California Senate Passes Revenge Porn Bill

Aug 16, 2013 7:00 AM PST

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The full California Senate approved a bill criminalizing revenge porn yesterday, bringing it one step closer to becoming law.

The bill, also known as SB 255, passed the Senate, 37-1. Only Democratic Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco issued a “no vote” due to his and the ACLU’s concern that the law might interfere with free speech.

It will now be passed along to the Assembly for a similar policy and fiscal review process.  

SB 255, introduced by state Sen. Anthony Cannella, would amend Section 653.2 of  the Penal Code and make it a crime to "cause substantial emotional distress or humiliation" to others by distributing over the Internet nude images of them along with personal identifying information.

The online proliferation of explicit images without the subject’s consent, along with personal information like phone numbers, home town and social media links, is the essence of revenge porn, a recent phenomenon that has caused significant psychological harm to its victims.

Under the new bill, offenders may be charged with a misdemeanor and face one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.  

Cannella’s Communications Director Jeff Macedo told XBIZ that Cannella and his team are “hopeful” that the bill will pass the Assembly before the legislative year concludes Sept. 13.

He also said that bill is classified as an "urgency bill," meaning that it will become law as soon as it signed by the govenor, where it will head if it passes the Assembly.  

Other countries, including Canada and Scotland, have considered developing their own legislative measures to combat revenge porn.

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