Bills Would Criminalize Cyber ‘Revenge Porn’ By Scorned Lovers

Bill in the Michigan senate hopes to criminalize cyber revenge porn.

A new set of bills in the Michigan State Senate would criminalize posting “revenge porn” on the internet.

Bipartisan Senate Bills 924 and 925, introduced Thursday by Senator Rick Jones of Grand Ledge, Mich. and Senator Steven Bieda of Warren, Mich., will make it a crime to share sexually graphic images of anyone without written permission. Since the invention of sexting, it has become far more common for scorned lovers to seek revenge by posting nude or sexually explicit images of their former love-interests as internet porn, according to WILX News.

“This is an attempt to stop cyber revenge – usually the actions of a former lover to intimidate or harass their ex-partner or to damage their reputation,” Senator Jones explained of the proposed legislation in a statement. “This breach of trust is a growing problem in America that affects both men and women. I will do everything I can to stop this, because everyone deserves to have their privacy protected – especially in their own home.”

Senator Jones explained, “The victims are devastated. They made a poor decision, sometimes a little alcohol was involved, and they allowed a boyfriend to take a photo. They thought it was a personal thing. But when they broke up, revenge crept in.”

Jones says the “Cyber Revenge” bills will protect more than just former lovers, they would make it a criminal misdemeanor to share sexually explicit photos without the written permission of the subject.

“The bill also protects people from hackers getting into your personal stuff and then posting a picture,” Jones explained. “They have sites out there and people have monetary gain from pictures that they have no permission to use.”

According to MLIVE, offenders would be guilty of a criminal misdemeanor which could bring the cyber-bully up to 90 days in jail, a fine of $500 or both for their first offense. Repeat revenge porn offenders would face a year in prison, a $1,000 fine or both.

Some Michigan residents see the revenge porn legislation as over the top. Revenge porn is certainly inappropriate, they say, but it shouldn’t be a crime. Emily Bedard told WILX, “I think its very inappropriate for someone to take advantage of someone like that. But I also think that you shouldn’t be sending out pictures that you don’t want the world to see.”

Michigan resident Shawn Hill told the Inquisitr “The idea really is just silly. It is just lawmakers trying to make people feel safe, when not really making them safe, in an attempt to take away more freedoms. Why stop at pictures, why not make people give back all gifts.”

Magen LaFave, a victim of the would-be cyber-crime, stated, “I have asked him to take it down. It’s still up and there isn’t anything I can do about it. I should have the ability to call the police and have them make him take it down.”

Other Michigan residents are saying this set of bills creates free speech issues. But Senator Bieda explained there are limits to freedom of speech. He said, “if you can’t yell fire in a theater, you shouldn’t be able to post nude pictures of your ex online as well.”

The pending cyber revenge porn legislation follows recommendations from the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative which hopes to criminalize actions that have traditionally only been litigated through civil claims. A similar law was signed in Arizona on Wednesday. According to MLIVE, Michigan is one of three states attempting to institute new revenge porn laws.

Do you think it should be a crime for a person to upload sexually explicit photos that they were given, or do Michigan revenge porn bills go too far?

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