicit photos of a former partner without that person’s consent is extremely hurtful and embarrassing. Penalties need to be strong to ensure that people think twice before attempting to degrade an individual in this way,” Lynch said in a statement following Senate passage. She said this is a “new kind of virtual assault” that “disproportionately targets women.”

There are several states with some type of law against “revenge porn” and bills have been submitted in at least 27 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“The latest phenomenon of individuals posting intimate photos and videos on revenge porn sites with the mission to embarrass exes takes the exploitation and degradation of people, especially women, to a new level of depravity,” Kilmartin said. He added that “the images or videos may stay in cyberspace forever, yet victims are left with no recourse to have the images removed or seek justice for themselves. Passage of this legislation will give victims some comfort that the perpetrators will be held accountable.”

A person would be guilty of “unauthorized dissemination of indecent material” when he or she uses a device to “capture, record, or store visual images of another person 18 years of age or older engaged in sexually explicit conduct or of the intimate areas of another person” when that person “would have a reasonable expectation of privacy,” the bill says.

It includes language making allowance for “constitutionally protected activity” that would not fall under the crime.

The maximum possible penalty for someone convicted would be three years in prison, up to a $3,000 fine or both, according to the bill.

R.I. Senate passes bill targeting ‘revenge porn’ – The Providence Journal
Source: http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20140520-r.i.-senate-passes-bill-targeting-revenge-porn.ece
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