The N.C. House voted unanimously Tuesday to update the state law banning the posting of sexual images without the consent of the person involved.
The law was first approved in 2015 and makes it a felony to post what’s known as “revenge porn,” in which someone posts nude photos online after a romantic relationship ends. The crime is a misdemeanor for teens under age 18, but it becomes a felony if they’re convicted more than once.
Rep. Chris Malone, a Wake Forest Republican, said district attorneys have found a problem with the law: It doesn’t effectively cover victims whose photo was taken without their knowledge.
“It’s a loophole, and we are closing that loophole,” said Malone, who sponsored the bill updating the law.
The current law requires that the victim have a “reasonable expectation of privacy,” but if Malone’s bill becomes law that standard would change to photos taken “without the consent of the depicted person, or under circumstances such that the person knew or should have known that the depicted person expected the images to remain private.”
The law covers photos that include nudity or sexual acts, which as defined in the law include “torture, physical restraint by being fettered or bound, or flagellation of or by a nude person or a person clad in undergarments or in revealing or bizarre costume.”
The bill now goes to the Senate, where a bipartisan group of senators has filed an identical bill that hasn’t yet received a committee hearing.