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Mass. Legislature Strikes Back: Upskirt Photos Now Officially a Misdemeanor 256

Posted by timothy
from the banned-in-boston dept.
Just a day after a Massachusetts court said that current state law didn't specifically address "upskirt" snapshots (and so left taking them legal in itself, however annoying or invasive), an alert Massachusetts legislature has crafted and passed a bill to fix the glitch, and gotten it signed by the governor as well. As reported by the BBC, "The bill states that anyone who 'photographs, videotapes or electronically surveils' a person's sexual or intimate parts without consent should face a misdemeanor charge. The crime becomes a felony - punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine - if the accused secretly takes indecent photographs of anyone under the age of 18." The New York Daily News points out this bill became a law without so much as a public hearing.
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Mass. Legislature Strikes Back: Upskirt Photos Now Officially a Misdemeanor

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  • Re:no surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 08, 2014 @12:20PM (#46434589)
    So if I'm recording my girlfriend at the beach and some topless 5 year old girl wanders through the frame or happens to be in the background and her mom gets a bug up her ass about it... I'm charged with a felony? No thanks. If you don't want to chance it ending up on film, don't make it visible in public.
  • Re:no surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by noh8rz10 (2716597) on Saturday March 08, 2014 @12:26PM (#46434611)

    I got four letters for you:J-U-R-Y. A panel of reasonable people will be able to interpret the meaning of the upskirt law, and be able to differentiate between pervs on the subway and accidental photo bombs the beach. That's the whole point of juries and why they are such an important part of the justice system. No need to be a slippery-slope absolutist.

  • Re:no surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arth1 (260657) on Saturday March 08, 2014 @12:30PM (#46434633) Homepage Journal

    When it comes to cases of moral, juries are worse than worthless. No one will stand up defending the rights of a potential sexual predator, even if probably innocent. Whether there's actual guilt or not, the jurors are under a tremendous social pressure to not appear to defend child pornography.

    I am fairly certain that lawyers strongly recommend that defendants should do pretty much anything to avoid a jury trial, even if innocent. Because they will be found guilty.

  • by ATMAvatar (648864) on Saturday March 08, 2014 @12:32PM (#46434645) Journal

    Despite the prior news story about a guy getting off for upskirt photos, this law seems like a solution looking for a problem. Has upskirt photography been such a large problem in Massachusetts that a law was required?

    I would have thought basic social pressures and shaming (lets admit - people doing this *are* particularly creepy) would do a better job at limiting the number of offenders, and the rest would do it anyways.

    With a law on the books, particularly one with the possibility for felony charges, I wonder how many times we are going to read about misapplication of the law. Do you technically run afoul of the law anytime you take a photo where a woman in a skirt is elevated from your current location, such as a place with an elevated walkway? Do you risk arrest for taking a picture in a location with an escalator or glass-walled elevator like many shopping malls? even if you are close to neither one?

  • by Snotnose (212196) on Saturday March 08, 2014 @12:50PM (#46434743)
    Considering it took less than 24 hours to make this law you know it's a heaping pile of garbage. It takes time to craft a good law, more than 24 hours.
  • Re:no surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Saturday March 08, 2014 @01:04PM (#46434805) Homepage

    If only you could benefit from that before you spend your life savings on a lawyer (non-refundable), get fired, and have your name dragged through the media.

    That and if judges would stop trying to weed out jurors that believe in nullification.

    At one time, prosecutors usually did a decent job of not prosecuting the obviously innocent (or perhaps we just didn't hear of their misconduct as much), but these days they seem to have little care for guilt or innocence as long as they get their conviction.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 08, 2014 @01:29PM (#46434931)

    The teachers are going to have to work until 67, just like the rest of us? No wonder their union is upset.

  • by letherial (1302031) on Saturday March 08, 2014 @01:37PM (#46434981)

    i could think of quite a bit of problems that a 'couple of right hooks' would solve

    Now that i think about it, whats the point of any law anyways? it should all be social justice, mob rule thats what i say, fuck the goverment. People in general should be allowed to just decide at any given moment what is a fair punishment and if somone is guilty or not, facts, evidence, fair trail...all that is just pointless when anyone can just look at a moment in a situation and just know what to do. couple of right hooks, maybe blow his brains out, or burn him...all these things can just be decided by whoever is around at the moment of emotional impulse

    Ya...i totally like your idea

  • by wvmarle (1070040) on Saturday March 08, 2014 @08:30PM (#46437075)

    Of course... but the problem is that they implemented the patch on their production servers (signing it into law), without going through the normal testing procedures (public hearing, discussion in the legislature). Actually they did it without any such test at all.

    Now what could possibly go wrong?

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