Rep. Tong Leads Fight Against ‘Revenge Porn’; Bill Heads to Senate

In a day and age when anything and everything is recorded either with or without consent, a new technology-driven class of criminal activity is quickly developing says state Rep. William Tong. It’s called “revenge porn” and under a bill passed in the state House of Representatives, it’s now illegal. The bill now heads to the Senate.

Tong explained the lengthy debate. “It’s not an issue that is easy to talk about but it’s a very serious problem in our technology-driven society. And of course, we always want to be careful when rights of expression are involved.”

The bill, titled “An Act Concerning Invasions of Privacy” says it (1) provides a criminal penalty for the practice of “upskirting”, (2) strengthens penalties for “Peeping Tom” violations, (3) provides for the prosecution of incidents of voyeurism that go undetected for a prolonged period of time, (4) protects victims of voyeurism from public embarrassment, and (5) establishes a criminal offense of unlawful dissemination of an intimate image with respect to persons who knowingly disseminate an intimate image of another person with the intent to harass, annoy, alarm or terrorize such other person. There’s more detail in the Hartford Courant’s Capitol Watch blog.

Much of the debate focused on just how the proposed law could be practically enforced given the transient nature of the Internet. Tong says people need to understand this is not a “nanny-state” bill. “Some people may see this as prudish or morally driven legislation. That’s not the case. Real harm comes to people who are victims of this type of activity. Lives can be destroyed.”

Tong says the only obstacle to passage in the Senate is time as the session is quickly closing. “I’m not aware of any substantive objection to it.”