New York Finally Outlaws “Revenge Porn”

Five years after introducing the legislation in Albany, New York became the 42nd state to outlaw “revenge porn” last month. While the state may have been late to pass the long-awaited legislation, New York’s revenge porn law will be one of harshest in the country. Victims of revenge porn describe upended lives and deeply personal humiliation, which was only compounded by the inability of New York authorities to help. Speaking to The New York Times, one victim of revenge porn, Carrie Goldberg, said that her ex-boyfriend would constantly email nude pictures of her to work colleagues. Goldberg described trying to stop him as an “inescapable nightmare” – the police said they could not do anything, and prosecutors said he had not broken a law.

Now, victims say their “years of helplessness” are finally over. Under the new law, anyone found guilty of disseminating or publishing revenge porn could face up to a year in prison. New York’s law goes further than merely criminalizes revenge porn, though. Similar to twelve other states, New York revenge porn victims will be able to file a lawsuit against the person responsible. With a lower burden of proof and the opportunity to recoup damages to a victim’s reputation, the opportunity to pursue a civil case will provide another avenue for victims to seek justice. Regardless, the solicitous images will be removed from the internet because the new law allows judges to order websites and social media platforms to remove them. According to The New York Times, all other states only require the offender to remove the offending images or videos.

New York’s revenge porn law reflects the rapid shifts in America over the last several years. The state was considered a trailblazer it originally drafted one of the country’s first bills outlawing revenge porn. Five years later, New York is one of the last few states to criminalize the activity – though some localities in the state have passed their own revenge porn laws, including Westchester County and New York City. In addition to showcasing the ubiquity of smartphones and social media, revenge porn laws also reflect broader shifts in America’s perceptions on sexual harassment and social media. At the bill signing, Goldberg said, “I’ve prepared to give this speech five times over five years. Sexual privacy is just a fundamental right.”

Contact Information