Thursday, October 3, 2013

Revenge Porn Outlawed

Let's say that you're happily married or otherwise paired up. Or let's say that you're not but all the same you've found someone with whom you like to pretend you're married on a regular basis. Well over time and this time can be a relatively short period for some people you will probably relax around this person. That is, after all, the very definition of intimacy. This man or woman will know things about you that no one else does. Pillow talk can be quite revealing. During this relationship you and this person might even exchange notes, pictures, letters and e-mails that are really for your eyes only sort of stuff. Some people share more than others but if you're human and have been in a relationship no matter how brief or fleeting, your partner has some information about you which is not available to the general public. Few people stay together forever. Ideally if a break up occurs it's a mutually agreed upon thing where two people decide that they can't or shouldn't live or sleep together any more and respectfully and calmly part ways. Right. Unfortunately many breakups aren't mutual. And they certainly aren't respectful or calm. Insults may be hurled, tears may be shed, threats may be uttered and decades long feuds may develop over who paid for (and thus owns) mutually enjoyed items. 

Something else that may occur during or after a breakup is that one or both parties to the breakup may decide to share with the world (or at least their former lover's/spouse's circle of friends) the kind of information I detailed above. This is most definitely NOT a morally good thing to do but the urge to hurt someone the way that you think they hurt you, ESPECIALLY if you were the dumpee and not the dumper, could be overwhelming. I think this is wrong but emotions can overwhelm morality when it comes to affairs of the heart. If a man suddenly gets a text message from his wife that she's dumping him, doesn't ever want to talk to or see him again and oh by the way she's been playing house with her co-worker for the past two years, you might understand why this fellow might start venting some negative emotions about said woman. Of course this is not gender specific. Each gender is equally capable of being emotionally swept away by tidal wave feelings of hostility and revenge that could arise from imagined or real mistreatment. 

As the cost of photography and storage has dropped while the ability to produce your own naughty photographs has increased tenfold, some people (mostly women) have discovered that perhaps sending certain intimate photographs to people (mostly men) that they loved or at least lusted after wasn't a good idea. When the breakup happens some people who find themselves in possession of naughty pics decide to post them to certain internet sites.
SACRAMENTO, California — California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed a bill outlawing so-called revenge porn and levying possible jail time for people who post naked photos of their exes after bitter breakups.
Senate Bill 255, which takes effect immediately, makes it a misdemeanor to post identifiable nude pictures of someone else online without permission with the intent to cause emotional distress or humiliation. The penalty is up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
"Until now, there was no tool for law enforcement to protect victims," the bill's author, Sen. Anthony Cannella, said in a statement. "Too many have had their lives upended because of an action of another that they trusted."  Cannella, a Republican, has said revenge porn is a growing problem in the age of social media, when photos and videos that were made privately during a relationship can find their way onto hundreds of websites. Before the criminal law was enacted, California allowed victims to sue their virtual assailants, but that is an expensive and time-consuming option.

LINK
This is crude and crass and really pathetic but I don't think it's really that different than people sharing love letters or telling other people stories which are designed to show their ex in a bad light. It's just part of human nature. People say that all is fair in love and war. I'm not sure that's really the case but I am sure that I don't want to send people to jail or prison because they posted a picture of their ex. It's not ladylike or gentlemanly behavior but is it worth taking away someone's freedom? Not from where I sit. The chance that something like this might happen can be reduced by not creating these sorts of pictures in the first place but this sort of privacy violation can never ever be eliminated. If you've ever been intimate with someone in your life, they know things about you.  And if you break up with someone, s/he may say negative things about you. That's just part of the risk of being a healthy adult. All you can do is try to be intimate with people who have some sense of morality and honor. It's all in the game. I don't think the state needs to be involved here.

QUESTIONS

1) Should this sort of thing (posting pics of your ex) be illegal?

2) If you give a picture/note/e-mail to someone, who owns that item?

3) Is all truly fair in love and war?

4) Are there free speech implications?


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