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Exploring The Legal And Practical Challenges Of Proposed Law To Ban Unsolicited Nude Photos

A picture shows emoji characters on the screens of two mobile phones.
A picture shows emoji characters on the screens of two mobile phones.

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Unsolicited, lewd pictures have become one of the biggest nuisances that have risen with the internet age. As more people, especially women, fall victim to having unwarranted pictures surprise their inboxes, state lawmakers are taking matters into their own hands.

Incidents of ‘cyberflashing’, the act of sending someone a sexual picture without their consent, are becoming common occurrences. A 2017 YouGov survey revealed that about 78% of millenial women have received an unwarranted graphic photo. There are state laws that specifically address the issue of written harassment, but very few laws that specifically concern the issue of visual images. Legislation aimed to deter the sending of unsolicited photos is being proposed throughout the country. Last week, California state senator Ling Ling Chang introduced the Preventing Indecent Content Sharing (PICS) Act to help deter the sending of lewd pictures without the consent of the receiver. Texas recently put into effect a very similar law in September. But these efforts have been receiving push back from critics who argue that such laws are too broad, failing to specifically say how to police and identify these cases.

Today on AirTalk, we discuss how these laws are being proposed to prevent unsolicited photos and the challenges in enacting them. Have you ever received photos without your consent? Do you think enacting laws prohibiting such photos will stop people from sending them? Join the conversation by calling 866-893-5722. 


Senator Ling Ling Chang, state senator of California’s 29th senate district, which includes the cities of Anaheim, Fullerton and Chino Hills

Nicole Cobler, politics reporter for the Austin American Statesman; she’s been reporting on Texas’s law prohibiting unsolicited pictures; she tweets at @nicolecobler

Dmitry Gorin, criminal defense attorney with the Los Angeles-based firm Eisner Gorin, LLP and a former trial prosecutor in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office; he tweets @DmitryGorin