Florida bill would make 'revenge porn' a crime

By Matt Galka, Reporter, Capitol News Service
Published On: Mar 11 2014 05:00:56 PM EDT
revenge porn
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

"Revenge porn" is just as bad as it sounds -- the act of posting nude or semi-nude pictures online to embarrass an ex carries no punishment in Florida, but one bill would make it a crime.

Sending nude or semi-nude photos to someone has become a trend that both kids and adults are doing. The "sexting" is meant to remain private. If a vindictive ex posts the photo online for others to see without consent -- an act known as "revenge porn" -- there is no penalty in Florida.

Sen. David Simmons' bill would criminalize revenge porn.

"There are going to be a lot of people that are going to think twice about publishing these types of intimate photographs," said Simmons.

Florida's Senate chambers hardly seems like a place where pornography would be a hot topic, but that was the case Tuesday.

"With the click of a key, a person can destroy the life of another individual and in a situation like this, it's very important our laws keep up with technology," Simmons said.

Some lawmakers are concerned that the bill is too harsh on 18-year-olds in high school that are sending pictures back and forth.

An 18-year-old found posting a picture of a victim younger than 16 could face a first-degree misdemeanor. Sen. Audrey Gibson is concerned it could leave a permanent mark on a high school senior's record.

"I think we need to make sure it's harassment, and it rises to the level of harassment and the level of being vindictive," said Gibson.

The bill had originally carried felony charges but has been amended down to misdemeanors. The message from Florida remains the same: Don't press send.

The Florida Sheriff's Association had pushed for stiffer penalties, but is still supporting the bill. Only California and New Jersey have revenge porn laws on the books.

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