Proposed bill may ban “revenge porn”

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)–With social media, we’re all living in a different world when it comes to sending out photos,  especially intimate ones.

And the trend of sending out nude or embarrassing photos of exes has become such a big problem that Connecticut may pass a law banning what’s called “revenge porn.”

News 8’s Bob Wilson was at the capitol today when this new legislation was on the table for discussion.

There are entire websites dedicated to “revenge porn.” It’s typically where an ex-boyfriend posts a nude picture of his ex-girlfriend to get back at her.

The photo is taken at a weak moment when the couple was dating. It ends up out there for everyone to see.

“One of the choices I will tell you, was a picture taken with very little clothing, and she started to cry,” said Prof. Marialice Curren of the University of St. Joseph.  “Tears were streaming down her face, and she said, ‘I was 14 when that picture was taken.”

Professor Curren teaches digital citizenship at St. Joseph. She just returned from speaking at a bullying conference in Orlando, where a woman wanted help removing her near-naked image from the internet.

“You can petition Google, to have that removed, because you are underage,” Curren said. “We found out where that picture originated from, and it was an ex-boyfriend. We could ask him to remove it.”

But Curren said that when a photo hits the web, it is nearly impossible to get back the digital footprint.

“I like to use the expression ‘digital tattoo,’ because it’s permanent,” Curren said. “And if you do want to remove a real tattoo, it’s painful, it’s costly, and there’s always a remnant. It never really goes away.”

There have been cases in Connecticut. One man was arrested for breach of peace and harassment for posting a photo of his ex-girlfriend.

Now, lawmakers are targeting revenge porn.

“You can’t just post whatever you want to post if you’re angry with somebody and want to get back at them,” said one representative. “That kind of behavior will not be tolerated.”

A proposed bill would make revenge porn punishable by up to a year in prison. Some tough consequences for a tough crime sweeping the nation.

 

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