The ubiquity of mobile phones and other portable electronic devices, not to mention the Internet, have opened up a whole world of possibilities in terms of communication and sharing of information. This is certain good in many respects, but there are also potential dangers with respect to privacy.

One of the dark results of this ease of communication is revenge porn, which is becoming increasingly common. Revenge porn can be particularly harmful to those who are targeted by it, and it is not hard to find sympathetic stories of victims targeted by this behavior. Many states have illegalized revenge porn in an effort to curb the behavior. 

There are, of course, those who criticize the concept of prohibiting revenge porn, since much of revenge porn consists of publishing selfies the victims themselves took and shared. People need to adjust their expectation of privacy when sharing nude images rather than calling on the state to protect them from their own poor choices, the argument goes. In other words, freedom of speech should be given precedence over privacy in this area.

Even if you agree that revenge porn should be prohibited, and many people do, state laws do recognize that there may be cases where what one party calls revenge porn may not actually be revenge porn. Under Florida’s revenge porn law—which lawmakers termed “cyberstalking” — it is illegal to publish sexually explicit images online which contain information that personally identifies the depicted individual. To be considered cyberstalking, the depicted individual must not have provided consent, there must be no legitimate purpose for publishing the material, and there must be the intent to cause substantial emotional distress to the depicted individual.

In our next post, we’ll continue looking at this issue, and the importance of working with an experienced attorney in building a strong cyberstalking defense case.

Source: 2016 Florida Statutes, Section 784.049