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Technology helps those who want to humiliate women

14:22 Mar 8 2014 Washington, DC, USA

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Taking pictures up a woman’s skirt when she doesn’t know it is perfectly legal, according to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which ruled this week that the practice, called "upskirting," is not covered under the state’s peeping Tom laws.

The case involved one man who was picked up on a Boston trolley in a sting operation after two fellow riders told the police that he had been taking pictures under unsuspecting women’s skirts. (In a fine act of sisterly revenge, one of the women who turned him in took pictures of him taking the pictures.)

The state ruled that the man could not be charged under the current law because one of the five criteria for being a "peeping Tom" was that "the subject was another person who was nude or partially nude," and the women whose photos showed up on his cellphone were, like most riders on the Boston trolley, dressed in clothing at the time he took their pictures.

Upskirting is like an anonymous version of "revenge porn," the practice of posting a former girlfriend’s naked pictures online. Upskirting, by contrast, is more passive and generally not directed at any one woman in particular. Some of these pictures get posted on an upskirting site.

The Massachusetts House speaker vowed to close the loophole in the law. Several states have already come up to do the same. Washington state, for example, passed a law a few years ago making it illegal to record or transmit "an image of another person’s intimate areas covered by clothing" when the image is taken in a public place without the person’s consent.
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