University of Miami Law Professor and Cyber Civil Rights Initiative Vice President Mary Anne Franks returns to CLBR provide an update on the battle over Cyber Exploitation (more commonly known as Revenge Porn).
H.R. 5896: Intimate Privacy Protection Act
Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), joined by Reps. Katherine Clark (D-MA), Ryan Costello (PA-6), Walter Jones (R-NC), John Katko (R-NY), Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and Thomas Rooney (R-FL), introduced the Intimate Privacy Protection Act (IPPA) to create a national ban on revenge porn.
34 State Laws, But Not Rhode Island
A total of 34 states have passed laws to address non-consensual pornography, although their approaches vary widely. On June 20th, Rhode Island’s first woman Governor, Gina Raimondo, became the first Governor to veto revenge porn legislation.
While the bill contains exceptions if the image is disseminated for a lawful purpose or in the public interest or when the dissemination of the image is a matter of public concern, none of these terms are defined, making it unclear what conduct is prohibited. Ultimately, that determination would be left to a jury in a criminal case. The bill is apparently intended to curb the dissemination of private sexual material over the internet, but its sweep is much broader it could also cover works of art that depict the human body. And, unlike virtually all other similar state statutes, 7537 does not include basic safeguards such as the requirement that intent to harass be demonstrated for conduct to be criminal.
Fighting Fundamentalists on Left and Right
Frank is a critic of First Amendment fundamentalists who ignore the range of ways women and racial minorities are silenced by sexist and racist harassment, from revenge porn to hate speech. “We should be much more reflective about the First Amendment, its complexity, and its limitations.”
She is also criticizes Second Amendment fundamentalist.
The Right’s passionate defenders of the right to bear arms are notably silent when black men bearing arms are stopped, harassed, and killed by police and when women use firearms to defend themselves against domestic violence. Such selective and self-interested appropriation does not honor either the text or the spirit of the Constitution. Principled commitment to the Constitution must be both grounded in the promise of equal protection and developed through reasoned debate.
She is an outspoken critic of open carry laws.
Cyber Exploitation/Revenge Porn Background and Resources
- “The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative and the Fight Against Revenge Porn” with Mary Anne Franks – Cyber Law and Business Report (February 10, 2015)
- “Voices of Revenge Porn” – Cyber Law and Business Report (July 31, 2013)
- Without My Consent Release Guide for Intimate Image Take Downs
- California Attorney General’s Cyber Exploitation Page with Resources for Victims and Law Enforcement.