Intimate Privacy Protection Act of 2016

Sharing non-consensual photos, including “revenge pics,” has become one of the scariest and most common digital violations of personal privacy on the Internet. The practice involves posting nude photos or videos of a person online — a woman in 90 percent of cases — without their consent or knowledge, for the whole world to see. There are numerous cases of an angry ex-boyfriend publically posting a nude photo of his ex-girlfriend that was sent consensually at the time they were dating. More than half of victims have considered suicide.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA14) in July introduced the Intimate Privacy Protection Act, H.R. 5896, which would make nonconsensual pornography such as “revenge porn” a federal crime. The bill, with the acronym IPPA, would make it illegal to “knowingly distribute sexually explicit material with reckless disregard for the victim’s lack of consent.” It would allow a maximum five-year sentence for the crime.

The bill carves out protections for websites that accidentally play host to such illegal content, meaning for example that Reddit wouldn’t be prosecuted if a user posts a revenge porn photograph to their website, only the user who uploaded it would be. However, it would prosecute websites that “actively promote or solicit” non-consensual pornography.

We support this bill as a long-overdue addition to the federal code. In addition to rape and sexual assault being crimes, this law would reflect the growing threat of digital privacy violation of a sexual nature. (Summary provided by GovTracks.us)