Proposed Legislation Would Crack Down on "Cyber Revenge"

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A new bill introduced in the State Senate would make it a crime to share sexually graphic images of a former lover over the internet.

The legislation was introduced Thursday by Republican Senator Rick Jones of Grand Ledge and Democratic Senator Steven Bieda of Warren. Senator Jones says Senate Bills 924 and 925 would crack down on people who try to punish a former lover, by posting graphic photos of them online. He says it's a growing trend. "The victims are devastated. They made a poor decision, sometimes a little alcohol was involved, and they allowed a boyfriend to take a photo. They thought it was a personal thing. But when they broke up, revenge crept in."

The "Cyber Revenge" bills would make it a criminal misdemeanor to share lewd photos without the subject's written permission. Those found guilty would face penalties of up to $1,000 fine, and up to 90 days in jail.

Jones says, "The bill also protects people from hackers getting into your personal stuff and then posting a picture. They have sites out there and people have monetary gain from pictures that they have no permission to use."

Inside MSU's Union, students agree it's common for young people to send racey photos using cell phone apps to a lover. But many said, they don't think it should be a crime to share those photos without permission.

Joel Block said, "I would be fuming if that sort of thing happened. But I try to make it a point to never put myself in that position."

Emily Bedard agrees. "I think its very inappropriate for someone to take advantage of someone like that. But I also think that you shouldn't be sending out pictures that you don't want the world to see."