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New Law Stiffens Penalties for Revenge Porn in Florida

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In a busy Friday for Governor Ron DeSantis, 35 bills were into law and five others were vetoed. A litany of policies were given the final stamp of approval to become Florida law, several of them quite impactful. One of the most significant was a bill which increases the penalties for those who engage in ‘revenge porn’, the practice of sharing explicit photos of someone in retaliation for a personal dispute. It can also be used to extort money or services from a victim.

State Senator Lauren Book introduced SB-1798.

The legislation was introduced by State Senator Lauren Book, the lead Democrat in the Senate and a Broward County resident. It makes it a felony in Florida to steal, distribute, sell, or trade sexually explicit images of others without their consent. Book introduced Senate Bill 1798 to address revenge porn and a handful of other causes after she herself fell victim to the issue. 19 year-old Jeremy Kamperveen was arrested last year after demanding Book pay him $5,000, or else he would leak her nude photos on the web. He said he’d gotten them on the dark net.

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In a 2021 interview with The Associated Press, Book said that she was targeted by cybercriminals because she was a past trauma victim. “They were reading about who I was and talking about how I’m a survivor of rape, so let’s try to get some rape videos,” Book said. “Can we get some of her getting raped, killed, tortured? Can we make some of that? Can we find it? How can we get it?”

After experiencing the issue as a victim, Book took up the cause in the state legislature. She introduced her bill to create harsher deterrents against those who engage in revenge porn, as well as other forms of sexual cyberharassment. It will also increase penalties for child pornography violations by one degree, as well as address ‘deepfakes’.

A sexual deepfake is a digitally altered photo or video designed to impose one individual’s face into sexually explicit content of other people. Public figures such as Scarlett Johansson and Daisy Ridley have experienced widely circulated deepfakes, and the technology to create them is becoming common enough for it to potentially happen to almost anyone.

Book’s bill received no opposition as it passed all hurdles in the State House and Senate, and then got the Governor’s signature. Still, while it’s a victory for harassment victims like Book, it comes well short of erasing what happened. “There are still things up there,” she said. “They’ll never be gone. People were buying it, people were trading it, and this is not unique. This is happening every single day.”

Written By

Chris Gollon is a Flagler County resident since 2004, as well as a staple of the local independent music scene and avid observer of Central Florida politics, arts, and recreation.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. TR

    June 27, 2022 at 10:51 pm

    I could never understand this crap. First if you never what any naked pics of any part of your body, don’t send them to anyone EVER on the internet. If you want someone to see them (and the other person wants to see them) do it in the privacy of indoors. You may think it’s a good idea at the time when all is good in a relationship. But as soon as that relationship goes bad, it no longer is a good idea. It’s just plan stupid. JMO

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