XXX in Tech

Proposed Florida Law Would Make Publishing Revenge Porn Without Victim’s Consent a Third-Degree Felony

Offenders could get up to five years in jail for disseminating naked photos without the subject's consent.

 Proposed Florida Law Would Make Publishing Revenge Porn Without Victims Consent a Third Degree FelonyThough revenge porn–the practice of posting pornographic photos of someone without their consent–still largely exists within a legal grey area, lawyers, hackers and victim’s rights advocates are working hard to find ways to prosecute those who disseminate it. New Jersey now has a law on the books that makes distribution of revenge porn a third degree crime, which can net you three to five years in jail. Now, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office has proposed a bill to the Florida state legislature that would make it a third-degree felony to publish revenge porn in Florida.

Florida Today reports that the proposed bill would prohibit the “knowing use of a computer or other device to transmit or post any photograph or video of an individual which depicts nudity and contains specified information relating to the depicted individual without first obtaining the depicted person’s written consent.”

This means that if an ex wanted to share naked pictures of you in Florida, he’d have to have a signed note from you saying he can do so before putting them on the web. If he didn’t get that note and posted the pics anyway, he could get up to five years in prison.

“I’m not trying to address the nude picture issue,” Representative Tom Goodsen, who’s working to get the bill on the floor, told Florida Today. “I’m trying to address that if you’re doing this to hurt a person, if you’re doing this for malice, that’s where you’re breaking the law.”

A law like this could provide much-needed recourse for victims of revenge porn, many of whom have difficulty finding lawyers willing to take on their cases. However, the bill’s language may be subject to change as it goes through the legislature, as it could be deemed too overly broad.

New Jersey and Florida aren’t the only states where revenge porn is under siege. Several women in Texas have mounted a class-action suit against a Texas-based revenge porn site and its hosting company GoDaddy for publishing their photos without their consent.

“I think 99 percent of victims get told no [by lawyers] so they give up,” Hollie Toups, one of the members of the class action suit, told Betabeat back in January. “I apparently was born with a hardheaded trait that came in handy for once, and I refused to accept the fact that there was nothing that could be done.”

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com