In Light of Recent Celebrity Hacking, Braunstein Calls for Passage of "Revenge Porn" Bill

In light of the recent hacking of intimate celebrity photographs, Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-Bayside) called for the passage of his legislation criminalizing the non-consensual disclosure of sexually explicit photographs, also known as “revenge porn.”

“The legislation I introduced last session, A.8214, criminalizes the non-consensual disclosure of sexually explicit photographs,” said Assemblyman Braunstein. “It would protect the vast majority of revenge porn victims, such as the victims of this unfortunate hacking incident. Specifically, the bill covers photographs, including ‘selfies,’ that are captured consensually, as part of an intimate relationship or for one's private use, with the expectation of privacy, and are later disclosed to the public without the consent of the individual photographed. This legislation would also criminalize the actions of those who are exacerbating this outrageous violation of privacy by publishing and re-posting the hacked celebrity pictures on the Internet.”

“Disseminating sexually explicit images that were taken or shared with an expectation of privacy causes lasting damage to victims and should be a crime,” said Assemblyman Braunstein. “Passage of A.8214 would make it clear that New York will not allow this type of harassment to continue. It is apparent from this widespread hacking incident that the problem will only get worse if we do not take action.”

“The celebrity hack, likely perpetrated by individuals who do not even know their victims personally, demonstrates why sexual privacy laws must focus on the lack of consent to disclosure rather than any intent to harm or harass. Assemblyman Braunstein’s bill is a good example of a clear law that will protect the sexual privacy not only of celebrities, but all individuals,” says Mary Anne Franks, a law professor at the University of Miami School of Law and the Vice-President of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative who has worked with several states on non-consensual pornography legislation.

This legislation makes the non-consensual disclosure of sexually explicit images a class A misdemeanor. This bill is narrowly drawn so as not to infringe on First Amendment rights, as there is no constitutional protection afforded to individuals who consume or distribute private, sexually explicit images of individuals without their consent and for no legitimate public purpose. The bill also provides exceptions for lawful and common practices of law enforcement, and situations involving voluntary exposure in public or commercial settings.