New York passes revenge porn law

New York State Capitol.
New York State Capitol.
New York State Senate
New York State Capitol.

New York passes revenge porn law

A bill that passed the state Legislature on Thursday would make revenge porn a class A misdemeanor in New York.
March 1, 2019

A bill that passed the state Legislature on Thursday would make revenge porn – the retaliatory posting of pornographic or sexually explicit content online – a class A misdemeanor in New York, punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a $1000 fine.

The bill, sponsored by Monica Martinez in the state Senate and Edward Braunstein in the Assembly, passed unanimously in both chambers and now heads to the desk of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who says he will sign the bill into law.

“I was proud to champion this issue at a county level, and today I am honored to stand with my colleagues to pass this vitally important legislation at a state level that will work to protect victims of this particularly heinous crime,” Sen. Martinez said in an emailed statement. “We are sending a strong message that this kind of violation will no longer be tolerated in the State of New York, and it is my hope that other states will be inspired to follow suit.”

As Martinez notes, the development marks progress for victims of revenge porn – defined as those who don’t give their consent to the posting of their intimate images. But when the state senator says that she hopes other states will be inspired to follow New York’s lead, the reality is that there aren’t all that many states left that don’t already have similar laws in place.

Assuming Cuomo signs the bill into law, New York will become the 42nd state to outlaw the non-consensual sharing of intimate images. But one part of the legislation is groundbreaking: a provision that would allow victims to file a court order requiring websites like Google or Facebook to take down the offensive content and obtain civil penalties against the abuser.

In holding these companies to some degree of responsibility, New York can justifiably claim that it is ahead of the curve.

For the rest of today's tech news, head over to First Read Tech.

Annie McDonough
is a tech and policy reporter at City & State.
20190320