LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A Nebraska lawmaker is trying to make it a criminal offense to take pictures up a woman’s skirt.
Sen. Amanda McGill of Lincoln introduced the bill, which was heard Thursday by the Judiciary Committee.
The bill would make it a misdemeanor for someone to photograph, film or broadcast an image of an area of a person that would not generally be visible to the public without his or her knowledge and consent. Subsequent violations would be a felony.
The bill would add a new offense under the part of law that deals with unlawful intrusions, McGill said.
The problem of “upskirting,” or using a cellphone’s or other small camera to surreptitiously record images up a women’s skirt, has become more prevalent with advances in technology, she said.
“I feel that our laws need to catch up with technology when it comes to this type of violation of privacy,” McGill said.
Jon Edwards testified in support of the bill on behalf of the Nebraska County Attorneys Association.
Current law focuses on images recorded of a victim in a place of solitude or where a person is expected to be undressing. This bill specifically would codify “upskirting” as illegal, he said.
Amy Miller of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska testified in a neutral capacity. She said she supports the goal of criminalizing “upskirting” but expressed concern about the current format of the bill.
She cited the bill’s provision to punish those who broadcast such an image as problematic. Miller agrees with prosecuting those who produce the images, she questioned the wisdom and legality of going after friends and others who might have shared the image. There is also no exemption for a public interest or news case, she noted.
Miller also wants to make sure that the bill does not try to address the problem of so-called revenge porn, typically the sharing of an embarrassing or compromising image of a former lover after a relationship ends.
Most of the legal scholarship states that an image freely given to another person is the recipient’s picture, she said.
“The person who has legally, consensually received the photo has the right to share that,” she said.
The bill is LB1034
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