'Revenge porn' law considered by California
- 28 August 2013
- From the section Technology
California is considering a law that would make it illegal to post "revenge porn" on the net in the US state.
The state assembly bill would make it a crime to post pictures or video of someone in a state of full or partial undress without their permission.
Crucially, the bill says this would be illegal even if the subject had originally given consent to being photographed or filmed.
An existing law already protects victims who are secretly recorded.
To take advantage of the amendment, prosecutors would have to prove there had been "intent to cause serious emotional distress, and [that] the other person suffers serious emotional distress".
First offenders could expect up to six months in jail, a $1,000 (£645) fine, or both.
Many websites have sprung up devoted to "revenge porn", which consists of intimate pictures of ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriends.
Many people partaking in "sexting" can find the pictures come back to haunt them.
New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner recently found his campaign in trouble after admitting sending lewd images of himself via text - having resigned from Congress in 2011 over a similar scandal.
A notorious site, IsAnyoneUp.com, which would publish the unwilling subject's full name and link to social networking profiles, attracted more than 300,000 hits a day.
The owner, Hunter Moore, employed four people to help him administer the site and would refuse to remove the pictures, even if threatened with legal action.
The site closed last year and its domain was taken over by an anti-bullying group.
The picture-sharing phone app Snapchat, launched in 2011, allows users to send and receive images that "self-destruct" after a few seconds.
Snapchat users around the world send about 200 million images a day.
But in May the company admitted that deleted data could sometimes be recovered.
It is also possible to save a photo by taking a snapshot of the screen before it disappears.