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its surrounding areas.

Revenge porn one step closer to becoming illegal in California

In a recent post we wrote about the possibility of distributing “revenge porn”—described as explicit images of a former intimate partner posted with the intent of embarrassing or harassing an ex—becoming an Internet sex crime. We thought our readers in the Oakland area would be interested to learn that the bill recently passed both the Senate and the Assembly, making it one step closer to becoming a law.

Only one lawmaker opposed the bill, claiming that it violated First Amendment rights. Otherwise, the proposed legislation received overwhelming support and was barely altered as it moved through the legal process. Most notably, provocative “selfies,” or photos that a person takes of themself, were removed from the bill. This means that even if the self-taken photo was not intended for distribution, if someone else posts the photos on line that person cannot be charged with a crime. If the bill becomes a law, the senator who authored the legislation intends to fight to amend the bill to include selfies next year. The Governor has until mid-October to sign the revenge porn bill, officially known as SB 255. It is unknown if he will sign the bill or not; if he does, the law will go into effect immediately.

Even though revenge porn would be considered a misdemeanor offense, sex crimes or cybercrimes of any sort carry serious consequences. False accusations will be inevitable, and it could be hard to prove whether the photograph was self-taken or not. Those who face criminal charges of any type may want to speak with an attorney regarding the best course of action.

Source: NBC LosAngeles.com, “Calif. Lawmakers Pass "Revenge Porn" Bill,” Samantha Tata, Sep. 13, 2013.

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