By Eleanor Stanford
Should 'revenge porn' be illegal, or is it simply a perverse but protected example of speech?
The free flow of information on the Internet has made it easy for people to punish former significant others with embarrassing photos and videos often of a sexually explicit nature and posted without consent to websites.
This week New York considered following in the footsteps of states such as California and New Jersey. The New York state Senate approved legislation that would criminalize “revenge porn.” The bill still must be considered by the New York State Assembly.
Bills criminalizing “revenge porn” have been introduced or are pending in at least 27 states this year. Legislation has been enacted in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The 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.
- We want to hear from you: How strict do you think the punishment should be for posting revenge porn? Do you feel concerned about your privacy online? Let us know in the Comments section below.
“Revenge porn” has been highly controversial. In 2012 Rutgers student Dharun Ravi was sentenced to 30 days in jail for posting a video of his roommate having sex with another man. The roommate, Tyler Clementi, didn’t know he was being filmed via webcam. He committed suicide after Ravi shared the video online.
In recent years, “revenge porn” victims across the country have filed lawsuits against both the websites and the people posting the explicit material.