DALLAS CRIMINAL LAWYERS.: FEDERAL, STATE & APPEALS - BRODEN & MICKELSEN LLP

What Is Revenge Porn?

What Is Revenge Porn? - Attorneys Broden & Mickelsen

What Is Revenge Porn?

Before the internet, it was much easier for people to lose contact or drift apart. After a bad break up, you might move away and never have to worry about bumping into an old ex. Now that social media and smartphones are everywhere, however, keeping your distance is much harder than it used to be — especially when your ex has potentially compromising photos or videos of you.  

While it’s normal to feel hurt or even a little angry after an intimate relationship breaks down, some people use the internet and social media to “get back” at exes by posting sexual images or content about their ex without the person’s consent. And because the perpetrator typically acquired the photos through an intimate relationship with the person, they may now have access to sensitive and potentially embarrassing content initially shared between consenting adults in private.

Known as “revenge porn,” participating in this behavior can cause the victim to be humiliated and can even lead to them losing their job and social standing. Revenge porn also has potential criminal and civil consequences for people who post images and other content.

According to Scientific American, 50 percent of adults admit to “sexting,” which is sending a sexually explicit photo or message to an intimate partner, and more than 96 percent of people use their smartphones to take these photos. Among people ages 18 to 24 years old, 70 percent say they receive “sexually suggestive photos and messages.”

Revenge Porn in Texas

In 2015, Texas passed a revenge porn law that made it a crime to intentionally post visual content depicting an individual’s intimate parts without their consent. Under the statute, posting revenge porn was a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $4,000. According to media reports, the 2015 law was also in line with a number of laws in other states that purport to crack down on revenge porn.

In 2018, however, the 12th Court of Appeals ruled the law vague and overly broad. Media reports indicate that the Texas Attorney General will likely appeal the ruling to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Revenge Porn Laws in the U.S.

While there is currently no federal law prohibiting revenge porn, the majority of states have laws that make it illegal. In some states, the penalties can be quite serious and include both jail time and significant fines.

As revenge porn has become more of a problem, several other states have passed laws similar to the one in Texas. In New Jersey, for example, people who post revenge porn can face a fine up to $30,000. In California, a revenge porn conviction can result in up to a year in jail and a max fine of $2,000.

In fact, 40 states plus the District of Columbia have revenge porn laws on the books. While Texas’ revenge porn law is in a state of flux, it’s quite likely the law will prevail in some form.

Additionally, there have been a number of civil cases in which victims of revenge porn received significant compensation from a former partner who posted sexually explicit content without their consent. For example, a California woman received $6.45 million from her ex-boyfriend after he posted nude photos and videos of her online.

Facebook Rolls Out Revenge Porn Program

Revenge porn has also become a major problem on social media sites like Facebook, where users can share images with hundreds and even thousands of people with only a few clicks of a mouse.   

According to a CNN Tech report, Facebook is unveiling a program in the U.S. that aims to prevent revenge porn by asking users to send Facebook their potentially embarrassing photos. Once Facebook receives the photos, the company claims a “very small team” will review the photos and “hash” them, which prevents them from ever being shared on Facebook or its partner sites. Facebook also claims the photos will then be deleted.

To help avoid being a victim of revenge porn, experts say it’s important to think twice before sharing any nude or explicit photos with anyone, including spouses. Victims of revenge porn say they agreed to photos and video because they never thought a person they trusted would betray them in such a horrifying way. No matter how well you think you know someone, it’s probably best to avoid sending or agreeing to take compromising photos.

It’s also important to note that, even if you trust your partner, photos and videos can be lost or misplaced. Additionally, laptops and flash drives can get stolen, and email accounts can get hacked. When in doubt, it’s usually best to say no to any kind of nude or explicit photo, video, or other content.  

Dallas Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers

Broden & Mickelsen

T:(214) 720-9552

https://www.brodenmickelsen.com/

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.texastribune.org/2018/04/19/appeals-court-strikes-down-texas-revenge-porn-law/
  2. https://txlege.texastribune.org/84/bills/SB1135/?_ga=2.86152344.1853998363.1531257638-1442476436.1529202502
  3. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/04/22/texas-revenge-porn-law-goes-too-far-court-rules.html
  4. https://money.cnn.com/2018/05/23/technology/facebook-revenge-porn/index.html
  5. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sext-much-if-so-youre-not-alone/
  6. https://www.cybercivilrights.org/revenge-porn-laws/
  7. https://money.cnn.com/2018/04/09/technology/revenge-porn-judgment/index.html?iid=EL
  8. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/09/revenge-porn-stories-real-impact_n_4568623.html

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