Miami Legal Tips Blog

Making Revenge Porn a Crime

Hand Held CameraThe advent of new communication technologies and devices has given rise to a way of life in which people seem more connected to – and, ironically, often isolated from – one another than ever.

All it takes is a tweet or a post or an email or a text (or sext) from one person to another, and through the magic of technology, that message can be seen around the world in a matter of seconds. And the potential damage it can do to human relationships is significant.

According to a report from WFOX-TV in Jacksonville, Florida legislators are trying to rein in the far-flung power of electronic communication so as to clamp down on what’s known as “revenge porn” – a situation where someone, often a jilted or upset romantic interest, posts  sexually graphic image online without obtaining the agreement of the person or persons depicted.

The law to make revenge porn a crime has come up a couple of times before in Florida and has failed to pass. This version of the bill would make revenge porn a third-degree felony and would also permit the police to arrest a suspect without having to get a warrant – if the law enforcement official believed that the suspect was in violation of the statute.

The TV station says that it has been in contact with victim advocates who are not happy with the proposed law because it only covers images that are transmitted electronically.

No matter the outcome of the present attempt to pass legislation about revenge porn, the issue is likely to stay on the legal radar for the foreseeable future. Electronic devices aren’t going away anytime soon, and neither are jilted lovers, for that matter.

Plus, 13 states have already passed some form of revenge porn laws. Which, while not guaranteeing passage everywhere else, testifies to the pervasiveness of the problem.

Others who advocate in Florida for revenge porn laws cite the issue of child pornography as evidence that such laws are needed.

“It’s a new instrumentality of domestic violence. It’s a new weapon,” says one state’s attorney.

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