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Virginia Legislator Introduces Bill Criminalizing 'Revenge Porn'

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Virginia lawmakers may soon consider a bill to ban what's popularly known as "revenge porn," the posting on the Internet of naked pictures by an ex-lover.

Albemarle County Prosecutor Denise Lunsford is a powerful woman, and when a former boyfriend posted nude pictures of her on Twitter, she went to court. The pictures came down, but there was no legal penalty.

Now, Delegate Marcus Simon of Falls Church is stepping up to change that. He sees revenge porn as a kind of assault and says that Lunsford is not alone.

"We've got sort of scorned ex-lovers who then use this as a weapon to hurt and embarrass and sometimes cause serious financial harm to their former partner, because they don't like the way the relationship ended," he says.

Simon has introduced House Bill 49, which would allow a sentence of up to one year behind bars and a fine of up to $2,500 for any vengeful person who sells or posts naked or sexual pictures or videos.

"I think they might think twice if they knew they were facing prison time for posting these images," he says.

Some civil libertarians worry this might open the door to further regulation of content on the Internet, but the idea of preventing revenge porn has bi-partisan support.


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