This new law which was introduced in Texas is banning what is being called “Cyber Flashing” or people sending intimate photos to people who haven’t asked them whether on dating sites, through texts or anywhere else on the internet.
The law was proposed by State representative Morgan Meyer from Dallas and developed the law in collaboration with Bumble, an Austin-based dating application company. The bill started to be drafted earlier this year.
“They had a number of people who were using the app complaining about the sending of these images and they quickly realized there was no recourse, there was nothing that could be done. It wasn’t a criminal offense – although it was definitely digital sexual harassment.”
Meyer says as she recalled about how the Bumble CEO, Whitney Wolfe Herd, asked her to help in making a way to stop, and take measures against, the sharing of unsolicited nudes.
Unsolicited Nudes Now A Class C Misdemeanor
The law, which will take effect on Saturday, states that “technology-enabled sexual harassment” is forbidden. Any sexually explicit material transmitted or sent electronically to an unsuspecting person is now considered a Class C misdemeanor coming with a fine of up to $500. Note that this is only applicable to the person who receives the material has not given any consent whatsoever.
The law applies to any materials sent via text messages, emails, dating apps, and social media platforms.
Most laws at the moment try to tackle what is so called “revenge porn” where a partner uses intimate images to blackmail the other, or uploads it on the internet to humiliate the other. However, these laws don’t have anything against the sending of unsolicited nudes according to the Cyber Civil Rights initiative.
Though there are laws that tackle the sending of lewd materials, not all of them deal with the sender’s intentions. This Texas law would be one of the first to tackle unsolicited nudes directly.