Maryland delegate proposes law to outlaw “revenge porn”

Maryland delegate proposes law to outlaw “revenge porn”

It’s a common criticism of American law that our criminal statutes
are unable to keep up with the changing times. The Internet revolution,
in particular, has presented a number of new legal issues that lawmakers
often have difficulty sorting out. When new laws are created, lawmakers
must take the time to ensure they are fair, just and enforceable.

One new law that is currently under consideration is a statute that would
criminalize so-called “revenge porn.” Revenge pornography
is the practice of posting an ex-lover’s nude photos onto the Internet
following a breakup. It’s a practice that has become more widespread
in recent years, and a number of websites have already been shut down
and subjected to penalties for facilitating the practice.

Maryland already has laws that prevent
Internet crimes, but some say these laws are not sufficient to punish and deter revenge
pornography. One Maryland delegate is seeking to rectify this by introducing
a new bill that would make the posting of revenge pornography a felony
offense. Under the new law, people convicted would be subject to a $25,000
fine and a possible 5-year prison sentence.

Currently, only California and New Jersey have passed laws that specifically
address the posting of revenge pornography. Proposals in other states
have been derailed by groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union,
who feared that a poorly written law could violate the First Amendment
rights of people who write about or link to revenge pornography sites.

If passed, the Maryland bill would create some of the strictest penalties
in the nation for the posting of revenge pornography. Few details have
been revealed about the wording of the bill itself; more information will
likely be available when the bill is formally unveiled next week.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Cardin proposes criminalizing ‘revenge porn’” Erin Cox, Oct. 28, 2013