LANSING—Sens. Rick Jones and Steve Bieda’s bipartisan legislation, Senate Bills 924 and 925, to criminalize “cyber revenge” was approved Wednesday by the Michigan Senate. Cyber revenge is the posting of sexually explicit images on the Internet without the consent of an individual, but also includes images given through consent within the confines of a private relationship.
“In a split second a sexually explicit photo can be uploaded to the Internet without the individual’s consent – permanently ruining their reputation,” said Bieda, D-Warren. “The support Republicans and Democrats have shown for these bills is proof that cyber revenge will not be tolerated in the state of Michigan.”
Dr. Holly Jacobs, the founder of the End Revenge Porn Campaign, is only one example of an individual victimized by cyber revenge. No measures were available when her ex-husband posted inappropriate photos of her on the Internet without her consent. These photos, given consensually in the context of their relationship, resulted in lost job opportunities, forced her to change names and limited her career. Her story can be read at www.endrevengeporn.org.
“We live in a time of great technological advancements. Unfortunately, in the cases of cyber revenge, these advancements are being abused to intimidate or harass many people,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “The state of Michigan is taking a stand on behalf of these victims by providing authorities with tools to help stop cyber revenge and prosecute the oppressors.”
SBs 924-925 create penalties subjecting a first time offender to a $500 fine or a maximum of 93 days in prison, or both. A second time offender is subject to a $1,000 fine or up to a year in prison, or both.
The bills now go to the House for consideration before being sent to the governor.