State lawmakers pass bill criminalizing upskirt photos

The Mass. House passed a bill Thursday criminalizing the act of photographing a person's private parts without their knowledge. Photo: Flickr
The state House passed a bill Thursday criminalizing the act of photographing a person’s private parts without consent. Photo: Flickr

Massachusetts lawmakers on Thursday made good on their promise to swiftly take action after the state’s highest court ruled it was legal to take photographs and videos of the crotches of unsuspecting skirt-wearing women, as one Arlington man did in 2010.

The House and Senate on Thursday passed a bill (H 3934) that would criminalize the secret photographing or videotaping of a person’s “sexual or other intimate parts,” also known as upskirting.

The State House News reported that the bill clarifies that it does not matter whether the intimate body parts are covered by clothing or undergarments for a perpetrator to be in violation if they attempt to record images when “a reasonable person would believe that the person’s sexual or intimate parts would not be visible to the public.”

Earlier Thursday, Senate President Therese Murray called the sneaky act “morally reprehensible,” and said the bill would make sharing such photographs on “really nasty websites” a felony.

The distribution of upskirt photographs of children would also be able to be prosecuted under the state’s existing pornography laws, Murray said.

“The T police have been stopping it. Police in other areas have been stopping it. And now we find out that they can’t charge people because it’s not tight enough. We’re going to make it as tight as we can and I guess we’re going to have to be vigilant as technology changes in the future,” Murray told the State House News.

The bill was headed to Gov. Deval Patrick’s desk as of deadline Thursday.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
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