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Senate Acts To Protect Women’s Privacy Rights

March 6, 2014

The Senate on Thursday passed a bill to update Massachusetts law to make it illegal for a photo or video to be taken under a person’s clothing without the person’s knowledge, Senator Karen Spilka announced.

“I am glad that the Senate was able to take action so quickly on this critical issue of a woman’s right to privacy,” said Senator Spilka. “We must make sure our privacy protections keep pace with changing technology, and updating voyeurism laws is an essential step in protecting women from an unacceptable, inexcusable practice.”

The bill 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.

The bill will be sent to the Governor for his signature.

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