In New Hampshire, “Revenge Porn” is Now a Felony
Most of us know that you must be very careful with what you say or post on the Internet because you never know when it might came back to bite you. There are countless stories of underage co-eds who post party pictures only later to face law enforcement. Then there are employees who post images of questionable taste and later have to face angry employers. Potential careers are ended before they even begin due to particular images that are out there in cyber space. While many of these unfortunate images are posted voluntarily, many are not – including those depicting very private moments.
Be Careful What You Share
Because of today’s ever-evolving technology and the seemingly endless obsession with social media, information is spread across the Internet at breakneck speed. News, photographs, videos, status updates and messages can travel around the globe within seconds.
And, with respect to sexual images and videos, the display to the public is the last thing that many depicted individuals want.
In fact, the vast majority of people who are depicted in sexual photographs and videos (either willingly or unknowingly) would do just about anything to keep those images private. However, sometimes relationships turn bad and the “keeper” of the images may have less than honorable intentions and do the unthinkable – share the images with others WITHOUT the consent of those depicted in the images.
This nonconsensual sharing of private sexual images, often referred to as “revenge porn,” is becoming more frequent and the victims include those from moms and teachers to celebrities, sports stars and politicians. 90% of victims are women. These images and videos most frequently are distributed through social media sites, email and text messages. Even if the images are quickly deleted, once they are out in cyberspace, they are out there for good.
The good news is that a growing number of states, including New Hampshire, are taking serious action to protect those who wish to keep their sexual images private.
New Hampshire has joined 26 other states in making revenge porn a felony offense. The newly-enacted law states that “the act of purposely sharing, with the intent to harass, intimidate, threaten or coerce the depicted person” is no longer a misdemeanor, but a Class B felony.
New Bill Signed in New Hampshire Law
New Hampshire’s governor, Maggie Hassan, signed the bill into law in May and received support from both Republicans and Democrats. Hassan stated that, “In an increasingly technological world, there are new threats to the privacy and security of our citizens, including the [sharing] of private sexual images without consent, a practice that is harmful and immoral. By making it a felony to disseminate private sexual images of another individual without their consent, [the new law] is a common-sense step forward in our efforts to protect and maintain the privacy of Granite Staters.”
By Joseph Annutto