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AZ House unanimously approves bill outlawing ‘revenge porn’

Rep. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Rep. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Saying the Internet is forever, the state House unanimously approved legislation on March 10 to make it illegal to intentionally post someone else’s naked photo online.

HB2515 is designed to address so-called “revenge porn,” where someone may have taken a compromising photo of a mate or lover during their relationship, one that was not meant to be shared with others. Rep. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, said it becomes an entirely different situation when the relationship ends, often badly.

“As technology changes, people invent new ways of hurting folks,” he said. “When we send a picture to somebody in the context of a trusting relationship, we should not have to wonder what that person is going to do.”

The legislation covers not just images of nudity but also anyone engaged in any sex act.

Rep. Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, said technology has made the legislation necessary.

“Twenty years ago, if a picture was taken, it might reach a few people,” he said. “It would be lost or deteriorate or be destroyed.”

No more.

“Now, if something goes on the Internet, it’s there for the whole world to see,” Petersen said. “It is always looming. It never ceases to harass, humiliate and depress those who don’t want their images displayed to the world.”

More to the point, Petersen said, the girls who tend to be the victims in this find there is no escape and some eventually take their own lives.

“Some girls have moved to another town, only to have people in that town find their images forwarded to them by friends,” he said.

Mesnard agreed to include language that says the Internet service providers and the cellular companies that forward the images have no liability.

He also told colleagues they should not worry that minors who do something stupid are going to find themselves with a permanent felony record. Mesnard said cases for those younger than 18 are generally handled in Juvenile Court, with the option of having their records expunged.

The legislation, passed 58-0  by the House, now goes to the Senate.

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