ACLU expresses concerns over ‘revenge porn’ bill

(Brian Yocono/WPRI)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The American Civil Liberties Union is raising concerns over a “revenge porn” bill being considered by House lawmakers.

The proposed measure would make it illegal to publish sexual images or videos of a person without their consent that a reasonable person would know were meant to remain private. The bill states that anyone who threatens to release that type of material, or demands payment for the removal of such images would be charged with a felony.

However, the ACLU worries the bill is too broad and could have some unintended consequences.

“It is essential to recognize that this bill makes no mention of revenge or harassment, and contains no requirement that the dissemination of a photo cause harm or be intended to cause harm in order to violate the law,” ACLU executive director Steven Brown said in a release. “Rather, it is written so broadly that it could make criminals of people involved in neither revenge nor porn, and would have a direct impact on the First Amendment rights of the media.”

The bill was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. It will now be considered by the full House.

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