State Capitol News
3:30 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Revenge Porn Legislation Approved by House Committee

State lawmakers voted this week to make criminals out of those who e-mail or post naked photos of friends and exes on the World Wide Web without their permission. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

The Arizona Capitol Building
The Arizona Capitol Building
Credit azlibrary.gov

The legislation approved by the House Judiciary Committee makes it a felony to post photos, videos, film or any digital recording of anyone who is naked or engaging in a sexual act. The only defense would be if the person pictured has first given written consent. Rep. J.D. Mesnard said the real intent is to stop what is becoming known as “revenge porn.”

“What we have seen lately, and I’m sure you’ve read some of the stories, many of them tragic, are situations where someone sends a picture of themselves nude to somebody else and that person, maybe it’s during a relationship, and a relationship ends, and that person posts that photo online,” Mesnard said.

Despite the unanimous vote, some questions remain. One is what happens when it is the “victim” herself or himself who posts the original photo, a practice known as “sexting,” and then claims a right to privacy because someone else forwards that photo to others. There also is the issue of whether the requirement for written consent from the person in the picture could prove meaningless if that person is a minor. And, a lobbyist for Verizon and Microsoft said she wants to be sure her clients do not face liability.