California’s revenge porn law, which notoriously didn’t include selfies, now will

August 27

A California bill expanding the definition of “revenge porn” to include selfies has passed the state legislature and is headed for Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) desk.

“As technology evolves, it is important that government act to protect our citizens from new types of crime, such as revenge porn,” said Sen. Anthony Cannella (R), the bill’s sponsor, in a statement.

Cannella was the sponsor of California’s initial revenge porn bill, SB 255, which was signed into law last year. That bill, which made it a misdemeanor to distribute nude or explicit photos or videos of someone without their consent — but was criticized by advocates for not going far enough, because it only covered photos or videos taken by someone else. Experts at the Cyber Civil Rights Institute have estimated that as much as 80 percent of revenge porn involves photos taken by the victim.

A spokesman for Cannella, Jeff Macedo, said at the time the senator hoped to strengthen the bill, but the Committee for Public Safety decided against adding language to include selfies for First Amendment reasons.

The new bill, SB 1255, extends the law to make revenge porn a crime regardless of who created the image. It was passed unanimously by the California Senate Monday.

2013 study by McAfee found about 10 percent of ex-partners have threatened to expose risque photos of their ex online, and they carried out those threats nearly 60 percent of the time.

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