(MADISON) Senators Lena C. Taylor and Leah Vukmir put partisan politics aside yesterday to protect Wisconsinites’ privacy in our new high technology society. In the age of smart phones with built in cameras, and social media that can take things viral in seconds, Wisconsin laws failed to protect citizens from the distribution of images they consented to have taken, but never consented to have posted, published or distributed to others.
Under current law, if a person takes or distributes the private representation of a person who was unaware or did not consent to having their photograph taken, that person could be found guilty of a class I Felony, which carries a $10,000 fine and up to three and a half years in prison. However, the victim whose post photos that were taken with consent, but posted without consent had no recourse until this week.
Senator Taylor stated that she was excited to author this bipartisan bill that, recognizes “new technology moves quickly, and our duty to the people of Wisconsin, require that we protect the physical and emotional privacy of our citizens from non-consensual distribution of images that were mean to be private.” The bill passed the Senate on a voice vote.
Whether a person’s private photos are being shared by a former partner, or their computer or cell phone data is hacked, Senate Bill 367 defends against the unauthorized sharing of these photos. Taylor insists that “the release of such images often causes more than embarrassment; it has led to individuals taking their own lives, because you can’t un-ring the bill or simply erase the images from the world wide web.”
Taylor was relieved the legislature acted before the close of session to criminalize what is equal to non-consensual pornography that has lifelong consequences for the victims.