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In the U.K., Posting Nude Pictures of Another Person Is About to Become a Jailable Offense

This year, 28 states introduced or proposed legislation pertaining to revenge porn, though many are still pending

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smithsonian.com

In the United Kingdom, printing or posting nude or sexual images online of someone without their permission might soon carry a two-year jail term, the Guardian reports. A new bill, specifically designed to deter so-called revenge porn, is currently being reviewed in Parliament.

In the past, the U.K. has dealt with revenge porn under the guise of anti-obscenity and blackmail laws, but as the Guardian writes, "There has been mounting political pressure to outlaw the practice of humiliating former lovers by posting intimate pictures of them online."

The new law, justice secretary Chris Grayling told the Guardian, will "make it absolutely clear to those who act in this way that they could face prison.” In Israel, revenge porn is already explicitly illegal, and the Philippines, Germany and France also have laws pertaining to the practice. 

In the U.S., on the other hand, the laws about posting nude photos of other people are not so clear. After photos of the actress Jennifer Lawrence were posted on the internet, she made news by speaking out about these less-than-stringent legal standards:

“It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime,” the actress says. “It is a sexual violation. It’s disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change.”

Each state has its own standards for how revenge porn is categorized and dealt with. Since January, bills on revenge porn have been proposed in nearly 30 states. Many of of the proposed bills—including in Florida, Connecticut, Alabama and Kentucky—failed to pass. Others are still pending. So far, only twelve—including Colorado, Utah, Wisconsin, California and Alaska—have passed laws; in each state, the crime is defined and punished slightly differently.

For most victims of revenge porn, the only legal remedy is to file a copyright infringement suit—if they took the photo themselves—or to allege invasion of privacy or intentional infliction of emotional distress. 

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