Judge Blasts Revenge Porn, but Dismisses All Charges
New York's laws don't cover it yet, he rules
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2014 5:09 PM CST
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Is Ian Barber "reprehensible" for tweeting nude photos of his ex-girlfriend? Yes, says the judge who ruled on his case. But is he a criminal? Nope, at least under New York state's current laws, says the Manhattan judge. As the Daily News reports, the 29-year-old Brooklyn resident got charged with aggravated harassment, dissemination of unlawful surveillance, and public display of offensive sexual material after he shared the photos, even tweeting them to his ex's boss and sister. Essentially, he got accused of revenge porn, and it's believed to be the first such case in New York.

And while Judge Steven Statsinger sympathized with the the victim, he knocked down the charges one by one: Harassment doesn't apply because Barber didn't communicate directly with his ex; the surveillance charge doesn't work because the images weren't obtained illegally; and the "public display" charge doesn't fly in part because Twitter is a subscription service—and you're more likely to see photos of those you follow—and in part because the law focuses on physical displays such as billboards. As Joe Coscarelli at Daily Intelligencer puts it, "the law has just not caught up with technology." Adds Richard Horgan at Mediabistro, "women everywhere will likely shudder at the news that a man who shared naked pictures of a girlfriend on Twitter has been exonerated." So far, New Jersey and California are the only states with statutes on the books about revenge porn.
 

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