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New York state Senate passes bill making revenge porn a crime

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With the bill's passage, New York joins nearly 40 other states that have similar laws criminalizing revenge porn.

The New York State Senate this week unanimously passed a bill that would make the nonconsensual dissemination of sexually explicit images a crime, an act commonly known as “revenge porn.”

Syracuse.com reported that senators voted on Thursday to pass the bill, sponsored by state Sen. Joseph Griffo (R-Rome), of central New York. The act is now established as a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail or a fine of $1,000.

The bill amends existing legislation that previously made sharing sexually explicit content of another person knowing they would have not consented to distribution of the images illegal. The new bill states that individuals can be charged with the misdemeanor if they publicly share photos that had been captured consensually in a private relationship, according to Syracuse.com.

Before 2013, only three states had criminal laws that could be applied to this type of nonconsensual exploitation, according to the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative. Now though with the bill’s passage, New York joins nearly 40 states that have similar laws criminalizing revenge porn.

This new legislation is due to an increase in sexually explicit images being shared on websites featuring photos and often additional information about the subject’s identity, according to the bill. That information can include a person’s current location and links to social media profiles.

“Posting these photographs online is damaging to the reputations of the victims,” the bill states. “These photographs have extensive negative effects, including destroying future intimate relationships and educational and employment opportunities.”

New York’s current distribution of unlawful surveillance law can only be applied to photographs taken without the subject’s consent. This bill encompasses images taken consensually.

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