Opinion: SB 2907 needed to address problem

Published 9:31 am Tuesday, February 7, 2017

It’s not something we like to talk about in polite conversation or bring up at the supper table, but the problem of revenge porn and sextortion is a real issue affecting people right here in Lincoln County.

Sen. Sally Doty has authored legislation to combat the problem and we applaud her for it.

SB 2907 provides a civil cause of action or criminal penalties for sharing intimate pictures or video online without consent, Doty said.

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Sextortion is defined as blackmail in which sexual information or images are used to extort sexual favors and/or money from the victim.

“For example, a blackmailer might assume the identity of an attractive man or woman online, then after gaining the victim’s trust, will record footage of the victim in the nude or performing a sexual act,” Doty said. “The blackmailer threatens to circulate this footage to the victim’s friends or post it online unless a certain amount of money is paid or other sexual images produced.”

It may be difficult for some of us to understand the issue, but people today will share just about anything with a trusted friend or boyfriend/girlfriend. When that trusted friend becomes an enemy, the possibility for this type of activity exists.

And it’s incredibly devastating for the victims.

“The increases in technology require that our laws keep up with these types of issues,” Doty said. “The public release of intimate photographs can have such devastating effects and my goal with this bill is to punish offenders and prevent these instances from happening in the first place.”

Aside from the civil penalties, Doty’s bill would establish a criminal fine of up to $4,000 or up to a year in jail, or both.

Hopefully, Doty’s bill will pass and the penalties will be stiff enough to discourage people from engaging in either sextortion or revenge porn. Our laws must keep up with what’s happening in the world today, and unfortunately, this is a problem that needs addressing.