Senate approves bill to crack down on revenge porn

By Associated Press
Published On: Mar 18 2014 01:52:28 PM EDT
Updated On: Mar 18 2014 02:30:37 PM EDT
revenge porn
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

People who post sexually explicit photos of their exes online will face criminal charges in Florida under a revenge porn bill the Senate passed unanimously on Tuesday.

The idea is to stop people who get back at their partners after a bitter breakup by posting photos that were originally supposed to be kept between the couple.

"It's a significant problem. It's a case where the click of a key on the internet now can literally destroy the life of a person and now we've got to change it," said Sen. David Simmons after his bill passed. "A person can put a picture like that all across the world and the impact is devastating."

Women are typically the victim of revenge porn. There are websites that encourage men to send in photos or videos of their ex-wives or girlfriends to get back at them. The images are often taken with consent before relationships go sour.

Simmons said some people argue if sexually explicit photos are made public, the subjects are just paying the price for agreeing to pose for them, and that's wrong.

"A person who takes what was intended to be intimate, personal photographs or images should not be disclosing them to third parties. There's the real crime, it's not a lapse of judgment," said Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs. "It was done with the intent that it would remain confidential and there's no reason whatsoever that a person should take advantage of that circumstance."

The bill (SB 532) would make it a second degree misdemeanor to post such images without permission from the subject. Offenders would face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

A similar House bill (DB 475) would make the crime a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. That bill needs approval from three committees before a floor vote.

Simmons was confident the differences in penalties could be worked out and urged House members to consider the lower penalty and increase it later if they felt there is a need.

"Sometimes you have to walk before you run," Simmons said. "Get it on the books.

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