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 image: Unsplash 

image: Unsplash 

A bill that would establish federal criminal liability for distributing what is generally called “revenge porn” has been introduced in the Senate. The bill, which is entitled, the Ending Nonconsensual Online User Graphic Harassment (“ENOUGH”) Act of 2017, has bipartisan support, a thumbs-up from a number of the country’s biggest tech companies, including Facebook and Twitter, and approval from leading constitutional scholars, the latter of whom have reviewed the bill and concluded that it is consistent with the First Amendment.

Revenge porn — the practice of posting intimate or explicit photos or video of someone, usually on the Internet, without their consent — “has been long frowned upon, but has often been protected by legal loopholes,” as aptly noted by Fortune’s Chris Morris this week. That might soon change, however, thanks to the new bill, which is derived from a previous bill, known as the “Intimate Privacy Protection Act of 2016.”

If passed, the bill would serve “to amend title 18 [of the] United States Code, to provide that it is unlawful to knowingly distribute a private, visual depiction of an individual’s intimate parts or of an individual engaging in sexually explicit conduct, with reckless disregard for the individual’s lack of consent to the distribution, and for other purposes.”

As laid out in a release issued by Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the main sponsors of the bill, the ENOUGH Act “would specifically ensure the Department of Justice has tools in place to address revenge porn, and establish federal criminal liability for those who share revenge porn and other consensual images. In order to prosecute someone under the ENOUGH Act, there would need to be proof that the person knew the victim expected the image to remain private, and that sharing the image would harm the victim.” 

According to a statement from U.S. Representative Jackie Speier of California – who introduced an earlier version of the bill, the intimate Privacy Protection Act of 2016, in the 114th Congress (which only made it to the House of Representatives) – the bill looks to tackle “the egregious privacy violations” that come hand in hand with the non-consensual posting of private, explicit images. 

“While 35 states have enacted statutes in this area, they offer incomplete and inconsistent coverage,” says Speier, who has co-sponsored the latest version of the legislation. “Furthermore, the inherently interstate nature of the privacy violation poses a jurisdictional challenge for state and local law enforcement agencies.”

Speier says key “examples” of “revenge porn” and “sextortion,” include: “A California Highway Patrol officer who forwarded intimate pictures from female motorists’ cellphones as part of a ‘game’ among colleagues, Penn State fraternity brothers who uploaded photos of unconscious, naked women to a members-only Facebook page for entertainment purposes, and websites that intentionally solicited thousands of sexually explicit private images for profit and entertainment.”

“Perpetrators of exploitation who seek to humiliate and shame their victims must be held accountable,” Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) said in a press release. “It is long past time for the federal government to take action to give law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on these crimes.”