Congress looks to make federal law against revenge porn

UTICA, N.Y. -- Earlier this week, Congress announced it's looking to create a federal law against revenge porn - but what exactly does that term mean?

"Revenge porn would refer to the use of pornographic material that presumably was taken privately in a matter to either gain revenge against one or the other participants, or to exploit or extort one of the participants," explained Anthony Martino, director of the Northeast cyber security and forensic center for Utica College.

Although this issue has been around for some time, Martino said certain factor are causing it to be more prevalent now.

"It really came with the advent of social media and the ability for people to reach wide audiences really, really quickly," he said.

Right now there is no state law against revenge porn, but local lawmakers have been trying to change that.

"We've been working on the revenge porn bill in the legislature as a whole for a few years now," said Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi. "It has passed the state senate, it is in committee in the state assembly."

"Thirty-eight states do have some variation of [a law against revenge porn] and the feds are looking at it," said State Senator Joe Griffo. "I think it is in the best interest of the country if there was uniformity."

Like Griffo, Brindisi also said he thinks Congress is moving in the right direction by introducing legislation which would make revenge porn a federal crime.

"I think passing it at a federal level really is key. If we can get a federal law that covers all 50 states, then they're not going to have to worry as much state by state what the punishment is," Brindisi said.

But Martino said ideally it would become a state law as well.

"The federal law enforcement system certainly would not have the capacity to investigate every case they have on revenge porn," he said. "There's limits to federal law. Federal law is designed to deal with issues that either affect interstate commerce, things that cross state boundaries and things that cross national boundaries."

Right now the bill has bipartisan support in Congress and from social media groups like Twitter and Facebook.


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