Fla. 'Revenge Porn' Bill Sailing Through Legislature

Mar 28, 2013 3:30 PM PST

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A bill that targets "revenge porn" websites has cleared a Florida House subcommittee and is moving forward in the state's Legislature.

On Wednesday, the state's House Criminal Justice Subcommittee gave the green light, 12-0, for the bill to sail on to an appropriations subcommittee.

It's author, state Rep. Tom Goodson, R-Titusville, hopes the bill would have an effective date as early as October.

HB 787 "prohibits knowing use of [content] that depicts nudity and contains any of depicted individual's personal identification information or counterfeit or fictitious information purporting to be such personal identification information, without first obtaining depicted person's written consent."

Legislators, in a report, were told of a recent story involving nude photographs and videos of a young woman in Brevard County posted online by the woman’s ex-boyfriend.

"Along with the photos, her name, email address, and the name of the city where she lived were also posted," the report said. "The woman said she called the Brevard County Sheriff's Office for help and was told it's not a crime to post nude photos without a person's consent, even if the person and the person's address are identified."

Goodson's proposal provides for enhanced penalties for violations involving the posting of victims younger than 16 years of age.  

HB 787 also would target perpetrators who reside out of state but post online content involving offended in-state residents.

"An offense is committed within this state if any conduct that is an element of the offense or any harm to the depicted person, including any harm to the depicted person's privacy interests, resulting from the offense occurs within this state," language of the bill says.

Violators of HB 787, if passed, would be subject to a third-degree felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison, five years probation and a $5,000 fine.

Revenge porn is a recent phenomenon and online category where website operators post nude or erotic images of women or men without their consent on such sites like PinkMeth.me, YouGotPosted.com and others. The sites make money off online advertising, particularly from well-known dating sites.

Some revenge porn sites include actual email addresses, cellphone numbers, links to Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn profiles, and residential addresses displayed for all to see.

The bill is supported by the Brevard County Chief’s Association, State Attorney Phil Archer, Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Florida Sheriff’s Association.

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