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Senate acts to protect women's privacy rights
March 06, 2014

BOSTON – This evening the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate passed legislation making it illegal for a photo or video to be taken under a person’s clothing without their knowledge, State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) announced. H. 3934, An Act relative to unlawful sexual surveillance is now on the Governor’s desk.
 
This legislative action was prompted by yesterday’s Supreme Judicial Court ruling that found current state laws do not prohibit the secret taking of “upskirt” photos or video of women who are clothed and in public places.
 
H. 3934 makes taking a photograph or recording under or around a person’s clothing a misdemeanor when a reasonable person would believe that their sexual or other intimate parts would not be visible to the public. The bill includes punishments of imprisonment in the house of correction for up to two and a half years and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
 
The bill also expands the current dissemination statute for adults to include taking a photograph or recording under or around a person’s clothing without their knowledge. The current statute includes a possible state prison sentence of up to five years if charged with a felony.
 
In addition, the bill enhances penalties for taking a photograph or recording of a child under 18-years-old by adding a possible state prison sentence of up to five years if charged with a felony and increasing the fine to up to $10,000. The bill penalizes the dissemination of these photographs or recordings with a state prison sentence of up to 10 years.
 
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