THE NEW laws began in an effort to “criminalize the sharing of intimate photos to get revenge on former sex partners.”
The new Texas law banning so-called cyber flashing comes after state Rep. Morgan Meyer of Dallas collaborated with the Austin-based social and dating application company to shepherd a bill 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,” Meyer said, recalling how Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd approached him about crafting a measure. “There was nothing that could be done. It wasn’t a criminal offense – although it was definitely digital sexual harassment.”
The law set to take effect Saturday forbids what is often characterized as technology-enabled sexual harassment. It makes electronic transmission of sexually explicit material a Class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500 if the person who received it hasn’t given consent.
Meyer said the law targeting unwanted images will apply to text messages, email, dating apps and social media.
A 2017 survey by Pew Research Center found women encounter sexual harassment online at much higher rates than men. The study found 21% of women ages 18 to 29 report being sexually harassed online compared to 9% of men in the same age group. Roughly 53% of those women said someone has sent them explicit images they didn’t ask for.
One gay guy on Reddit commented, “My first impressions are that this is a law passed by a bunch of old men who think they’re doing a good thing, but in reality you can’t really call every nude sent unsolicited just because the receiving party didn’t say “send me a dick pic.” On the bright side, maybe it’ll stop those people who send close up anus pics as the first message.
Another asked, “Dumb question: does this law cover when the recipient is in Texas, the sender is in Texas, or both?”