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16 US states discuss revenge porn bills

17:39 Mar 10 2014 United States

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Illinois is one of 16 states currently addressing the issue of revenge porn and could become the third state to outlaw the act. California and New Jersey have already passed similar legislation.

One in 10 people have threatened to expose sexually explicit photos of an ex online and 60 percent of those issuing threats have actually posted the images, according to a Jan. 3 study by the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative’s End Revenge Porn campaign.

However, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois believes that criminalizing this behavior is wrong because it may punish the innocent, according to Ed Yohnka, ACLU Illinois director of communications and public policy. He said the way the law is drafted could criminalize people who view and share these pictures rather than going after the website creators and posters of the content.

“There is a First Amendment-protected right to take these pictures, [to] have these pictures or even to share them,” Yohnka said. “But it is not protected in terms of nonconsensual sharing. What we are concerned about is the degree to which the law is drafted that doesn’t make the distinction between that which is and is not consensual sharing.”

Yohnka said victims are able to file civil lawsuits for their photos to be removed from revenge porn websites, which he said is a better alternative to criminalizing offenders.
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