15 Sep 2014
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Closing A Revenge-Porn Loophole in New York's Laws

A bill to close a dangerous loophole in privacy laws now goes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's desk for signing.

Closing A Revenge-Porn Loophole in New York's Laws
It seemed like a classic case of revenge porn. 

The victim, a Rockland County woman, went to the police after an image was posted on the Internet of her and another person in sexual contact. 

But. None of her "intimate" body parts were visible in the photo. So it didn't meet New York's legal standard for unlawful surveillance, and Rockland authorities couldn't prosecute.  

Now new legislation that will ensure people who have had their image broadcasted without their consent will have a course of action under the law has passed both houses of the New York state Legislature.

It's a direct result of the Clarkstown victim's plight, said State Sen. David Carlucci (D-Rockland-Westchester), who will call on Gov. Andrew Cuomo tomorrow to pass the bill at a press conference tomorrow. 

With Carlucci will be Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe, Police Chief Sullivan of the Clarkstown Police Department, and representatives from VCS INC. and the Center for Safety and Change.

Carlucci was aiming at a loophole in New York state's unlawful surveillance laws. 

But the impetus is the rapid growth of revenge porn, the practice of sharing sexually explicit photos or videos online without the individual’s consent.

These postings are typically made by ex-partners or hackers in an attempt to humiliate or harass the individual. Posts often include personal details and links to social media profiles. Some websites also charge a fee to have the materials removed.

The bill expands New York penal law to provide that a person can be charged with unlawful surveillance in the second degree if an individual, for his or her own, or another individual’s amusement, entertainment, profit, sexual arousal or gratification, or for the purpose of degrading or abusing a person, uses a device to view, broadcast or record another person in an identifiable manner:

  • Engaging in sexual conduct (as defined);
  • In the same image with the sexual or intimate part of any other person; and
  • At a place and time when such person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, without such person’s knowledge or consent.

Unlawful surveillance in the second degree is a class E felony.

New York joins a lengthening list of states to take action on revenge-porn sexual cyperbullying. 

 As of June 2014, nine states: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Maryland, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, had enacted revenge porn laws. California enacted legislation  in 2013 the National Conference of State Legislators reported.

In June, New York lawmakers were considering 10 different bills on the subject, according to the NCSL's overview. 


Patch editors  Eleanor Stanford and  Jason Spencer contributed to this report.




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