Revenge Porn bill seeks to make it illegal in Texas

By: Hugo Sanchez *

Senate Bill 1135 and House Bill 496 both identified as the “Relationship Privacy Act,” seek to make “revenge porn” illegal and give victims an opportunity to sue when intimate photos and videos are posted online without their consent. The bills would make posting intimate materials from a previous or current relationship a Class A misdemeanor, with a punishment of up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $4,000. These bills were inspired by the incident of Hollie Toups. Hollie was alerted by a friend that nude photos of her were easily accessible on the internet. She was harassed, solicited and feared for her life.

In addition to providing a case of action against the person who uploaded the photos, the bills would give victims the right to sue the website owner. In addition to actual and exemplary damages, victims could also seek injunctive relief to bar an online site from displaying the images. If the bills become law, Texas will be among16 states to make revenge porn illegal.

To protect yourself from becoming a victim of revenge porn, keep these things in mind:

(photo courtesy of http://www.tiltingthescales.com/files/2013/09/cyberbullying2.jpg)

*Don’t send or allow photos to be sent to others. Once the photos are sent to another person, you are no longer in control of the photo.

*Snapchat and other apps that promise to delete images don’t necessarily make sending pictures safer. Someone can screenshot the image before it is erased, for example.

If you have any questions about revenge porn, contact Student Legal & Mediation Services at (936) 294-1717 or e-mail at slms@shsu.edu

Resources: http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODE/AustinAmericanStatesman/LandingPage/LandingPage.aspx?href=QUFTLzIwMTUvMDMvMTI.&pageno=OQ..&entity=QXIwMDkwOA..&view=ZW50aXR5

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