Those sexts to your vengeful ex could be safe from public viewing under a bill currently making rounds in the Capitol.
Citing the lack of privacy associated with social media, Rep. John Spiros, R-Marshfield, has begun circulating a bill that would criminalize non-consensual distribution of sexually explicit photos and videos.
The bill would apply to “images or a person who is nude or partially nude or who is engaging in sexually explicit behavior.”
The legislation is similar to a law enacted earlier this month in California entitled the “Revenge Porn Act,” which also criminalizes the act of distributing explicit videos and photos.
However, California’s law specifically targets those who distribute videos and photos of ex-spouses or lovers to humiliate or harass them and can end up on “revenge porn” websites.
Before October, California had a law prohibiting non-consensual distribution of explicit videos and images, which this bill would create for Wisconsin, Katherine Bates, spokesperson for Spiros, said.
“Times have changed, the proliferation of cell phones with cameras and video capabilities makes this legislation pertinent to protect a generation who are a point and click away from having their private moments made public,” Bates said.
Spiros added posting and distributing such images is not a “victimless crime,” because it can affect its victims in a serious way.
“People have lost their jobs and have committed suicide. People have had to change their names because they have been stalked,” Bates said. “People’s lives have been ruined. Their rights are not protected.”
The bill protects both images a person takes of themselves, or images another person takes, Bates said.
The bill would update current law to reflect new, emerging technology, Bates added.
Bates added the draft of the bill has already received support from both sides of the aisle and is seeking co-sponsors while it is still in its drafting phase.
Dana Brueck, spokesperson for the Department of Justice, said the department will take a position on the bill after it has been formally and introduced and if a stance is appropriate.
The draft will be formally introduced later this month and will hopefully be heard by the Assembly later this session, Bates said.
Correction: This story has been changed to reflect the accurate nature and provisions included in the bill, and statements from Ms. Bates. The following paragraphs have been changed to more accurately reflect the language of the bill.
“The bill would apply to ‘images or a person who is nude or partially nude or who is engaging in sexually explicit behavior.’”
”The bill protects both images a person takes of themselves, or images another person takes, Bates said.”
“The bill would update current law to reflect new, emerging technology, Bates added.”