Examining New York’s new law criminalizing revenge porn


Host Intro: Yesterday, New York State passed a bill making revenge porn punishable by law. The bill states that victims of revenge porn will be able to file a court injunction that requires websites to remove their private photos. This would make New York the first state in the nation to potentially force Google and other internet companies to remove private content under court order. Here to speak with me today is Daniel Szalkiewicz (Zal-ka-wits). He is a New York City lawyer who specializes in Internet privacy. Before we begin, a note of warning: the topic we are about to explore may not be suitable for our young listeners.
s. This would make New York the first state in the nation to potentially force Google and other internet companies to remove private content under court order. Here to speak with me today is Daniel Szalkiewicz (Zal-ka-wits). He is a New York City lawyer who specializes in Internet privacy. Before we begin, a note of warning: the topic we are about to explore may not be suitable for our young listeners.

 

LIN 1

Hi Daniel. Thank you so much for speaking with me today.

 

SZALKIEWICZ 1

Thank you for having me. I really appreciate the opportunity to talk to you.


LIN 2

So let’s start off by defining what revenge porn is.

 

SZALKIEWICZ 1

So the way the law, that was passed yesterday defines it is there has to be an intimate part that is exposed in these photographs. So they define it as naked genitalia they generally included it to be the female nipple. The law literally says the pubic area or the anus. I have found that a lot of clients run into situations where there will other images shared as well of them in their underwear or undergarments but the law doesn’t define them as revenge porn.

 

LIN 3

How will it be enforced?

 

SZALKIEWICZ 2

It  has this clause in there that you mentioned that’s one of the first bills to allows you to get an order against a website. This hasn’t been challenged yet but I can guarantee you the internet companies will start fighting this. But it really helps clients because this way because you don’t have to get an order against the offender to require them to take it down. You can go directly to the source of where the image is being hosted. So what do I mean by this? I have a case that’s been going on now for two and a half months where somebody put a picture of my client up on Facebook and they’re threatening to share a sex tape of him. The only way before this law was passed for us to get it taken down was to go to court, sue the individual that has this Facebook post who is anonymous of course, unmask them, then get a court order and require this individual to take it down. Now, we can go directly to court and say Facebook should be required to remove the image for us.  

 

LIN 4

Will it even be possible for pictures to be completely removed?

 

SZALKIEWICZ 3

Unfortunately once something is put up online, it does stay up there almost forever. This will do a good job of hiding it from plain sight which to me is where most of the damage happens. I will say in a multiple cases we’ve had, the images have been completely removed. You’re not able to find them. Google has a tool within its web browser that you can put in the image and supposedly will hide it. There’s a center for exploited children. You submit to them a copy of the picture. It goes into a database that is then sent out to all of these big web providers and that picture will not show up online again.

 

LIN 5

Do you expect that more cases are going to be filed with this passage of this new bill?

 

SZALKIEWICZ 4

I thought there would be a bigger push when New York City law was filed. Oh, was passed. We filed about 10 cases over the past year. There have not been as many cases filed as I expected them to be. I think probably there’s two things out of preventing it one in order to file any case you obviously have to have to retain an attorney and that becomes a very expensive. From a criminal standpoint, I still think it’s new for like I said for police departments to try to figure out the technology behind somebody putting an image online. You know, as an attorney. I have the ability to go into court and file a subpoena immediately and within 21 days, I’ll generally get the information of who is doing this and track them down that way. It’s a little bit different when you deal with the police because you actually have to get a warrant from a judge. So it’s much more work to have to put an affidavit there and they have to show a judge that they have probable cause in order to get this. So do I believe this will open the floodgates for revenge porn lawsuits? I would hope that more come forward because I think really the only way to stop people from doing this and companies from hosting these images is to hurt them financially. But I am cautiously optimistic that more lawsuits  will occur.

 

LIN 6
Daniel Szalkiewicz, thank you so much.

 

SZALKIEWICZ 4

Thank you.

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