TCTI: Too Crazy To Ignore
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Washington doesn't protect victims of 'revenge porn'

A woman dates a guy. They hit it off. Later the relationship progresses and she sends him some nude pictures of herself. And after they break up, he puts those pictures on the Internet.

Right now, in most states, she can't do anything about it.

But Danielle Citron thinks that should change. Citron is a law professor at the University of Maryland and she told KIRO Radio's Dave Ross that New Jersey is the only state where prosecutors can charge someone for "revenge porn."

In New Jersey, a photo consensually shared between a couple can't be publicized without the person in the photo's consent. Otherwise, that "revenge porn" is considered criminal.

But it's different in just about every other state - including Washington. "If they've shared (a naked photo) with the person consensually, like, hey I want you to see that picture of myself, but only because we're in this trusting relationship, but if the photo was posted online, then it would not break any criminal laws," said Citron.

If you're in Washington you can be charged with a crime for other privacy invasions: the non-consensual taping of someone or the non-consensual surveillance of someone, or taking someone's picture without them realizing it.

But if someone wants to share a photo and scorned lover wants to turn it viral - that's OK, for now.

There are already online harassment laws on the books but it doesn't necessarily cover revenge porn.

"It doesn't because harassment laws require that there be a course of conduct - which means it's got to be harassing behavior that happens again and again. Not an isolated incident," said Citron.

So even if one revenge porn post goes viral and the person puts up one or two pictures with the person's home address and Facebook account information - that wouldn't be covered as a harassing behavior because it's only happened once or twice.

Citron wants other states to follow New Jersey's lead and criminalize the non-consensual publication of someone's naked images. And she believes it's constitutionally possible.

But according to Citron, there's been reluctance because of an incredible amount of intransigents. As a society, in many respects, we often find ourselves blaming the victim. "We really ought to be blaming the defendant who posted it online without permission from the victim. And people's social attitudes, I think hold up these bills."

Anyone whose nude pictures are published is always free to sue but you can't sue the online provider, you have to sue the ex-lover.

Alyssa Kleven, MyNorthwest.com Editor
Alyssa Kleven is an editor and content producer at MyNorthwest.com. She enjoys doting over her adorable dachshund Winnie - named for Arcade Fire front-man Win Butler.
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