On Tuesday afternoon, an extremely graphic photograph was tweeted from the official US Airways account. And by ‘extremely graphic,’ I mean a picture of a naked lady with a model plane in . . . one of the only destinations that US Airways doesn’t fly to.
Here’s the thing: Sharing that photo maaay have violated some states’ revenge porn laws.
Currently, seven states – Alaska, California, Idaho, New Jersey, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin – have “anti-revenge porn” laws. These laws are obviously meant to target sexually explicit media that is publicly shared online without the consent of the pictured individual. But not all of these laws require that the images be shared with malicious intent.
The recently passed Wisconsin law, for example, applies to any person who “posts, publishes, or causes to be posted or published, a private representation if the actor knows that the person depicted does not consent to the posting or publication of the private representation.” New Jersey’s law applies to the disclosure of any “image of another person whose intimate parts are exposed or who is engaged in an act of sexual penetration or sexual contact, unless that person has consented to such disclosure.
This is why specific intent requirements – like the one in the Utah law – are key to well-drafted revenge porn legislation. Broad revenge porn legislation may provide prosecutors and law enforcement with a powerful tool, but those laws may also criminalize a lot more than ‘revenge porn.’
Like, say, re-tweeting the social media faux pas of major airlines.