Should revenge porn be illegal? | The Tylt

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Should revenge porn be illegal?
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There are two good arguments against banning revenge porn: It limits free speech, and we do not need more laws that criminalize human behavior. 

Harassment is not okay. Under no circumstances should it be tolerated. But time and again we've held that free speech protects even the worst speech. Like it or not, anyone is free to to use voice to say or post horrible things about one another. Laws banning revenge porn are often too broad and will likely have unintended consequences

While many would argue that there exists speech so egregious that banning it warrants violating the First Amendment, most would also agree on the extreme importance of keeping that bar very high. Banning revenge porn undoubtedly lowers that bar, and comes with some consequences which are problematic for freedom of the press.

A law against revenge porn would either be too be too broad and restrictive, or too narrow and ineffective. But the larger point is criminalizing revenge porn doesn't change anything, but creates new avenues for the government to lock people up. As it is, there are already many ways for victims of revenge porn to attain justice. In this case, adding more laws won't change anything. 

The point is that a new criminal statute paves another way to put a human life on hold and a human body in prison – and yes, a paparazzo still counts as human.
There are unintended consequences to overbroad laws, and failing to take that into consideration when advocating for increased criminal liability is irresponsible.
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Others argue revenge porn is a uniquely destructive form of harassment that must be addressed by law. Revenge porn can haunt someone for life—once something is on the internet, it's impossible to erase. While there may be avenues for victims to get justice, the laws are not uniform across the United States. Banning revenge porn on the national level sends a message that it will not be tolerated and gives victims tools to fight back. 

This method of harassment is nothing new, but it's taken on new levels of significance simply because of how technology has changed society. Laws can be written so that it balances protecting victims while maintaining freedom of speech. There's no reason why people need to see leaked nudes or sex tapes. 

Criminalizing revenge porn is a crucial step in protecting victims from real and profound harms to their physical, emotional, and financial health and safety. It would deter damaging privacy invasions and send the powerful message that posting someone's most private moments, most often in a breach of their trust and without their permission, is unacceptable.
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