Statehouse
8:57 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Illinois Legislation Targets 'Revenge Porn'

The now-shuttered Is Anyone Up? was an early "revenge porn" site.
The now-shuttered Is Anyone Up? was an early "revenge porn" site.
Credit Internet Archive Wayback Machine

Illinois lawmakers are considering whether to increase the penalties for a type of Internet shaming known as "revenge porn." It involves posting naked photos of someone on the Web without their consent.

Diana Pisone is an interior designer from Oak Park. A few years ago, she was in what she describes as an emotionally abusive relationship. Sometimes, when her husband said "do this or else," she'd let him tape her in compromising situations.

"It's sort of a self-preservation tactic: you pick the lesser of the evils in the situation, and you go forward," she says.

Pisone eventually got a divorce and moved on. But then her ex threatened to post the material online. She got a court order of protection, but that's expired.

“These pictures, these videos, are a forever noose around my neck,” Pisone says.

That's why she was in Springfield, asking members of a Senate committee to make it a felony to post compromising photos of someone online without her permission. The legislation would also make it a crime to charge money for removing such material, as some websites have done.

Mary Dixon, with the ACLU of Illinois, acknowledges that's a sympathetic case. But she warns the proposal might violate the freedom of speech.

"Is non-consensual sharing of naked pictures protected by the First Amendment?" Dixon asks. "The answer is yes."

Despite those concerns, a Senate panel gave preliminary approval to the measure. A similar proposal is working its way through the House.