By Chris Morris
November 28, 2017

Revenge porn — the practice of posting intimate or explicit photos or video of someone, usually on the Internet, without their consent — has been long frowned upon, but has often been protected by legal loopholes. That could be changing soon, though, as a new Senate proposal would make it a federal crime.

The bill, Ending Nonconsensual Online User Graphic Harassment (ENOUGH) Act of 2017, has bipartisan support as well as the backing of big tech companies including Facebook and Twitter.

“Perpetrators of exploitation who seek to humiliate and shame their victims must be held accountable,” Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) said in a press release. “It is long past time for the federal government to take action to give law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on these crimes.”

While it does establish the practice as a criminally liable act, the bill puts the burden of proof somewhat on the victim, in that there would need to be proof that the person who posted the pictures knew the subject of them would expect them to remain private — and that sharing them would harm the victim.

A 2016 report from the Data & Society Research Institute and the Center for Innovative Public Health Research found that one in 25 people in the U.S. have either been victims of revenge porn or been threatened with the posting of sensitive images in their lives. That number jumps to one in 10 for young women between the ages of 15-29. And the numbers go even higher for young women who are lesbians or bisexual.

“For victims of nonconsensual pornography, technology today makes it possible to destroy a person’s life with the click of a button or a tap on a cell phone,” Rep. Jackie Speier said in a statement. “The ENOUGH Act will fix this gaping hole in our legal system.”

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