Legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-Union, Somerset, Morris) and Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic) to update the state’s invasion of privacy laws to prohibit “upskirting” was advanced by the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee.
“Upskirting” occurs when a person is photographed or filmed underneath their clothing without their consent and when they would not expect to be exposed in that fashion.
“While technology and the Internet have made it easier for voyeurs to violate people’s privacy, our laws have not kept pace with the growing problem of ‘upskirting,'” said Kean. “Once a picture or video is uploaded or shared, it may online forever, leading to long-term consequences for women who are the most common targets.”
Technology makes it easy for voyeurs to violate people’s privacy, but laws have not kept pace w/ ‘upskirting' https://t.co/EDfBsRNONp
— Senator Tom Kean (@tomkean) March 3, 2016
Smartphones w/ cameras make it easy to invade privacy. While 'upskirting' may seem easy, penalties must be hard. https://t.co/BA352xgLuh
— Sen. Kevin O'Toole (@kevinjotoole) March 3, 2016
The legislation, S-345, makes it a crime of the fourth degree to photograph, film, videotape, record, or otherwise reproduce in any manner the image of the undergarment-clad intimate parts of another person, without that person’s consent and under circumstances in which a reasonable person would not expect to have their undergarment-clad intimate parts observed.
A crime of the fourth degree is ordinarily punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
Additionally, it would become a crime of the third degree to disclose any such pictures or recordings, including by posting to the Internet or by sharing through any other means.
A crime of the third degree is ordinarily punishable by a term of imprisonment of three to five years, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.
The legislation also authorizes civil action by “upskirting” victims.
“Today’s peeping Toms aren’t hiding in bushes with binoculars, they’re sitting next to us on a train or walking by a dressing room with a camera-equipped smartphone,” added O’Toole. “In today’s world, almost everyone has a smartphone and they make it easy for those who would invade the privacy of others to commit these acts unnoticed, even in public. While committing the crime of ‘upskirting’ may seem easy, this bill ensures that penalties will be hard.”