SB 255, by Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) would fine and punish those who electronically distribute pictures of a sexual nature without the subject’s consent and with the intent to harass or humiliate. There has been a recent increase in what is commonly called “revenge porn,” and this bill seeks to discourage the act.
“People who post or text pictures that are meant to be private as a way to seek revenge are reprehensible. Right now, there is no tool for law enforcement to protect the victims,” says Cannella. “Too many have had their lives upended because of an action of another that they trusted. This is a common sense bill that clamps down on those who exploit intimacy and trust for revenge or personal gain.”
Cyber revenge often begins when relationships end. But what were once private photos taken with consent can later be shared with others, and then posted online at multiple sites without the subject’s knowledge or consent. Some websites even specialize in posting such materials, and charge the subjects unreasonable fees to take down the illicit photos.
“It is unfortunate that we have to create legislation to protect individuals from the misuse of technology,” said Christine Ward, executive director of Crime Victims Action Alliance. “I applaud Senator Cannella for his efforts to prevent future victimization in California.”