Cuomo signs bill criminalizing 'revenge porn' in New York

Cuomo signs bill criminalizing 'revenge porn' in New York
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New York on Tuesday became the latest state to criminalize the publication of “revenge porn,” the nonconsensual sharing of intimate photos.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed the bill into law, making the sharing or publication of an intimate image without permission a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

It also amends the state's civil rights law to allow victims of “revenge porn” to seek civil recourse for damages. 

"Our laws have not kept pace with technology and how abusers can use it to harass, intimidate and humiliate intimate partners," Cuomo said in a statement after signing the bill.

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"By criminalizing the publication of revenge porn, we are empowering victims of this heinous act to take action against their abusers and showing them a path to justice," he added.

Cuomo signaled he would sign the bill in February after it passed in the state Senate. It had been held up for years over concerns that internet companies could be legally held responsible for inadvertently allowing revenge porn photos online. The legislation was then amended this year. 

At least 46 states and the District of Columbia haves laws regarding revenge porn, according to the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative.

New York state law defines revenge porn as “the criminal act of unlawful dissemination or publication of an intimate image when done with the intent to cause harm to the emotional, financial, or physical welfare of another person and when the image was taken with a reasonable expectation that the image would remain private.”

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said the bill is part of the state's Women’s Justice Agenda, which is focussed on “changing a culture that enables sexism and violence against women.”

"This legislation ensures New Yorkers are not victims of nonconsensual release of intimate images, empowering them to take action to remove images from the Internet and subject abusers to jail time," she said in a statement. “This is another important step in our overall goals to achieve true social, economic, racial, and gender justice once and for all."