Oregon Tries to Close Loopholes in ‘Revenge Porn’ Law

House Bill 2393 would remove the requirement that offending images be posted to a website. It would apply to any distribution of those images, including through technologies that have not yet been invented.

by Chris Lehman, The Oregonian / June 4, 2019
The Oregon Statehouse (Shutterstock)

(TNS) — Oregon’s “revenge porn” law is on track for an update that would better reflect how people use technology.

The existing law, passed in 2015, made it a crime for people to post intimate images online without the consent of the person in the photo. The goal of the original statute was to prevent people from humiliating their former romantic partners by spreading nude pictures of them around the web.

But the current law only applied to images posted on “an internet website,” which created a significant loophole. Namely, that “websites” are not the only tool that people have when it comes to embarrassing their ex-lovers.

“Other dissemination methods we have investigated include text messaging, email and hand delivering printed images to neighbors,” said Jonathan Funkhouser, a detective with the Lake Oswego Police Department, during testimony. “The subjects in these images can be just as humiliated, if not more, than the subjects in images disclosed through an Internet website.”

House Bill 2393 would close that loophole by removing the requirement that the offending images are posted on a “website.” It would apply to any distribution of those images, including through technologies that have not yet been invented.

The bill would also give victims the right to sue the offender for up to $5,000. The measure specifies that if the intimate images are distributed by a minor, then the minor’s parents are on the hook for the potential civil settlement.

The criminal penalties created by the 2015 law would still apply: A misdemeanor for the first offense, and a felony for subsequent convictions.

House Bill 2393 passed the Oregon Senate 28-0 without debate on Monday and now heads to the governor’s desk.

©2019 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Platforms & Programs