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'Revenge porn' may soon be criminalized

When lovers in the past were spurned, the worst they could do for so-called "revenge" would be to talk down their ex or write a name and number on the bathroom wall. Now, with the ubiquity of tech devices that have photo and video capabilities, a more disconcerting type of revenge is surfacing - revenge porn. This violation occurs when someone shares intimate photos that had been intended to stay inside the context of a relationship; a woman spreads a picture of her ex's genitals to her friends' cell phones, for example, or a man posts a video online of a sexual encounter with his partner. Now, new California legislation could characterize these activities as sex crimes, albeit only as misdemeanors. Potential violators could spend up to one year in prison in connection with this regulation if it is passed.

The new rules would prohibit individuals from posting intimate pictures of their partners online without the other person's permission. Law enforcement is currently unable to combat these problems because there are no regulations on the books to protect victims. These individuals are currently only able to sue in civil court. That is only successful if the victim has the time and money to set aside for such an endeavor, which may not even be successful.

One woman said her life was ruined when her relationship went sour and her boyfriend posted a nude photograph on the Internet. The picture, which went viral, ended up on hundreds of Web sites, along with the woman's picture, phone number and place of business.

In our increasingly digital age, people may not fully understand the implications of their online actions. Even though more individuals may be required to mount criminal defense against charges if the bill passes, they deserve fair treatment under the law. These tech users may not have comprehended the severity of their alleged actions, and they may not even have been to blame for the spread of the digital material, considering the popularity of computer hacking. All defendants deserve fair treatment under the law.

Source: www.latimes.com, "'Revenge porn' may soon be a crime in California" Patt Morrison, Aug. 26, 2013

Former Criminal Prosecutor With Proven Results