A bill to ban the unsolicited online exchange of sexually explicit and obscene images in the state of Pennsylvania has been introduced.
Philadelphia County state representative Mary Isaacson, sent a memorandum to all 203 members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, urging them to co-sponsor the bill, and to join with her in “combatting online sexual harassment and ensuring the dignity of all Pennsylvanians.”
Although she has never been a victim of this kind of harassment—dubbed “cyber-flashing”—herself, she recognises it as, “a very serious societal problem that affects everyone, men as well as women”, writing in her memorandum that:
“Despite the success of the #MeToo movement, sexual harassment remains a serious problem in our society, particularly due to online forms of sexual harassment. 20% of women and 10% of men ages 18 to 29 report having been sexually harassed online. Additionally, 54% of women ages 18 to 29 report that they have been sent sexually explicit images that they did not request.”
Isaacson could not say how many members of the House had answered her call for co-sponsorship, but, speaking to Infosecurity Magazine, she was able to confirm that her bill has received support from both her own party and the opposition.
And, if it is passed, Pennsylvania could follow Texas to become only the second US state to make cyber-flashing illegal.
House Bill 2789 was transcribed into law in Texas on August 31 this year. Under the new law, the electronic transmission of sexually explicit material without the recipient’s consent became a Class C misdemeanour, punishable by a fine of up to $500.
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