New York City Council Moves To Make Revenge Porn A Crime

The legislation passed unanimously.

As social media sites including Facebook and Twitter work to better protect victims of revenge porn, New York City is taking its own stand. The New York City council voted unanimously Thursday in favor of legislation that makes revenge porn, and associated actions, a crime. Anyone who discloses or threatens to disclose intimate images of an individual without his or her consent with the intent to cause harm can now be handed a misdemeanor charge and face up to one year in prison, $1000 fine, or both.



While there is no federal law against revenge porn, 38 states and Washington, D.C. have enacted their own regulations against it. If the bill is signed into law by New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, regulations will go into effect immediately and the criminal portion will take effect 60 days later.

"For years, prosecutors have been frustrated by our inability to effectively respond to a problem we see with increased regularity," Eric Rosenbaum, assistant district attorney in Queens County, said at a press conference Thursday, according to CNN. "Special victims and computer crimes prosecutors across the city are hopeful that would-be offenders will now be deterred from engaging in this conduct.

According to the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, an organization that supports victims of revenge porn and advocates for innovation to fight abuse, one in eight social media users have been the target of revenge porn. The legislation in New York City will allow individuals to seek an injunction against the sharing of intimate images and the opportunity to collect damages. The current New York state law against surveillance does not include the distribution of images that were at one time taken with consent. 

"More and more women, and occasionally men, have had their most private photos and videos shared publicly without their consent, with the intent to traumatize, humiliate or punish them," said Councilman Rory Lancman Thursday, according to Huff Post. "This is the kind of legislation that shouldn't be necessary, but unfortunately it is."

Cover image via Unsplash

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