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Screening out revenge porn

July 26, 2019 07:17 pm

Shielding users of social media from the shock and embarrassment of revenge porn posed quite a challenge for state lawmakers.

But Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week signed legislation outlawing this distasteful and ugly practice — the online distribution of sexually graphic images without another person’s consent.

Under the law, anyone convicted of disseminating revenge porn could serve up to a year in prison, plus be ordered to pay civil damages. Victims would be able to seek a court order to remove images posted online.

Distribution of these images will be designated as a class A misdemeanor. Civil rights law was also amended to enable victims to seek damages.

Social media and its benefits were corrupted by the dissemination of pornography of all forms many years ago. This law won’t stop the free-floating porn found on the internet, but it will protect the privacy of individuals and spare them the humiliation caused by distribution of personal images and videos.

“When we look at ways to properly protect victims, or potential victims, it’s so important that our laws reflect changing technologies,” state Sen. George Amedore Jr. said. “So much of our world today is driven by social media and online communication, and damaging or exploitive images can cause long-lasting, irreversible damage to individuals’ lives.”

Those technologies — hidden cameras, smartphones, recording sexual games and fantasies and photographs consensually taken by partners — make images not intended for public consumption. But in the hothouse environment of today’s world, rage, anger and the desire to humiliate another person often find their expression in the open ranges of social media.

The revenge porn law empowers victims of these heinous acts to take action against their abusers and recover damages.

State lawmakers are to be commended for passing this law and taking action to protect millions of New Yorkers.